The moves to take Matt Herges, Jim Brower, Jason Christiansen, Marquis Grissom, Kirk Rueter, and just in case he was lurking around the clubhouse, Manny Aybar off the roster weren't much of a signal. Almost to a man, they were moves the fans understood, the players understood, and management reluctantly grew to understand.
The Giants of 2005 aren't going anywhere, and there are two ways to not go anywhere. The first is to not go anywhere with the same crew you expected to go somewhere with. At some point, the somewhere becomes nowhere, but the promise of somewhere makes you ignore the stink of nowhere on your clothes when you change at night. This is what the Giants looked like they were going to be good at.
Instead, the Tucker move signals the Giants are going to take the other road to nowhere. They're going to look at each roster spot, and see who they can audition for the next round trip to somewhere. What value does Michael Tucker have to a bad team? Not nearly the value he'd have as a good bench player on a good team, which is what he'll be on the Phillies. Tucker wasn't worth a draft pick, and he wasn't worth a multi-year deal to be a starter, but he is a good role player who plays as hard as anyone in the game. He'll be missed. Sort of. On this incarnation of the Giants, he was a wasted roster spot.
Tucker was a player who was playing at a level you could reasonably expect, and was still jettisoned. He brought a marginally interesting minor leaguer back, but he could have stuck with the team and been lost in the haystack of expanded September rosters. Instead, the Giants were proactive in getting rid of him. It's not the beginning of a World Series run, but it shows a willingness to break from philosophy, even if might have been too late.
It almost makes you wish the farm system were spitting out good players. Ellison is a fine end-of-the-bench player, and Lance Niekro has somewhat of a chance to be more than a poor man's Sean Berry, but imagine if the Giants were flush with Ryan Howards, B.J. Uptons, and the like. Maybe in 2007, the Giants will be able to showcase Eddy Martinez-Esteve, Travis Ishikawa, and Marcus Sanders if the season gets out of hand.
That could be exciting. Not that the season would get out of hand with free agent pickup Jason Bere leading the staff, but you never know.