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Murph: I am losing faith in the Zaidi-Kapler regime

© Neville E. Guard | 2022 Aug 3

It brings me no pleasure to Jock Blog this — man, am I losing faith in the Farhan Zaidi/Scott Harris/Gabe Kapler regime.

Tectonic plates have shifted in our baseball lives, and the Giants are collateral damage.

The NL West will belong to the Dodgers and — gulp — San Diego Padres for the foreseeable future. 

I don’t even know if signing Aaron Judge will change that.

But it would be a start.

See, the Farhan Era has bumped up against its mortal enemy: teams shunning platoons for superstars. 

We already knew about the Dodgers when they traded for Mookie Betts and Trea Turner, and signed Freddie Freeman. Any one of those moves would have been wildly out of character for Farhan. The Dodgers made all three moves. (Oh, and Max Scherzer has come and gone in the meantime, too.)

We lived with that because of 107 v 106 last year, and failed to truly account for the Giants’ inability to sustain it.

Then the Padres went and changed the rules.

They got Juan Soto.

(Oh, and Josh Bell. And Brandon Drury. But who’s counting?)

We tried to laugh off the Padres last year as the “same ol’ Padres”, because even with Manny Machado they only won 79 games and, well, they were the same ol’ Padres.

Turns out they’re better than 79 wins.

And then they added Juan Soto.

There are many dimensions going on here. 

Among them is Farhan’s insistence, this week, that the Giants “believe in the present” and the implication that the 2022 team, as currently constituted, is good enough to compete for the postseason.

I find this hard to believe, as I was just saying to my good friend, the Giants lineup card.

Farhan’s comments indicate that he’s generally pleased with the makeup of the team, and that only injuries and a bad stretch of baseball have prevented them from being in the mix.

There are many problems with this thought process, primary among them the bulk of evidence. Since a surprisingly strong 14-7 start, the Giants are 37-48. Being 11 games under over an 85-game stretch is not because Evan Longoria strained a hamstring, or because Anthony DeSclafani is out. Being 11 games under over an 85-game stretch is because your roster lacks defensive consistency, bullpen consistency and big-time, big-name production.

That’s the roster that Farhan and Scott Harris built.

When the Giants traded Darin Ruf to the Mets, Farhan said the team had a need to get better defensively and diversify the roster — the roster he built.

But maybe the biggest faith-crusher was the decision at the trade deadline to not trade expiring high-value assets — primarily Carlos Rodon, but also Joc Pederson and Wilmer Flores.

Each will be a free agent at the conclusion of this season. Each has value. 

Here’s where the Soto trade comes in. Farhan admitted that the Giants farm inventory was not enough to entice the Nationals. Fans have noticed the lack of a Heliot Ramos arrival in San Francisco, and the lack of a rapid trajectory from the likes of Patrick Bailey or Hunter Bishop.

So while the farm system has improved, there is plenty more room in the Improvement Lounge.

Rodon — and Joc, and Wilmer — almost certainly could have netted that young, athletic talent they crave, and to improve a farm system that needs to sustain the big club.

Farhan indicated the package they wanted for Rodon was not there. To that, I would submit two ideas: 1) It’s your job to find the right package; 2) Can I introduce you to the old bromide about beggars and choosers?

He also indicated that keeping Rodon was a vote of confidence in the team’s ability to make the playoffs. 

To paraphrase the great Michael Corleone: Oh, really, Farhan? Who’s being naive? 

On vacation last week, I visited Dodger Stadium and Petco Park. I watched two fan bases pour into their home parks, buzzing. Or, as former Murph & Mac intern Lucas (QB1) Shaw, a San Diego native, told me: “Yeah, man . . . Petco is poppin’.”

This was even before the Soto trade.

Petco is poppin’, and Chavez Ravine is poppin’, because their teams have actively sought the highest levels of competition. So much so, that they remind me of the Eddie DeBartolo 49ers, or the Joe Lacob Warriors.

It ain’t poppin’ at Third and King, sports fans. 


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