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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Brian Sabean Acquisitions Keyed Giants’ World Series Run

Though the San Francisco Giants pitching staff was consistently one of the best in baseball, their offense had been a sore spot and more of an oxymoron the past few years than a threat. Calling them punchless would have been an understatement; Pablo Sandoval led them last year with 25 home runs and 90 RBIs while Bengie Molina’s 16 dingers and 95 RBIs paced them in 2008. The team struggled to score runs and often spoiled strong pitching performances by their starters, leading to phrases like getting “Cained.” Despite all their struggles to score runs, they made upgrades one player at a time and managed to win the World Series just three years after dropping Barry Bonds.

General Manager Brian Sabean knew his pitching and defense was good enough to win the World Series if they could only score a few runs. He acquired second baseman Freddy Sanchez last year at the trade deadline to try and bolster the offense. They came up short of the playoffs last year so Sabean went back to work. He took a gamble on Aubrey Huff in the off-season, signing him based on his track record and in hopes that his poor season in 2009 was a fluke. His work still not done, Sabean made two key pickups during the season utilizing the waiver wire to perfection.

In late May, Sabean signed Pat Burrell to a minor-league deal after the disappointment was released by Tampa Bay. Burrell batted just .202 with two home runs and a .625 OPS in 24 games for the Rays. The previous year, Burrell hit just .221 with 14 home runs for Tampa Bay. Though he was only called up in early June, Burrell bashed 18 home runs and drove in 51 runs while OPSing .873 for the Giants. That’s right, in only 96 games with San Francisco he surpassed his home run output with Tampa Bay. Burrell paid off in a major way for San Francisco, but he wasn’t the only mid-season move that improved the offense.

On August 21st, Sabean claimed outfielder Cody Ross off waivers from the Marlins. Their suspected intention was to block the NL West-leading Padres from getting Ross but they wound up with a postseason stud instead. Ross led the team with five home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.076 OPS in the playoffs. The wanna-be rodeo clown was the best hitter the Giants had throughout the postseason and they likely would not have won the World Series without him.

The Giants finally won their first World Series since moving to San Francisco and they can thank the relentless additions by their GM for helping to build the team. The pitching was the strength, the offense was improved, and the chemistry brought it all together. Congrats to the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants, as much as I can’t stay them.



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