Weekend News

I just got back from a weekend in the Mendocino woods, a place where a man needs no laboratory to boost his testosterone levels, a place where human growth is measured in stanzas, not hormones, a place where jeans, not genes, are modified.

My positively vibrating meridians must have realigned chakras up and down the California coast: the Giants made a great PR move over the weekend by making sure Felipe Alou and Brian Sabean will be running the team through 2005. At a time when, as I mentioned in my previous post, the Giants franchise is quickly becoming a house of somewhat ill repute, the public gesture of two competent men to extend their contracts is an important one. Whether it translates to continued success on the field remains to be seen, but right now, I think it was a strong gesture.

This isn't to say that the whole enterprise could blow sky high like a backwoods meth lab, but for the moment, Alou and Sabean's re-ups provide much needed stability. Nobody's jumping ship. Nobody's taking a wait-and-see approach. If 2004 becomes a rebuilding year, as many skeptics fear, at least Sabean and Alou are committed to participating in it rather than leaving the empty bag for someone else to hold and refill.

Whether that's a good thing or not mainly depends on your estimation of Sabean. Is he most certainly "not an idiot," as well as the architect of the third most-successful team, winning percentage wise, since 1997? Is he the head-in-sand Hater of Moneyball and Destroyer of Farm Systems?

A strong yes to the former question; a qualified, more theoretical "kinda" to part of the latter. To wit: the farm system always rates depressingly low in the position player categories, but the pitching has been so strong in recent years, it doesn't really matter. As long as other GMs are willing to take the Boof Bonsers and Clay Hensleys of the world in trade for established major leaguers such as Matt Herges and A.J. Pierzynski, I say keep on chooglin'. It's a winning strategy. (Given this article, don't be surprised if Noah Lowry is the next "hot prospect" pitcher traded away -- I can just imagine the phone call that preceded this article: "Draper? Ned Colletti here. Hey, have you thought about writing a piece on this Lowry kid? Man, he's really opening our eyes this year. The ball's really coming out of his hand with authority.")

Once in a while, a trade will backfire. No duh. But before you whine about Sidney Ponson, look at the overall record. It's undeniably good.

As for Alou at the helm until at least the end of 2005, well, whom would you prefer? Ron Wotus? Fred Stanley? Charlie Hayes?


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