There comes a time for every franchise when they strike gold. Franchises suddenly go from mediocrity, to playoff bound on a year to year basis, to championship contenders, to champions. The Giants, are finally, on their way up this chain.
It has been 57 years since the last time the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. In fact, that's false. Because when the Giants won the big award, they weren't out on the West Coast, they played in New York.
With an 88 win season in the 2009 campaign, there is much reason for Giants fans to believe that this team's doing all the right things. However, Brian Sabean and the rest of the Giants' front office needs to keep this up if they have any intention of getting this team to it's first playoff berth since they were tragically elimnated on a play at the plate in game 4 to the Marlins in 2003.
This offseason isn't what most Giants fans wanted though. To this point, the team has made no important or notable acquisations. In fact, the only transactions that have gone down under the Giants name is players like Brad Penny and Juan Uribe have announced they will test the free agent market.
In other words, the Giants have done nothing to this point and for many fans, this is excruciatingly frustrating. The team is so close to making a push for the division title, and yet the Giants managment is doing nothing towards improving the team. At least not yet. But if not now, when will the Giants start to involve themselves in the action?
What the Giants need to do, just for the sake of at least keeping fans at bay (no pun intended), is to show interest in top of the line free agents like Jason Bay. The Giants desperately need an outfielder and every fan, even the most casual of them, know it. With the loss of Barry Bonds in 2007, this outfield has become one of the least productive in all of baseball.
Aaron Rowand is the only outfielder worth talking about, and he is one of the more overpaid Giants. With the exception of Barry Zito, Rowand has the most ridiculous contract on this team. The Giants would be wise to get rid of him at some point this season if the team isn't competitive.
And that leads me to my next point. The Giants are at a crossroads. Do you dump salary and prepare for a long year, with hopes of acquiring prospects and assuring yourself that you will have the money to resign Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain? Or do you please fans in the short term, and make a huge playoff push in a divison that was surprisingly good last season? The question is one that Giants managment needs to answer, and fast.
It really is quite unfortunate what has happened to the Giants. They are consistently one of the best drafting teams in baseball, largely due to Brian Sabean, a former scout for the New York Yankees. But at the same time, there is no other team in baseball that makes so many stupid free agent signings as the Giants.
While it would be near impossible to see such a collapse coming, the 6 year 128 million dollar contract given to Barry Zito has already been called one of the biggest busts in league history. Despite a solid 2009 from Barry, his previous two seasons with the Giants will overshadow a largely succesful year for the southpaw.
Edgar Renteria is one of my favorite of these. He has to be among the worst starting SS in baseball. He's got no range, bats around .265, has no power or speed, and yet he makes 9 million dollars a year off the Giants. How did it come to this?
Contracts such as these are what have severely handicapped the Giants in recent years. They've got some great young talent in guys like Lincecum, Cain, and Sandoval. But those three guys combined, barely make 25% of what Barry Zito made this season.
And that is the primary concern here, will the Giants be able to afford Timmy and Matt when their contracts expire? Or will the Barry Zito "curse" comeback to bite this team in the butt once more down the line?
And all though Timmy cannot declare for free agency until 2014, the Giants have to be concerned about whether or not they will be able to afford the large figures he will demand in arbitration. More than likely, we'll be seeing Renteria and Rowand gone by the start of next season.
One thing is for sure, this offseason will be more pivotal for the Giants future, than most people realize.