Grant Cohn: It’s time for Bruce Bochy to be replaced as Giants manager
In a few weeks, after the Giants inevitably miss the playoffs again, Larry Baer needs to sincerely thank Bruce Bochy for all he’s done and fire him.
This should be Bochy’s last year. If you don’t think so, you’re delusional.
Bochy hasn’t gotten the team to produce since 2016. And the front office has blamed everyone but Bochy. Last year, when the Giants lost 98 games, the front office replaced the pitching coach, Dave Righetti. The bullpen coach, Mark Gardner. And the bench coach, Ron Wotus. Demoted him to third-base coach. As if Wotus, Gardner and Righetti were the reasons the Giants lost 98 games.
Did the replacements make the team good?
Those three coaches took the fall for Bochy. Under the same circumstances, other teams simply would have fired the manager. But the Giants gave Bochy a one-year grace period, according to their internal logic. And he flopped.
As I write this on Wednesday, the Giants are 8½ games out of first place. They’re done. They’re phoning it in. They lost belief in themselves and play with a distinct lack of passion.
All you needed to see was their series against the Cincinnati Reds last week. When it started, the Giants were only six games out of first place, and the Reds were 17 games under .500. The Giants should have killed them.
But, the Reds, a last-place club going nowhere with nothing to play for, destroyed the Giants. Swept them. Jim Riggleman, the Reds’ manager, had his players ready to play and Bochy didn’t. It was the biggest series of the season for the Giants, their chance to fight back in the playoff race, and instead they fell out of it.
This takes nothing away from his prior accomplishments and three World Series rings. He was great. He surely will enter the Hall of Fame, as he should. And he’s a nice man. He almost feels like family to anyone who cares about Bay Area sports. But the Giants need to start over. Maybe Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans need to go, too. We’re talking about Bochy, though.
Since 2014, his managerial winning percentage is .485. Compare that to former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who got fired on July 13. His winning percentage since 2014 was .546. If Matheny deserved to get fired, Bochy does, too.
Bochy is an older man. He’ll be 64 in April. Throughout his 24 years as a Major League manager, his teams have won more than 90 games only four times. His career winning percentage in the regular season is .494.
He’s good in the playoffs when he has a team of veterans, but the Giants aren’t going to the playoffs any time soon, and won’t have a team of veterans much longer. The outfield will be young, the pitching staff will be young and the infield will be younger when the Giants call up their 2018 first-round pick, Joey Bart. They need to remake the entire team with younger players and coaches.
If the Giants start over with mostly young players, they especially need a new set of eyes and increased vitality in the manager’s office. Someone more hands on than Bochy, who doesn’t have the energy to be that type of manager anymore. He has a heart issue. He needs to be honest with himself.