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What should the Giants do in 2019?

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The options are not pretty.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants
I am using a picture of Bruce Bochy for this article even though it is not about him and he is not mentioned once in it. Look, if the Giants won’t try, why should I?
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

So the Giants are bad.

That’s what we’ll remember from 2018. After five months of mediocrity/adequacy, depending on whether you consider the half-empty glass to be lukewarm or room temperature, they have finally collapsed, completely stopped hitting, and gone from winning 50% of their games to winning 0% of their games.

The Giants have played in eleven baseball games in September, and that’s about as positive as the news gets. They’ve lost them all, shown no sign of offensive proficiency, and bored us all along the way. Watching them, to use a very “inside baseball” term, sucks.

There is a contingent among Giants fans who are currently embracing this collapse. This contingent shows up very forcefully in the comments on this very site (hi guys!) celebrating every loss as a path to a better draft pick. Sure, watching the Giants is currently a miserable experience, but at least their many, many losses mean that the Giants are going to pick earlier in next year’s draft and have a chance to spend more on all the players they do pick. Besides, all this losing is just for a couple more weeks.

But we’re not here to talk about the 2018 Giants, because, ha ha, who wants to do that? (Please read the excellent content on this website.) We’re here to talk about the 2019 Giants. And the question is what do you want them to do for next year?

Because here’s the thing about tanking: it’s terrible. Actively terrible to watch, and not in a this-loss-is-killing-my-soul way, but more along the lines of this-is-boring-I’m-gonna-do-something-else-ugh-but-then-I’d-have-to-get-up. It’s something you can live with right now now, but that’s mostly because it’ll be over soon, and yes, that’s what she said.

What would a tank look like? Trading everyone over 26, right now. Madison Bumgarner would be gone. That whole bullpen, which has been so promising all year, gone. A hypothetical third example of someone on the Giants with trade value who wasn’t a rookie this year, and I can definitely name one? Gone. Tear the team down to the foundations, then plant some trees there and find another spot to build your house. That’s a rebuild. That’s a tank.

If you think that the only thing the Giants can do to become competitive again is take a few years essentially off, accumulate prospects, and become the Cubs in 2022, then in the meantime, this is what Giants baseball is going to look like. And friends, this is not a fun thing for Giants baseball to look like. So if it’s what you want, seriously ask yourself, what if this is what we get next year? What if the tank brigade gets their way, the Giants go for a high draft pick, and they just don’t really try to win? What if what we’ve seen in September 2018 is what we see all year in 2019?

Would you watch the games? Would you care? Would it be worth it?

Now, maybe you’re not a tanketeer. Maybe you think that there has to be a way for this team to be competitive again in the near future and that the front office should try very hard to make that happen in 2019. Hey, I’m not here to judge. But this is something that you should think about too, because last offseason the Giants’ core was a year younger and not quite as unhealthy, and they tried to compete, and, uh, (gestures to on field product) whoops.

You might think this is a question for the offseason. Two points on that. First, it’s basically already the offseason for the Giants. Second, there are a lot of people who want to see a full on, all-2019 tank, and the time to think about what it would be like to watch that is right now, as they are watching that, or more likely, not watching that because it’s boring.

Obviously, the Giants aren’t going to be as hopeless next year as they’ve been this September. No team spends an entire year being as hopeless as the Giants have been this September. But they can spend an entire year giving you the same feeling of hopelessness; after all, they did it in 2017. They can spend an entire year crushing your spirit every time you watch them. That is and will always be on the table.

There is a third option for the team, though, and if you think this is the part where I give you a middle ground that’s clearly better than the other two options, nope! The middle ground also sucks (there’s that inside baseball term again!). The middle ground is signing stopgap guys, hoping they’ll do well, and planning to win 70-75 games without doing a full rebuild, trade whoever’s effective at the deadline, and hasten the arrival of the next good Giants team.

This is the most likely path for the Giants to take, and also they have fewer open spots than you think, and also it won’t work. They will make a play for an outfielder, and possibly two, depending on who would come to San Francisco and how they’ll evaluate Austin Slater and non-concussion Mac Williamson. They will have to take a hard look at Joe Panik and figure out whether he can fix whatever’s gone wrong this year, or if they need to go another way. And then they’ll probably look at trading Brandon Belt, and presumably not do it both because they don’t really want to and because his value will be low after his miserable second half.

The Giants are stuck. They have three bad options for 2019: tank and alienate a fanbase that is still coming out to the park in far, far greater numbers than their on-field performance merits; half-ass it and sign a few of the guys that Kenny mentioned in his article, which will hopefully let them stay competitive but also not get them the high draft pick that would be so helpful; or try to make a big splash like they did with Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen this year, which already didn’t work once.

And like Albert Einstein never actually said, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

So what do you want them to do? In your mind, which is the best of the bad options?

Poll

What should the Giants do for 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    I love the Battle of Kursk, baby! Bring on the tank!
    (348 votes)
  • 12%
    I love World War 1 for all the indecisive pointless battles that never went anywhere! Let’s see some stopgap veterans!
    (80 votes)
  • 31%
    I love that World War 2 We Can Do It Poster! Not only that, but I believe that we, too, meaning the Giants, can do it, meaning be good in 2019!
    (195 votes)
623 votes total Vote Now