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Great Moments in Organizational Philosophies

Jan 28, 2010, 10:57 AM EDT

Repoz over at Baseball Think Factory links USA Today’s Organizational Report on the San Francisco Giants today. The report was written a couple of weeks ago, actually, as is evidenced by both the url and the references to the team maybe picking up Rod Barajas or someone to help Buster Posey out behind the plate.  But the age of the report only helps to highlight the best part: Brian Sabean explaining the Giants’ new organizational philosophy of getting on base and working counts: 

. . .the Giants want to change their hitters’ mind-set, a process that
began when they replaced hitting coach Carney Lansford with Hensley
Meulens after the season, and Molina’s .285 on-base percentage did not
fit with the philosophy. Plus, when you register the lowest OBP in baseball (.309), relying purely on instinct might not be such a good idea.

“Last year we were challenged because we had a bunch of free
swingers, and some of our better hitters were free swingers,” general
manager Brian Sabean said, naming Molina and Pablo Sandoval among them.
“It is a shift. The first thing we’ll do once we have the players at
hand on the roster is figure out how we can have a better attack. It’s
not necessarily hitting home runs as much as taking care of your
opportunities. We are going to work counts more if possible.”

I’m trying to figure out what my favorite part of this story is.  The choices:

  • The fact that Hensley Meulens, the man tasked with implementing this alleged new philosophy, had a lifetime .288 OBP;
  • The fact that Sabean seems to think that you should teach the players you have how to get on base as opposed to actually going out and signing players who have demonstrated that they know how to get on base;
  • The fact that eight days after this story was first published, the Giants re-signed Bengie Molina, who is repeatedly cited in the article as a counter-example to the team’s alleged philosophy and is probably the least patient hitter in baseball; or

Other than that, great philosophy fellas. Whether it’s any better than the last two Giants philosophies (i.e. “Do whatever Barry wants” and “sign old dudes and talk about how great it was when Barry was here”) is an open question.

  1. Grant - Jan 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    The Giants, Royals, and Mets are gifts that keep on giving…

  2. Joey B - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    You got that right. It’s less fun when teams like the Royals implode in questionable moves, since it’s like making fun of poor people. But when SF and the Mets shoot themselves in the foot, repeatedly, it’s a real hoot.
    It gives you a real sense that the respective GMs really don’t know the game that well. Moore seemed genuinely surprised that he had a bad defensive team, and then decided to fix it by adding Betancourt. Sabean’s quotes make it seem like he just found out about the importance of OBP, and fixed it by adding Molina.
    If these guys stick around another ten years, maybe they’ll start asking what UZR and WAR mean.

  3. ecp - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Bengie Molina is not the most impatient hitter in baseball; that title belongs to another catcher: Miguel Olivo. Career walk rate lower than Molina’s, career strikeout rate THREE TIMES higher than Molina’s. But they do both swing at pitches out of the zone at about the same rate. Just think: The Giants could have easily had Olivo instead of Molina. Oh, and Rockies fans? Have fun with Miguel for the next two years.

  4. Phils - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    I want to retract a comment I made yesterday. I said that the only thing keeping the Reds from having the worst front office in the game was the Royals’ front office. How silly of me to forget about the always entertaining Brian Sabean. My condolences, Giants fans.

  5. Joey B - Jan 28, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Well, not to defend Sabean, but they’ve developed some fairly good minor league talent. Moore has screwed up as many ML moves as Sabean, though less spectacularly, but Sabean’s minor league system has out-produced KC’s.
    And you’re still forgetting the NYM’s FO. Picking the worst FO isn’t as easy as it seems.

  6. Phil - Jan 28, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    but Sabean’s minor league system has out-produced KC’s.
    Yeah, but mostly for other teams than the Giants. ;-)
    And you’re still forgetting the NYM’s FO. Picking the worst FO isn’t as easy as it seems.
    Maybe we need a two-tired system. Worst FOs with money, where the Mets lap the field. And worst small-budget FOs, where the Royals have the lead. At least the Mets can afford to make mistakes with some hope of recovery. Small-budget FOs that are both clueless and penniless are screwed.

  7. Jesus - Jan 28, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    “The fact that Hensley Meulens, the man tasked with implementing this alleged new philosophy, had a lifetime .288 OBP;”
    Since when did a coach’s past MLB performance indicate their coaching skills? Should Rudy Jaramillo stop coaching? You think Meulens hasn’t learned anything in the decade+ since he last played a MLB game?

  8. Ed Wade - Jan 28, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Hey I think I deserve some credit here too!

  9. Joey B - Jan 28, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    “Maybe we need a two-tired system. Worst FOs with money, where the Mets lap the field.”
    I think the sample size is too small for that claim. Hendry paid Soriano, Bradley, and Fukudome a total of $39M per. That’s a lot for an an average of 14 HRs and a .252 per, especially since one’s main value is that he is injured a lot, since no one wants him to show up, and the other is a platoon player, and the third is only on the payroll for another 5 years and $90 large.
    My bold prediction is that Minaya is only 29th in wins/million in 2010. Mark it down.

  10. Motherscratcher - Jan 28, 2010 at 11:14 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong but we’re talking about Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens, right?
    Far out, man.

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