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With the general managers’ meetings beginning this week, officially kicking off the Hot Stove season, I think a lot of Giants fans have the same question:

“Is that all there is?”

Because after two straight disappointing seasons, weren’t we told that this was going to be a hold-onto-your-seat kind of offseason? That they were ready to make bold moves to transform the team?

Yep, and right away they fired their strength and conditioning guy.


C’mon. This seems pretty simple. We have seen this team. It doesn’t work. What are you going to do about it?

Much has been made of the departure of general manager Bobby Evans — last seen scrubbing thrown-under-the-bus tire tracks off his suit. They’re bringing in a new GM, the team says, “with full authority.”

Which sounds pretty promising until the new GM realizes that personnel guru Brian Sabean will still be there, peeking over his shoulder and muttering about the folly of analytics.

Oh, and by the way, team president Larry Baer has already said he expects Bruce Bochy to be back as manager, so don’t expect to pick your own guy. Or, presumably, have much influence on the makeup of the rest of the staff.

So why is this such a great job again? I am wondering if the Giants have experienced a lack of enthusiasm from applicants. Cause you’d think they’d like to have a general manager going into the general manager meetings, right?

Of course, someone will be found. We media types will meet them, ask penetrating questions and try to get a fix on his or her mindset.

And none of that will matter. This is a team coming off back-to-back sub-.500 seasons. They’ve lost 187 games in the last two years. They have been no factor in the playoff race.

This new GM, this team and this brain trust is going to be judged on one metric — the standings. The time is up for promising signs, encouraging losses and hopeful slogans.

Actually, I’m OK with Sabean sticking around. He looks tired, but if he wants to hang in there, it seems he still has an eye for talent.

But the Bochy deal baffles me. Last year the Giants were presented with a question: Are you going to commit to Bochy for the future or not? This is the last, and most expensive, year of his contract, so a decision had to be made.

If he’s your guy, you should sign him to an extension. And if he’s not, the end of last year would have been the time to step gracefully away, with a touching and emotional farewell ceremony.

Instead, the team took an intentional walk by saying nothing until the sour, listless last weeks of the season, when Baer announced he “anticipated” Bochy would be back.

I don’t get it. As stubbornly as the front office clings to the nostalgia of the World Series years, there are undoubtedly going to be lots of young players on next year’s roster.

Nurturing the youngsters is not Bochy’s thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he said so himself.

Now he’s in the last year of his deal, the pressure is on and everybody’s already on edge after the last two woeful seasons. What if this goes south? Suppose Bochy has to step down during the season? That would be embarrassing.

And, although we can fault the Giants for not doing much, it isn’t going to be easy. You know the names and numbers: Mark Melancon — four years, $62 million; Johnny Cueto — six years, $130 million; Jeff Samardzija — five years, $90 million; and Evan Longoria — five years, $86 million.

Which is why the Giants came into 2018 with the second-highest payroll in baseball.

The highest, the Red Sox, won the World Series.

The Giants? They’ve finished last and next to last in the NL West.

(There was a brief attempt to paint last year’s 73-89 season as a promising step after 98 losses, but c’mon, guys.)

The big-ticket players aren’t just expensive. They’re also either unavailable to be traded — Cueto is out until 2020 with Tommy John surgery — or unwanted.

Samardzija struggled to stay healthy. Melancon keeps announcing improvements to his sore arm, but he’s starting to look like one of those guys who improves, but never gets well. And the Longoria situation has the potential to get ugly.

How many Giants fans, watching the World Series turned to each other and asked, “Why were we so eager to ship out Eduardo Nunez again?” The third baseman was sent to the Red Sox for two minor league pitchers halfway through the 2017 season. He was last seen riding a float in the championship parade.

A lot was put on Longoria’s back when he came here. He and Andrew McCutchen were going to be the personable, homer-hitting veterans that would put this team on their shoulders and carry it to the postseason.

So now McCutchen is gone and everywhere Longoria goes someone says, “$86 million for a measly 16 home runs, 54 ribbies and 15 errors?” And the next thing he knows they are telling him why the team never should have traded Matt Duffy.

Granted, it is no fun. But Longo didn’t help himself by moping around with the body language of a damp towel

As a listener on the Giants’ flagship radio station asked, “Does Longoria even LIKE baseball?”

Now, Longoria may, at this very moment, be throwing himself into a workout routine that is beyond the comprehension of a mere mortal. He may show up in such fantastic shape that the first ball he hits goes all the way to the Coke bottle in left center.

Let’s hope so. But if this really is all he has to give, he’s going take heat. Because right now he’s the symbol of what characterizes these Giants — futility and poor judgment.

And unless something changes, we’re going to be stuck with this for years.

So, Giants. What are you going to do about that?

Contact C.W. Nevius at cw.nevius@pressdemocrat.com. Twitter: @cwnevius

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