Changes are coming, Giants fans. At least according to team CEO Larry Baer.
“We’re gonna shake it up," Baer said Thursday on KNBR when asked about the Giants' roster. "I can’t tell you how it gets shaken up from the players' point of view. I think Brian [Sabean] has said it -- we’re just gonna shake it up. That doesn’t mean everybody’s gonna be movin’ around."
Baer has heard Giants fans' complaints. The same anger is boiling up to the front office. After back-to-back seasons of missing the postseason with a record well below .500, all sides are sick of watching losing baseball.
"Everybody’s frustrated," Baer said. "I’m disappointed. Fans are disappointed.”
The Giants have been here before. Recently, they missed the playoffs in six consecutive seasons, from 2004 to 2009, despite Barry Bonds winning an NL MVP in the span and Tim Lincecum taking home two NL Cy Young awards. When looking at how the front office could view this upcoming offseason, Baer went further back in the past.
“We’ve had other periods like this. In ’96, we had a really bad year and we shook a lot of things up," Baer said. "And in ’97, we ended up winning the division.”
That '96 season was a disaster. In Barry Bonds' fourth season as a Giant, the team finished fourth in the NL West with a 68-94 record. Then, they blew up the roster. The biggest move came in trading third baseman Matt Williams to the Indians for a haul of Jeff Kent, Julian Tavarez and Jose Vizcaino.
At the time of the trade, Williams was a four-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner and three-time Silver Slugger. Kent, on the other hand, had no accolades to his name and was considered a liability at second base. In Kent's first season as a Giant, he set a career-high with 29 home runs. He wound up winning the 2000 NL MVP and was a three-time All-Star in San Francisco.
Will the Giants make a similar trade with one of their core players this upcoming offseason? A handful of the team's core is on the wrong side of 30 -- Buster Posey (31), Brandon Crawford (31), Brandon Belt (30). Plus, Evan Longoria is 32 and isn't a free agent until 2023, and Madison Bumgarner (28) enters the last year of his seven-year contract next season.
“I would acknowledge that we have to think differently about how the team is constructed," Baer said. "A young, exciting, scrappy team that is going to have this generation’s personalities.”
Speaking on the future, Baer heaped praise on prospects Heliot Ramos and Shaun Anderson, and called top prospect Joey Bart a "tremendous force" whom the Giants believe to be a perennial All-Star in the future.
Speaking on the now, starting with the day the 2018 season ends, Baer made a vow to Giants fans.
“It will be a very active offseason, I can promise that," Baer said.