Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brian Sabean: The Best San Francisco Giants GM in history

It's not the World Champion ring. 
After the last few tumultuous years the San Francisco Giants had been through,  I don't think any body would have ever expected that headline.

But there it is.

Just the fact that he brought a World Championship to San Francisco qualifies him for this title, but if you look a little closer at his overall run and see how successful he has been, you can see he was deserving of the title already.

His first trade as the Giants GM was the infamous Matt Williams and Trent Hubbatrd to the Indians for Jeff Kent, Julian Tavarez, Joe Roa, and Jose Vizcaino.  This trade probably made a lot of people view Sabean as a terrible GM from day one, but Jeff Kent had a Hall of Fame career with the Giants and most of the players in the trade not only contributed to the Giants 1997 playoff run but also to the 2002 World Series appearance.

Speaking of World Series and playoff appearances, Sabean's five playoff and 2 World Series appearances are tops in San Francisco Giants history as well. The last time the Giants had appeared in the playoffs more than once in a five year stretch was when they made it to the NLDS Vs. the Cardinals in 1987 and in 1989 when they played the A's in the Bay Bridge series.  I think we all know how that one turned out.

Sabean's detractors grew in numbers with the disastrous Joe Nathan trade.  I refuse to type the name of the guy the Giants got in return( partly because it's a pain in the ass to spell) that's how bad this trade was.  This trade looked a little worse for the Giants when Francisco Liriano, a guy who was considered a throw-in at the time of the deal, turned in to one of the top pitching prospects in the game.

Sabean's credibility took another hit when the Giants struggled to four consecutive losing seasons.  He was crucified when Big-money signings for Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, and Edger Renteria turned out to be busts.  (although Renteria would redeem Sabean somewhat with his 2010 World Series MVP award.)

But for every poor move Sabean has made, Marvin Benard's big contract, Edgardo Alfonso, and Dave Roberts there are a bunch of guys he has pulled off the scrap heap and got what he needed out of them such as Benito Santiago, Bengie Molina, Reggie Sanders, Pat Burrell, and Andres Torres.

These deals don't even compare to the steal he made in the deal for Jason Schmidt.  The Giants got Jason Schmidt and Jon Vander Wal from the Pirates for Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong.  Rios and Vogelsong never amounted to much for the Pirates.  Schmidt, on the other hand, went 78-37, struck out 1065, and had an ERA of 3.36 in six seasons for the Giants.  He finished 2nd in the CY Young award voting in 2003 and 4th in 2004.  He also made 3 All-Star game appearances for the Giants along the way.

The Giants W-L record since Sabean took over as GM is 1212-1054.  Not too many teams can claim a +.500 record for 15 seasons.

All in all, the Brian Sabean ERA in San Francisco has been the most successful and exiting in San Francisco Giants history.

I didn't even mention the white flag trade in 1997 that led to the Giants improbable NL West crown in 1997!

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