Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman runs down what he considers to be “October’s Disasters.” Top of the list? The manager of the team that’s probably going to win the World Series:
It may be a little odd to put the manager of the team that’s leading the ALCS 3-2 in games atop this list [note: this was posted before last night’s game]. But Girardi has had a very strange postseason indeed. Joe Torre wrote a bestseller this year, and I can’t wait for Girardi’s new tome, Over-Managing 101. Girardi apparently already has a dreary book of overwrought stats in the dugout, and he’s gone to it once or two or maybe even three times too many.
Girardi’s blunders have been well-documented, but at some point doesn’t the outcome trump the mistakes? The definition of a “disaster” is “a calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction; a sudden or great misfortune or failure.” Girardi has been less than ideal, but with the talent at his disposal, any one decision he makes is fairly unimportant. And obviously the outcome hasn’t been too terribly affected by anything he’s done.
Given the other possible choices — Matt Holliday, Chip Caray, the umpires, Mike Scioscia, and anything having to do with the Dodgers’ NLCS performance — I think Girardi needs to be moved down that list quite a bit.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.