Nevius: Time for the Giants to think beyond Bruce Bochy
Honestly, it is hard to imagine a world where Bruce Bochy is the manager of the Giants next year.
Back-to-back disappointing seasons is not how this franchise sees itself. Their mindset is “perennial contender.”
And since the results aren’t cutting it, we know the brain trust will not be patient. This week Grant Cohn advanced the idea in a column on pressdemocrat.com that this year should be Bochy’s last, and although the die-hards howled, I agree.
The only thing I’d say is it would be nice to get buy-in from Bochy so he could announce his departure as the season winds down and accept the grateful appreciation of Giants fans.
It is not the big move the Giants probably had in mind for 2019. They’ve been assiduously staying under the salary limit to limit their luxury-tax bill. The idea is to have cash available to chase a marquee free agent. And let’s all say “Bryce Harper” in unison.
But I’d say a change at manager is the bigger move.
There is no simpler and quicker way to change the culture and mood of a baseball team than to put a new guy in the manager’s office. He makes dozens of calls every day — from writing out the lineup to managing the bullpen — and each directly affects individual players.
And the Giants definitely need a change in mood and culture.
Not that Bochy hasn’t had big moments. He won three World Series in a place that — when previous World Series chances ended in bitter, unlikely defeats — seemed cursed never to win one. He’s been Manager of the Year twice. It has become automatic to say he will be in the Hall of Fame.
And for all I know, Bochy gives rousing clubhouse speeches that have the players ready to run through sheets of concrete for him.
It just hasn’t looked like it for the last two seasons.
So it says here he is unlikely to be back. And, if the Giants need a new manager, they have two directions to go.
First, they can promote from within and then use their time and treasure to pursue some glittering star. We hear complicated trade proposals that would send some of our favorite Giants away in exchange for the next Barry Bonds.
Just sayin’, those deals are tough to pull off and success is iffy.
Or, they can make the new manager the big deal.
I’ve come around on this management/coach/guru position. I used to think it was overrated.
But guys like Steve Kerr at the Warriors or Kyle Shanahan at the 49ers — heck, even the Raiders’ Jon Gruden — aren’t just drawing X’s and O’s. They are creating a team culture, a way of doing things.
I’m sure the Giants are thoroughly sick and tired of comparisons to the Oakland A’s, but what’s one more? The Giants clubhouse is a somber, formal place where players pad around quietly and rarely make eye contact. Meanwhile, the A’s rock their basement clubhouse.
Another writer mentioned the “energy,” and that’s a good call. The players are fired up and happy to chat. (Of course, winning and becoming baseball’s darlings helps.) That’s missing in S.F.