The Giants gave Farhan Zaidi the keys to the kingdom in large part because they believed he could find creative ways to shorten the rebuild process. They might have just lucked into a much quicker path back to the postseason.
It's been a wild day on Baseball Twitter, with an expectation that an agreement could come soon on a return to the field. In the midst of it, Bob Nightengale of USA Today dropped the nugget that a shortened season -- somewhere in the 60-game range -- will include an expanded postseason field of 16 teams.
That, my friends, is very, very good for your San Francisco Giants.
It's easy to remember each of the last three seasons as a disaster, but you might have forgotten that the Giants actually finished third in the NL West last season, not last. Overall they were 77-85 and 10th in the National League, but it's easy to see how a hot stretch -- remember last July? -- could sneak them into an eight-team NL postseason.
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A 60-game season will make it a lot easier for less talented rosters to bridge the gap and keep up with loaded teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, but even over a bigger sample, expanded playoffs provide a lot of opportunity.
The Giants held on to Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith at the trade deadline because they snuck back into the back of the wild card pack, and on July 31 they actually were eighth in the NL. Hello, postseason!
They fell off down the stretch, of course, but that won't exist this year. It's going to be a sprint to the finish line and the playoff field is going to look weird after 60-something games:
Teams that would have made a 16-team postseason field last year if the season had been 60 games:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) June 17, 2020
NL - LA, Mil, Cubs, Atl, Phil, SD, StL, Col
AL - Hou, Min, Yankees, TBay, Tex, Bos, Clev, Oak
Missing - the team that won the World Series (Nationals)!
The Giants already were feeling better about their odds because of the shortened season. Throw in three more playoff spots and you're in a much better position to compete. There's a lot to be hammered out this week, and it's a good idea to always remember that many of the leaks and reports have quickly been proven wrong or shot down by either side.
But if this one is right, we'll leave you with one last thought.
It is an even year ...