Sabean is Giants’ MVP
Here they come. Like the the fog that rolls across the scenic San Francisco Bay, the Giants are rolling into a three-team divisional race that has all the makings of a photo finish.
In a season that has seen all-universe outfielder Barry Bonds take the art off home run hitting to a completely different realm and All-Star shortstop Rich Aurilia destroy National League pitching night in and night out, you would think a vote for team MVP would be a no brainer.
However, if fans were able to vote, my choice became very obvious last week.
Brian Sabean, you da man!
True, Sabean will never crack an RBI double this year, he’ll never throw an 85 mph sinker on the black for a game-winning strikeout and he’ll never make a Calvin Murray-esque diving stab in the outfield. But what Sabean did during the days leading up to the trading deadline should surely put him in contention for the award.
Making deals for five-time All-Star first baseman Andres Galarraga and right-hand pitcher Jason Schmidt and adding depth with outfielder John Vander Wal and reliever Jason Christianson, Sabean showed why he was Major League Baseball’s executive of the year last year. Since his arrival, Galarraga is batting .260 with 16 RBIs in 12 games, while Schmidt gave up one hit in his first Giant start.
I mean he only gave up Armando Rios and a few prospects for four proven big-leaguers that could very well hold the keys to the promise land.
Yeah, this die-hard Giants fan may be a little premature.
It’s highly possible that Galarraga could go on a big 0-for streak and Schmidt may give up a few dongs his next outing, but the one thing that Sabean did that will never show up in a boxscore is put a charge into a team that has looked, at best, mediocre this season.
Before the shopping spree ensued, the Giants were stagnant in third place and looking like, well a third-place team. To go into a late July homestand against the rival D-backs and get their hats handed to them two nights in a row by a combined score of 21 to 6 must have sent up red flags in Sabean’s office. Then it was on to last place Colorado where the fellas get routed in the first two games of a three-game series.
It was after that second game in Colorado that Sabean dropped his first bomb.
Enter “El Gato Grande” Galarraga, who in the once-friendly confines of Coors field joined the Giants roster and sparked a fuse not only on the field but in the clubhouse as well. That spark ignited a nine-game winning streak, including a four-game sweep of the D-backs in Arizona.
Schmidt was the second to arrive. In what catcher Benito Santiago described as “looking like a young Roger Clemens,” he took the mound last Wednesday night at Pac Bell and power pitched his way to a one-hit victory.
Since making the deals, the Giants have won 11 of 12 games and have pulled themselves within a game of the first-place Dodgers.
I don’t think there’s any coincidence that this team has been given new life since Sabean began dealing. Are you serious? Rueter hurling a one-hitter a night after Schmidt. Bonds cranking out home runs 43, 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48. And a clubhouse that is now buzzing when before it was pin-drop silent. Brian Sabean, thank you.
So while the boys trot out on the field for the next two months in defense of their NL division title and we watch Bonds crank out more HRs and Aurilia continue his assualt on opposing pitchers, you sit there in your luxury box Mr. Sabean and know that there’s one Giants fan that is convinced you are this year’s team MVP.
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