The U.S.S. Mariner organizational rankings -- linked to in this diary -- made me feel better about the Giants. I'm not delusional or masochistic. I still have flashbacks from when I ate half of the gum from a box of '85 Topps in one sitting, but those usually start with hallucinations of gnomes and cicadas instead of misread blog postings. The rankings got me thinking, though.
The crew of the Mariner give the Giants an "F." That's the same grade you'd get if you didn't go to a single class, pass a single test, or slept with the professor's spouse/daughter/chinchilla. I disagree with the grade. This team is on hard times, but they don't fail at every aspect of building a competitive team.
They can find pitching. They can find it with young Dominicans (Francisco Liriano), outfielders (Jon Coutlangus), bottom-of-the-draft picks (Jonathan Sanchez), or completely outside of the draft (Jeremy Accardo). A third of their pitching staff is made up of Giants' first-round draft picks -- a record of success that the best organizations would kill for. You could stock the rest of the bullpen with lower-round picks. It wouldn't be a great bullpen, but it would do okay. You could also build a young and interesting bullpen out of the pitchers the Giants have dusted off their shoulder like organizational dandruff.
Some teams can't find pitching. The Giants can. That's your cup of rebuilding happy. Drink it. Don't do that thing where you put the cup up to your lips, make slurping sounds, and say "Mmmmm!" Imbibe that happy. Let it run down your chin. Quaff it like a root beer at Bill Maudlin's. You only get a couple of these every offseason.
The reality of what they do with that pitching isn't always so pretty. They've given away pitchers for non-entities like Wayne Franklin and Shea Hillenbrand. They've tossed them into deals that were fair, bad, and Pierzynski. They haven't, however, traded away their surplus for any hitters who could have helped them contend in 2007. It doesn't matter how many bastard kids you sire around the country if you're alone and eating a pot pie in a dirty studio apartment on your 60th birthday. There aren't bonus points awarded for strength of seed.
But here's to that one hope: somehow, just maybe, the Giants can fall into some success in another team-building category. Maybe, just maybe, Fred Lewis is one of the few players who starts an All-Star career when he's 27. Maybe, just maybe, Wendell Fairley rockets up to the majors like a young Andruw Jones. Maybe, just maybe, the old Andruw Jones isn't signed for a maquillion years and partial ownership of the team. Dunno. I'd like to think those responsible for the current state of the Giants have learned their lesson. I doubt it, and I expect uninspiring free-agent fingers to plug the dam. When they do start this offseason of rebuilding, though, they'll already have the young pitching. That's still a heck of a head start.
An organizational grade of "F"? No way. It's more like a "D---".