After watching the Giants bullpen implode in four consecutive games, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi tried to look for the silver lining. The Giants were at least playing competitive enough baseball that they could hand a lead to Trevor Gott three times, including against the A's, one of the better teams in the game.
"I think we're a couple of adjustments away from closing some of those games and having the results show up much better in the win-loss record," Zaidi said Wednesday on "Giants Pregame Live."
The Giants saw positive signs Tuesday, but the damage has already been done in the standings. They entered Wednesday's game four games out of fourth place in the NL West, in large part because of a bullpen that has a 6.27 ERA and has allowed an MLB-high 25 homers.
The last week has also chipped away at manager Gabe Kapler's reputation, and while Kapler probably regrets his decision to use Gott on Monday, in some ways, there was only so much the coaching staff could do.
Anyone who is being realistic about the 2020 Giants would know that this bullpen was not really designed to be good. It was designed to help develop the next good Giants bullpen. Instead of spending in free agency, Zaidi and Scott Harris have built their 'pen nearly entirely around homegrown arms, minor league free agents and under-the-radar trade additions.
Anyone who is being realistic would also know that that's what the Giants should be doing. Giving multi-year deals to veterans would be about the dumbest way for a rebuilding club to spend money.
"I think based on where we are as an organization it was important for us to test out some of these young arms, see if they can be part of the bullpen picture going forward," Zaidi said. "I think when you look around baseball the best bullpens are kind of homegrown bullpens. This isn't an area where you want to just go out and sign one or two flashy free agents and think you have the problem solved. You need depth, and that really can only come from within the organization."
The results thus far have been mixed. Tyler Rogers has had some rough outings early on, but still looks like a valuable piece going forward. Before Friday night, getting Trevor Gott for cash considerations looked like a hell of a heist. Sam Coonrod and Shaun Anderson have shown flashes, and left-handers Sam Selman and Conner Menez have been standouts this year.
The problem for Zaidi and the Giants is that a hole after 25 games is much more difficult to make up this season. It's possible the damage done over those four games will be irreversible in a 60-game season, but it doesn't sound like the last week has done any long-term damage to Zaidi's faith in Kapler.
"As far as bullpen management goes, here's the reality: You look at some of the numbers that our relievers have put up and there's a lot of inflated ERAs, which is going to happen early in the season when guys have bad outings," he said. "No matter what sequence we used some of those guys in based on the performance, it was going to be hard to hold some of the slimmer leads that we've had over the last few days."