Sorry, Giants fans: The Dodgers are the best team


Sorry, Giants fans: The Dodgers are the best team

The Bay Area’s rooting interest in baseball, such as it is after such a fallow year, is really reduced at this point to which team can keep the Los Angeles Dodgers from the World Series, and to a far lesser extent whether the New York Yankees can be stopped quickly and cruelly from doing the same.

That’s the nature of the new beast – schadenfreude.

The Yankees are a national bête noire, as they always have been. Even as a wild card team, even with likable players including relative locals at each end of the generational spectrum in CC Sabathia and Aaron Judge, they remain the Yankees. Toward that end, A’s fans are not Twins fans, and if that doesn’t work, Indians fans.

The Dodgers are a more local construct, though, and largely limited to Giants fans. Most A’s fans don’t really have a team they hate . . . unless of course it is the Giants.

Arizona plays Colorado Wednesday for the right to defend the Bay Area’s tattered honor, a weird notion in and of itself. Given that, the basic logic would suggest that the Diamondbacks have the better chance given their superior starting pitching, and a bullpen that rivals the Dodgers’ in large part because of Archie Bradley. They hit lots of home runs, and J.D. Martinez may be as comprehensive an MVP candidate as there is for a single team.

Colorado, on the other hand, IS home runs and always has been, and the Rockies’ bullpen is better for a short season despite the regular season numbers because it doesn’t have Fernando Rodney and Arizona does.

That doesn’t make either team likely to beat the Dodgers, though. That job may have to be left to the Washington Nationals, who reassembled their shoddy bullpen (h/t Sean Doolittle) and healed Bryce Harper in time to position themselves smartly for both the Cubs series and the LCS. They have no real lineup malignancies, but they also have as disappointing a postseason pedigree as the Dodgers.

In the end, though, the forces that have assembled this combination of teams lead us to the conclusion that, yet again, the Bay Area will come to hate 2017. If you must rank the teams, you’d go:

2. Arizona

3. Washington

4. Chicago

5. Colorado

The 1. Is reserved for Los Angeles, though. Deal with it.

The Dodgers are the best team, top to bottom and stem to stern. Short series skew everyone’s chances, but the short money looks the likeliest.

Sorry, kids. Pitchers ands catchers report in about a million years, if that helps.

Dave Righetti is the face of the Giants' rebuild so far


Dave Righetti is the face of the Giants' rebuild so far

There was something almost disturbingly surreptitious about the Giants’ decision to announce Dave Righetti’s removal as pitching coach (for a front office job) Saturday. Saturday, after all, is the day you typically bury sports news that isn’t football, or related to football in some way.

But that could just be us being needlessly conspiratorial. We’re willing to bestow, if not the benefit of the doubt, at least the lack of doubt.

Still, Righetti’s reassignment, and those of bullpen coach Mark Gardner and assistant hitting coach Steve Decker, makes it clear that however the Giants want to avoid the use of the word “rebuilding,” they are indeed rebuilding – just not in the traditional new-players-for-old way.

General manager Bobby Evans made it clear without saying the words that Righetti’s messaging had lost its efficacy with the younger pitchers, who for the most part had not been part of the franchise’s most glorious times. And since the only pitchers still on the 40-man roster who had been with the club for its last World Series parade are Madison Bumgarner and Hunter Strickland, Evans clearly concluded that the message to the new staff needed to come from elsewhere.

Now this assumes that the problem with the Giants’ pitching was not the talent level or the execution, of course. Typically, it takes a lot for a manager or coach to screw up his job so profoundly that he needs to be replaced – mostly it’s considered an environmental matter that a new voice saying the old stuff is sufficient. It’s really more alchemy than science, and alchemy is fairly hit-or-miss.

But it is change where the Giants feel they can change; their four starters (Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore) and closer (Mark Melancon) are in for $70.8 million this coming year, so a full-on demolition is not cost effective, and the young’uns (Chris Stratton, Strickland, Cory Gearrin, Derek Law, et. al.) remain in that tenuous middle ground between dependable and disposable. In other words, there aren’t a lot of options for dramatic player change, and the Giants don’t look to be aggressive buyers in the off-season, crackpot Giancarlo Stanton rumors notwithstanding.

So this is the face of the Giants’ rebuild so far – Dave Righetti, Mark Gardner and Steve Decker. Make of the act and the circumstances of the release of the information what you will, but as it is neither the manager (Bruce Bochy is golden) or the players (who with only a few exceptions are decidedly meh, with a side of feh), it will have to do as the first answer to the question, “What do they intend to do about 64-98?"

I mean other than keeping a low profile about it.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency


Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.