The San Francisco Giants have the worst record in baseball at 57-93 and are flirting with a franchise-worst winning percentage. Yet the plan seems to be to keep going with the formula that obviously needs some ones to be carried.
Last season the San Francisco Giants suffered a bullpen collapse or twenty in the final month of the season. This was a big reason why they couldn’t force a game five against the eventual champion Chicago Cubs in the NLDS. Last winter they went out and added one of the top closers on the market in Mark Melancon, and all was presumed to be well on the shores of McCovey Cove.
On the first day of the regular season, Melancon blew the save. A couple weeks later Madison Bumgarner injured himself galavanting around Colorado. The entire season has been pretty terrible. The sell-out streak officially came to an end at AT&T Park and the fans are turning away without a winner on the field.
Across the Bay, the Oakland Athletics have been a little better, sitting at 65-83, but they are in a rebuilding phase that offers hope for a better tomorrow. Plus, they have a new ballpark that they are hoping to open by 2023. The A’s are on a the upswing, concentrating on building up their ties to the community and the Giants are bringing back old fan favorites that can’t play anymore and talking anonymously about their Hall of Fame worthy manager as soon as the winning stops.
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If they aren’t careful, the Giants could lose a big portion of their fanbase in the coming years. From what I have witnessed in my years as a San Francisco resident, the community loves getting behind a winner. It’s cool to be at Giants games. The park is one of the best around and has great food selections. If you take away the winning, however, a lot of the buzz that has followed the team in recent years will dry up. The diehards (they do exist, A’s fans) will still show up, but that’s not enough to pack the park on a nightly basis.
The Warriors will be moving across the Bay into San Francisco at some point, potentially cannibalizing some of that disposable income that folks in the city have. The A’s have a fun young team and a shiny new place to play in the works. The Giants are the same Giants. An expensive, aging roster with young talent being few and far between.
With their dismal record, the San Francisco club isn’t providing much hope for next season. If the plan is to lose (which should be the plan since that would mean the overall first draft pick in 2018), then they should be trotting out some of their younger players to give them a little big-league experience and keep the fans watching through the last few weeks of the season.
With football season having arrived, fans are going to be turning away (if they haven’t already) to watch something else. Sure the 49ers are terrible again this year, but three hours a week isn’t as big of a commitment as three hours a day, every day, for 162. Plus there is fantasy football to contend with, meaning they don’t necessarily have to watch the 9ers get destroyed every Sunday.
With so many other options right now, the Giants should be playing more of their younger guys and seeing what they have. Ryder Jones, Austin Slater and Mac Williamson should be in the starting lineup every day, or at least have more of a rotating outfield that doesn’t have Denard Span and Hunter Pence in there so much. Slater has played four games this month. Williamson has started six. Jones has started roughly half of the games, though Sandoval isn’t much of a roadblock to his playing time.
Pablo Sandoval, Jones’ platoon mate, is batting .059 this month. Span and Pence have been much better at the plate, but that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of this season. The younger guys getting some reps in the tricky S.F. outfield could play big dividends down the road. They are the future after all. If this Giants team has one.