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Sabean: "Triple-A baseball isn't very good"

May 10, 2010, 8:36 AM EDT

posey swining.JPGI understand the pickle Brian Sabean is in.  He has a top prospect in Buster Posey hitting .345 down in Fresno. Calling him up, however, risks making him arbitration eligible a year earlier than he otherwise might be, and the owners clearly don’t want that, what with having screwed that whole process up with Tim Lincecum. The media  asks when they’re going to see Posey every day, but you can’t just say “we’re waiting until June for service time reasons,” because it (a) looks cheap; and (b) may not make Major League Baseball or the union happy.

So what to do? Why, you dump on minor league baseball, that’s what:

“Triple-A baseball isn’t very
good,” Sabean said. “I’m going to tell you that right now. Especially
from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big

That was Sabean’s response when asked why Posey hitting .345 hasn’t earned him a promotion. I’m sure his AAA pitchers — including top prospect Madison Bumgarner — appreciate that. I’m sure Posey appreciates that. I’m sure the front office for the Fresno Grizzlies and all of the people who buy tickets to see them appreciate that.

The thing is, Sabean doesn’t even need to go there. He’s actually getting decent production from his catching combo right now, with Bengie Molina hitting .333/.402/.457 and Eli Whiteside hitting the cover off the ball in limited play.  Will it last? Oh, heck no, but at the moment it provides Sabean plenty of cover to say “we really don’t need help behind the plate right now” and have it sound eminently plausible.

But instead he dumps on his prospect and his farm team.  I just don’t get that. Of course, there are a lot of things about Brian Sabean’s tenure in San Francisco I don’t get. Mostly how it’s lasted this long.  

  1. BC - May 10, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    I think Sabean was simply throwing a challenge out there. Especially Bumgarner, who got lit up hotter than that volcano in Iceland when he was up. Their prospects have sucked in the last couple years. Haven’t developed a single pitcher since Lincecum and Cain. Bumgarner was supposed to be the second coming of the Messiah – and apparently thinks of himself as such – but pitched like the second coming of Ollie Perez and pouted. Sabean is probably trying to get the guy to man up.

  2. Darryl - May 10, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    Maybe he only meant that the Giants farm teams aren’t very good….which would explain a lot about how the Giants have done these last few years……..

  3. largebill - May 10, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Suffering with Triple A superstar Brandon Wood on my fantasy team I have a hard time arguing with Sabean on his assessment. PCL offensive numbers have been misleading.

  4. Moses Green - May 10, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    Brian Sabean is right, and he should know. He filled a major league squad by surrounding Pablo Sandoval with AAA-caliber hitters. And guess what? They aren’t very good. Talk about your basic self-fulfilling prophecy.

  5. hardjuge - May 10, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    “Triple A baseball isn’t very good.” Thought that’s why they called it Triple A baseball.

  6. JBerardi - May 10, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    Leagues that AAA is superior to:

    – AA
    – High A
    – A
    – Short-season A
    – Rookie Ball
    – Dominican Summer League
    – Venezuelan Summer League
    – Arizona Fall League
    – Mexican League
    – Cuban League (or whatever it is that they have in Cuba)
    – Every other international league
    – Every amateur league

    Leagues that AAA is not superior to:

    – MLB
    – Nippon Professional Baseball

    So unless Sabean plans on sending Posey to play in Japan, I don’t see how AAA being “not very good” is particularly relivant. I mean, by that logic, how does ANYONE ever get called up to the big leagues? It’s like being valedictorian of your high school, but no college accept you in because they think high school isn’t very difficult. Well, what more difficult thing are you going to base these decisions on then? There isn’t one.

    I’ll also just briefly say that AAA baseball is, in fact, quite good. It’s mostly made up of guys who are just shy of being major leaguers, or who are occasional major leaguers. It’s the one level of the minors that’s really veteran-heavy and the pitchers there don’t tend to be young, unharnessed phenoms. Instead you find more savvy vet types who mix pitches, make adjustments, and exploit weaknesses. If you can hit in AAA at age 22-23 like Posey has (nevermind that he’s doing it as a catcher), you’re pretty much going to be able to hit in the majors.

  7. Moses Green - May 10, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    You understand AAA much better than Sabean.
    He really is a douche. All he had to say was “Buster Posey needs to work on his receiving and game-calling skills, and AAA is the correct place for him to do it.”
    The Giants have 4 guys hitting right now, and 2 of them play catcher and first base. There really is no place for Posey on that team unless he can catch.

  8. michael standish - May 10, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    I myself am starting a write-in campaign to elect Brian Sabean President, because he’s always right and he never lies.

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