Smart Spending Was NOT A Key To The Giants' Success

Barry Zito San Francisco Giants Pitcher

Photo: Flickr/Ewen Roberts

In the golden age of baseball analytics, teams jostle to hire statistically savvy general managers capable of unearthing the best bargains in the free agent market. Well, the World Series champion did the opposite of that, but still managed to win anyway.The Giants won the title this season despite doling out huge contracts to some of their least productive players.

For example:

  • They paid starter Barry Zito $18.5M to go 9-14 during the regular season and didn’t even include him on the postseason roster.
  • Outfielder Aaron Rowand earned $13.6M to hit .230 during the regular season (-0.1 WAR) and come to the plate 11 times in the postseason.
  • Although sometimes, you get lucky: Shortstop Edgar Renteria earned $10 million while making just 13 starts during the Giants stretch run in August, September, and October. Then he won the World Series MVP with 6 RBI in 5 games.

Still, that’s more than 40 per cent of the Giants $98M opening day payroll given to just three players.

But Giants’ GM Brian Sabean compensated for his mistakes by drafting unbelievably well. Starters Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and catcher Buster Posey were all first-round draft picks. Baseball teams rarely strike gold on three consecutive first round picks. He also drafted Game 2 and 3 starters Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez.

San Francisco won on the backs of the four postseason starters they hand-picked and brought up through their farm system. It’s just inefficient that their fifth starter earns more than his four superiors. Combined.

See how much those overpaid players will add to their wallets > >

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