Welcome to The Stew’s annual team elimination posts. We’ve done similar posts in the past. Last year was done in a video game theme. This time around, we’re going with a “Game of Thrones” look.
Each eliminated team will join the “army of the dead.” But we won’t just talk about their demise. We’ll also highlight some positives, pick out a memorable moment tell you their biggest need and let you know when the club might be good again. Enjoy.
Sorry, San Francisco Giants, but you won’t sit on the Iron Throne this season.
Unfortunately, you’re the first team to be drafted to the Night King’s army of the dead. We have to say, we didn’t see this coming a few months ago. It was yet another shocking death we’ve come to expect from the drama-filled program known as Major League Baseball.
So, pour out your goblets of wine in tribute to the Giants, whose postseason aspirations died faster than most Hands of the King.
UNBOWED, UNBENT, UNBROKEN (aka WHAT WENT RIGHT)
Pretty much nothing if we’re being honest. The positives have been so few and far between that even a rare walk-off win resulted in a player getting hurt. Perhaps the biggest positive is that Buster Posey has been able to stay relatively healthy while putting in a full and productive season. Brandon Crawford is still a wizard at shortstop and, yeah, that’s about it. (Mark Townsend)
THE RED WEDDING (aka WHAT WENT WRONG)
The Giants were already reeling even before Madison Bumgarner wrecked his season in a dirt-bike accident on April 20, and it just got progressively worse from there. Between injuries to key players like Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Will Smith, Brandon Belt and highly paid closer Mark Melancon, and down seasons for many key veterans, the Giants were never able to put up a fight in the highly competitive NL West. (Townsend)
THE NORTH REMEMBERS (aka MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT)
In a wholly disappointing season, the most memorable moment for the San Francisco Giants was the one where they showed the most fight. And we mean that literally. It was the brawl between the Giants and the Washington Nationals, started when Hunter Strickland hit Bryce Harper with a pitch back on May 29, bringing back a three-year-old beef. It was quite the baseball fight and it had rough consequences for the Giants, as Michael Morse was injured and has yet to return. It was that type of season for the Giants. The moment we’ll remember most was an ugly one — but for 2017 Giants, you take the excitement where you can get it. (Mike Oz)
WORDS ARE WIND (aka MOST IMPORTANT THING TO FIX)
One down year doesn’t always spell doom for a team, but it can expose weaknesses that can lead to long-term misery. The Giants had that kind of year. Injuries, age, and general awfulness revealed an uncertain and directionless future. Their team is old, and while they have a few promising prospects in the minors, their farm system is among the worst in baseball. The front office needs to figure out where the team is going. Are they headed toward a rebuild, or will they see how much their aging core still has left in the tank? Either way, they need to find a direction. (Liz Roscher)
A DREAM OF SPRING (aka HOPE FOR THE FUTURE)
This can go one of two ways: Either the Giants are in for a lengthy rebuild, or they will be just fine next season. Let’s start with the latter first. The Giants still have talented players. You can make a case that they were just unlucky this season. Madison Bumgarner went down early, and Mark Melancon pitched through injury most of the year. That doesn’t totally explain their drastic drop-off, but getting both guys back — combined with Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, and Hunter Pence — gives them a solid core.
It makes sense for the team to try and win next year, because while they have strong pieces, it’s tough to trade a number of their assets. Johnny Cueto is expected to opt-out, so there goes that chance. Jeff Samardzija didn’t have a great year by traditional standards, and is owed $18 million the next three seasons. If the team truly entertains dealing Posey or Bumgarner, they can get something back, but those guys mean a ton to the organization. There’s not much help on the way from the minors, so the team will have to used money saved from losing Cueto and Matt Cain to make some savvy signings. Otherwise, they’ll have to trade off everything not bolted to the floor and settle in for a long rebuild. (Chris Cwik)
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