Over at ESPN, Jerry Crasnick checks in with a meaty state-of-the-GM piece, looking at all the openings around the league, as well as the continuing trend of teams hiring GMs who were playing Pokemon during detention 10 years ago. The Brewers just hired a new young and smart guy, and he's young and smart. Everyone's looking for those young and smart folks.
All the Giants have are these old people stuck in their ways. No one should bother poking around there.
Nothing to see here.
There was a time, I'll argue, that the game really was slipping away from Brian Sabean and the rest of the front office. The Giants were going through a huge transition, losing one of the two or three best hitters in the history of baseball, and they weren't exactly sure how to navigate the post-Bonds landscape. The farm was in shambles, partly because the Giants had low first-round picks every year, partly because they whiffed on almost every draft pick they did take.
Someone once posited -- and I apologize, but I don't remember who, and I can't find it -- that the Giants' reliance on veterans was a solid, underrated strategy until the Mitchell Report came out. Then the veterans stopped playing like they were 10 years younger for some reason. Odd.
After that, the Giants hit on several first-round picks and kept them healthy long enough to win a whole bunch. Now they organization is becoming known for taking lumpy hitter clay and turning it into polished hitter art, like a cross between Moneyball and Lionel Richie's "Hello" video. They still haven't found an All-Star outfielder since Chili Davis, but everything else is trending up, and has been for a good long while. According to Wikipedia, the Giants have won three championships in the last five seasons.
And yet I don't remember hearing once in the last five years that Bobby Evans was getting an interview (before being promoted), or that teams were sniffing around Dick Tidrow or John Barr. There aren't any hot Jack Hiatt or Tony Siegle rumors. Crasnick brings up Giants VP Jeremy Shelley ...
San Francisco Giants insiders speak glowingly of vice president Jeremy Shelley, who has been an integral part of three title teams. According to his media guide bio, Shelley oversees pro scouting at the major league and minor league levels. He is involved in player acquisitions, arbitration preparation and contract research, while providing support in statistical analysis and international operations.
... but he's called a sleeper GM prospect by a Giants scout, not by someone outside the organization. We'll see if he actually shows up in future GM rumors.
The last time the Giants' front office was poached was when Ned Colletti
went on assignment was hired away by the Dodgers in 2006. Perhaps that living experiment soured the rest of baseball on the thought of a Giants mind thriving away from the mothership. Or perhaps the long-timers in the Giants' front office just aren't new and sparkly enough to capture the attention of owners looking to make the most important personnel decision they'll have for years.
And so the continuity of the Giants continues and continues. In continuity. Which is probably the secret to their success. Their continuing success. Because of the continuity. Who knows, maybe all of the non-Evanses have no desire to leave the organization, or maybe none of them want to be the poor slob who has to work 90 hours a week instead of the 85 they work now.
Everyone stopped making the "Giants don't use stats" joke years and years ago. This was the last "Moneyball is dead because of the Giants" post that I can remember, and don't think it was received very warmly by Basebal Twitter. It inspired me to make this:
There isn't a single team that doesn't use wheelbarrows full of numbers. Everyone's moving past that, focusing on biometrics and other post-James advances. So you can't say that the Giants executives aren't getting a fair look because teams are looking for number-hungry kids. Everyone in the Giants' front office has seen the value of numbers and how they complement traditional and nontraditional methods of evaluation. The true non-believers are already gone.
For whatever reason, though, teams keep going younger, keep going fresher, keep going anywhere but the Giants. The Astros might lose two or three front office executives before their first postseason appearance, and they'll almost certainly lose a couple before the Giants do.
Fine. Good. Nothing to see here. I don't know why a brain purge isn't happening, but I'm just glad that it's not. The Giants next year should have the same braintrust as the year before that, the year before that, and the year before that. Occasionally they'll come up with a Casey McGehee or an Orlando Freaking Cabrera. Most of the time, though, they'll bring us a Michael Morse, Gregor Blanco, or Angel Pagan. They do good work, usually. Why the rest of the world wants to look somewhere else, I have no idea.
It's sure fine by me, though.