A few minutes ago, I went to the Fire Sabean site -- which delivered solid commentary all year long -- to find out that it's being taken down and replaced by www.bleedorangeandblack.com
I will post the new site on the blog roll.
In the meantime, though, I've been thinking about what led to the first World Series Championship for the San Francisco Giants. Brian Sabean's made terrible decisions for many years and this season had plenty of them early on such as re-signing Bengie Molina, signing Mark DeRosa, signing Todd Wellemeyer and continuing to start Aaron Rowand. Those four players were so awful by late May (or injured, in DeRosa's case) that Sabean were forced to come up with alternatives. Had those four guys played a little better -- a scenario that's not unrealistic -- the team would have stuck with them and wound up with significantly fewer wins.
Instead, the four basically played so poorly that four key things happened --
1. Buster Posey got called up on May 29
2. Pat Burrell got signed on May 29
3. Madison Bumgarner got called up on June 25
4. Andres Torres started playing every day
None of these are exactly genius moves -- in fact, Posey and Bumgarner should have not started the season in the minors and Sabean was flat out stupid to do so -- but they all paid off big time. As for the rest of the reasons why the team won a World Series, the biggest reason by far is that Sabean did NOT trade any of the four starting pitchers. Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum and Sanchez pitched so well that they negated yet another garbage season from Sabean's prime signing, Barry Zito. We're only stuck with Zito for three more years.
Four other factors worked out exceptionally well for the Giants and I'd say Sabean was more than a bit lucky:
1. Juan Uribe had a career year. It was not a complete surprise, given how exceptional he was during the last two months of 2009 when he pretty much carried the offense.
2. Aubrey Huff outperformed expectations big time after a truly lousy 2009. That WAS a big surprise.
3. Once he came back, Freddy Sanchez stayed injury free for a change and played pretty damn well.
4. Brian Wilson elevated his game to elite status -- a truly wonderful thing for Giants fans but also something of a surprise.
Finally, the trades for Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez worked out exceptionally while the Jose Guillen deal was unimpressive. Again, this worked out exceptionally well for Sabean -- Guillen was so lousy by the end of the year that the Giants had no alternative but to start Cody Ross, who'd been acquired as waiver blocking move just so the Padres would not get him. Had Guillen even been respectable with a few more homers, Ross might have not even made the postseason roster. And as we all know, Ross was a huge reason why the Giants played so well in the postseason.
So the bottom line is that Sabean did make some very good moves -- after making initial choices that turned out to be so lousy that he was forced to admit a mistake and find a new solution. As I said, if Rowand, DeRosa, Wellemeyer, Molina and Guillen performed a little better, the season's final outcome might have been very different.
In other words, Fire Sabean has nothing to apologize for.