COMMENTARY | It's April Fools' Day!
Rather than make up some ridiculous, unbelievable rumor like the San Francisco Giants are carrying three catchers on their opening-day roster (oh, wait), let's instead take a look at five of the most foolish moves the Giants have ever made.
In no particular order:
Trading Joe Nathan
Nathan had fallen out of favor with Giants manager Felipe Alou following a less-than-stellar performance in the 2003 NLDS, as had catcher Benito Santiago. What followed seemed to be a perfect solution: The Giants packaged Nathan and minor-league pitchers Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano and sent them to the Minnesota Twins for catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The result: Pierzynski's greatest contribution to the Giants was kneeing a trainer in the groin, and Nathan became one of the game's most dominant closers.
Oh, and the Giants missed the playoffs by a game in 2004 largely because they lacked a stopper at the end of the bullpen. Fantastic. And because they lacked a closer, the Giants decided to address the situation in the 2005 offseason. Which resulted in...
Signing Armando Benitez
A deal worth $21 million over three years may not seem like a lot, but the albatross that Benitez was to the Giants cannot be overstated. It's hard to pinpoint his most impressive moment with the Giants: Was it blowing out his hamstring while covering first base during his first month with the team? Blowing three consecutive saves in 2006? Balking twice in one inning? Hard to say.
What's clear is that Benitez may be the worst free-agent signing in Brian Sabean's Giants career, and that's saying something.
Trading Orlando Cepeda
Cepeda had two things working against him: He played the same position as Willie McCovey and was coming off of a down year in 1965. The Giants dealt him to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Ray Sadecki, a nondescript starter who barely lasted two seasons with the Giants.
Cepeda went on to win the NL MVP with the Cardinals and a World Series championship. It's hard to believe the Giants couldn't find a way to get both Cepeda and McCovey in the lineup; if they couldn't, they should have received a much better player in return for one of the most dangerous hitters of his time.
Letting Jeff Kent Walk
It's widely speculated that a personality clash between Kent and Giants ownership led to the future Hall of Famer's departure following the 2002 season. The Giants were still mad that Kent lied about how he'd broken his wrist during spring training and seemed to be content with letting Kent walk away.
However, Kent was still a force in the middle of the lineup and went on to have six more productive seasons in the majors. The Giants, meanwhile, struggled for years to replace Kent's bat in the lineup and never found another hitter of Kent's caliber to compliment Barry Bonds. If there's one guy who should have retired as a Giant, it's Jeff Kent.
Letting Will Clark Walk
Check that: If there's one guy who should have retired as a Giant, it's Will Clark. Clark embodied the Giants from the time he was called up in 1986 until he left as a free agent after 1993. Clark was still a great hitter and remained one until he retired, and the Giants couldn't find a replacement for him until J.T. Snow arrived in 1997. Snow was no slouch by any means, but it never seemed right seeing Clark in another uniform.
Dave Tobener is a San Francisco Bay Area-based writer who's written about the Giants for the better part of a decade. His work has appeared on numerous sports websites, including Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew. You can follow him on Twitter @gggiants.
- Sports & Recreation
- San Francisco Giants
- Jeff Kent