I've been delaying this column for a while now because of work, school, baseball playoffs, etc. Anyways it was finally time to write about the 2009 San Francisco Giants season.
Heading into the 2009 baseball season, many experts predicted the Giants wouldn't come close to the playoffs. Well they were right, the Giants didn't make the playoffs. But the Giants did improve their record from 72 wins in 2008 to 88 wins in 2009. Hell if the Giants played in the AL Central, they would have won the division title. Also the Giants were in playoff contention throughout the entire year and were in the NL Wild Card hunt until the final week of the season. While the season ended on a low note, there were a lot of positives to take out of this season.
Tim Lincecum- Lincecum will be once again be in the Cy Young discussions this year. Lincecum finished in the top ten in innings pitched, ERA, complete games, shutouts, win, and he was second only to Justin Verlander in strikeouts. Anyone who wants to argue that Lincecum was just a one year fluke, that his delivery will hurt destroy his career, I give you the numbers. Lincecum has quickly became the best pitcher in the major leagues.
Also I would like to point out that Lincecum was a victim of his team's poor offense. Lincecum had to pitch many games where he was only given a one or two run lead. I still remember that game he pitched against Philadelphia in Auguest. Lincecum held onto a two run lead and eventually shutout the Phillies. In the end, Lincecum finished with 15 wins, but he also had 10 no-decisions. Imagine if he didn't have 10 no-decisions and just 5 no-decisions? He would have finished the year with 20 wins.
Pablo Sandoval- The continued improvement of Pablo Sandoval. When the Panda made his major league debut last season, we saw a star in the making. I don't think Giants fans would know what type of ride Sandoval would take them on.
Sandoval broke out this year and became a star. And the guy is only 23 years old. Imagine how good Sandoval can be when he gets a little older with more MLB experience? Sandoval finished 2nd in the NL in batting average. Sandoval finished tenth in the majors with 44 doubles. Sandoval also finished the year with 25 home runs and 95 RBI's. He's without a doubt the star of this team. And yes, he should have been an All-Star and Fat Chuck knows that but won't acknowledge it. Good luck to the Phillies repeating, because a lot of Giants fans, including myself, put voodoo curses on that team.
Barry Zito- Zito finally earned his paycheck. Zito never lived up to his lofty contract the first two years in San Francisco. Well Zito finally regained his confidence in himself and the pitches he throws and earned his money. Zito was especially important for the Giants once Randy Johnson was injured. Here's to Zito earning his contract next season.
Where there was improvement, there were areas that absolutely frustrated Giants fans. Here's the cons to the 2009 Giants season.
Aaron Rowand- Look, Rowand is a good centerfielder. Rowand is gritty and a gamer. He plays through injuries. But the guy sucks at the plate. If I have to see this guy strikeout one more time and head back to the dugout talking to himself, I'm going to punch a hole through a wall. Rowand strikes out way too many times, grounds out way too many times, and he doesn't hit too many RBI's. Plus this guy still has three years left on his contract and making $13 million a season. The Rowand signing was ten times worse than the Zito signing at this point.
Bruce Bochy- How this guy is a major league manager is beyond me. And why the Giants are bringing this moron back for another season is just flat frustrating. Giants fans finally got a taste of why the San Diego Padres let him go and didn't care that he took a job with a division rival.
Bochy's reliance on old veteran players is the reason why the Giants didn't make the playoffs. Bochy continued to trot out players like Randy Winn, Edgar Renteria, and Bengie Molina is the single reason why the Giants have started their off season already. And don't get me started about him playing Eli Whiteside at catcher, while the Giants best prospect Buster Posey sat on the bench.
Molina was injured for the last part of August and early part of September. The Giants decided to bring up Posey before their road trip to Philadelphia and Milwaukee. ESPN's Keith Law said the moment Posey was called up, he was the second best hitter on the team behind Sandoval. So who does Bochy continue to start in the month of September? Yep he continues to start either Molina or journeyman Eli Whiteside. The Giants lost two games in Philadelphia and never recovered. Imagine if Posey did start? Maybe the Giants would be in a rematch with the Phillies in the playoffs?
Bochy is an idiot and the Giants are idiots for bringing this idiot back. He refuses to play the younger players and insists on playing past-their-prime veterans. The Giants deserve everything they get with bringing back Bochy.
Brian Sabean- More perplexing than Bruce Bochy coming back for another season, is that the Giants are also bringing back General Manager Brian Sabean. This guy had the gall at the end of the season to say his plan is working.
Um Brian, it's not. If your plan was working the Giants would be in the playoffs. Once again Sabean made some horrible signings in the offseason. He signed Edgar Renteria to a two-year contract when it's obvious his best years are behind him. He made in-season trades for Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez. He could have had Matt Holliday or Victor Martinez, but no he trades for Garko and a porcelain doll. And worst of all, he traded top pitching prospect Tim Alderson for Sanchez.
I can guarantee you what Sabean will do this off season. Instead of signing a player they need like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, Sabean will sign some old ass veteran thinking he's the answer to all the Giants questions. And he won't make the right signing. He won't sign a Raul Ibanez type of guy. He will sign a Aaron Rowand type of guy. Giants fans have no faith in Sabean, and he's coming back for more. Just shoot me now.
Overall- It was still an exciting year for Giants baseball. The team improved on their record despite their lack of offense. Lincecum continued to show why he's the best pitcher in baseball. The Giants finally have a guy in Sandoval that came through their farm system and seems to be the real deal. The pitching staff will continue to improve. And Brian Wilson has cemented his place as one of the best closers in baseball.
I will continue to be a Giants fan, despite Bochy and Sabean coming back for another year. I hope one day this team will eventually win a world series. Until then, I will wait till next April for Giants baseball.