Oh, for the innocent days of last week’s Jock Blog.
Way back before the black and orange storm clouds gathered.
When I last occupied this slice of cyberspace, the Giants were in Atlanta. They had split the first two of a four-game set with the mighty Braves, were 38-29, only 3.5 out in the West and were so decent that your local typist here called them “surprisingly competitive, deep, balanced and mostly anonymous.”
Since then, the Giants have dropped that whole “surprisingly competitive” thing.
They dropped the last two in Atlanta. They lost two of three at home to the Reds, which served as a particular low point, as it triggered Andy Baggarly’s disturbingly on-point takedown of the Giants in The Athletic.
As if to prove Baggarly’s point, the Giants went out and split two at home with the Tigers.
Now, I love a good Spencer Torkelson homecoming as much as the next guy, but . . . bro.
So that’s five losses in their last seven games, and a 2-3 home record vs the Cincy Slappin’ Phams and the Motor City Kitties, which is nobody’s idea of a good time.
Plus, the Baggarly piece, which haunts. If you missed it, the veteran scribe coagulated all the little nagging thoughts that have plagued Giants fans through every Farhan Zaidi payroll-reducing move. Baggs asked if the Zaidi Giants are doing enough to “attract, inspire and entertain” the fan base, and it was a damn good question.
We at the M&M Show have questioned the new-fangled ways of doing things in the Analytics Era, but then again, we work in AM radio, so that shows how forward-thinking we are.
The 107-win Giants of 2021 pretty much buried any criticism of platoons and bargain-hunting. It’s tough to argue with 107.
But as the great Janet Jackson once noted: “What have you done for me lately?”
We noted last week in the JB that the Giants payroll of $153 million was 13th in baseball. That’s surprisingly low territory for a team that was top-9 or higher in each of the World Series years of 2010, 2012 and 2014. And as Baggarly pointed out, and we have mentioned on the show, it leads to real-world baseball problems.
For example, the Giants signed Carlos Rodon this winter, but let Kevin Gausman go. Were the team more inclined to spend money, the question wouldn’t be Rodon *or* Gausman. The answer would be Rodon *and* Gausman. And yes, Gausman netted a 5-year, $110 million deal — the sort of numbers that cause Farhan and Scott Harris to break out in hives.
But this is what all the cool kids — the Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, Padres, Braves — are doing. As the great Eddie DeBartolo once said (kids, cover your ears): You gotta bring ass, to get ass. Can I say that on AM radio?
And if you have concerns about spending to win, hop on your scooter and motor a half-mile down Terry Francois and go knock on Joe Lacob’s door. Ask about spending money to win. Then pick the blue-and-gold confetti out of your teeth.
So, yes, there is concern. The Giants are 26-27 in their last 53. That ain’t a 107-win pace.
And yes, there is plenty of time for Luis Gonzalez to return and go 1st-to-3rd and Anthony DeSclafani to find that complete-game magic of 2021 and Joey Bart to get his mechanical overhaul and Joc Pederson to convince Gabe Kapler to play him every day. Plus, there is the wide berth of expanded playoffs to cover up many warts.
Friday starts a new month. July baseball. It’s very un-analytics to believe that a new month can change a team’s mojo, but at this point, it’s our best bet. Sometimes, hope is a strategy. That is, until you beef up the payroll.