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The Giants fire GM Bobby Evans after another disappointing season

The decision comes when the team is at a crossroads with some tough decisions to make.

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez,

The San Francisco Giants have announced that they are parting ways with GM Bobby Evans after four seasons in the role. They’re finishing up another disappointing season, and they have made the playoffs only once in the past four years. It looks like Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy will remain with the team at least through next year when their contracts expire.

It is tough to say how much of this is Evans’s fault. Four years is a short tenure for a GM. He inherited Sabean’s team, and four years is not enough time to make and mold the team as your own. We also don’t know how much autonomy he actually had. Evans was a rookie GM reporting to a future Hall of Famer in Sabean.

One can understand why the Giants’ front office wanted to push for another run. FanGraphs projected the Giants as a .500 team, and I doubt the team’s internal projections differed much from that. It is reasonable to believe that a Wild Card slot was possible if enough things broke right. The farm system was depleted anyway from years of promotions and trades. The core is aging, and Madison Bumgarner will be a free agent after 2019. Perhaps it would have been better to blow it up, but the Giants decided to go the route of the Tigers.

The Giants were in a position where they needed a fair amount of luck to make the postseason. Actually, now that the season is almost over, we can probably say that the Giants would have needed a ton of luck. It is entirely possible that 90 wins will be needed to clinch the last NL Wild Card slot.

The Giants suffered a catastrophic amount of bad luck in their 64-win 2017 season, but the 2018 team needed more help than the additions of fading stars such as Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. It is hard to imagine that the 2018 Giants would suffer anywhere close to the same amount of misfortune as they did in 2017, but this season was pretty unlucky, too.

Buster Posey played in only 105 games and needs hip surgery. He is going into his age-32 season after coming off his worst offensive year since 2011, mostly because he suffered from a big power outage. Madison Bumgarner did not debut until June due to a broken hand. The good news is that he pitched well, even if it was not vintage Bumgarner.

Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto combined for only 19 starts this year, and Cueto might miss all of next year because of Tommy John surgery. Going by DRA-based WARP, those two combined for sub-replacement level play. The Giants paid those two a combined $39 million for that. On the bright side, Derek Holland had a 3.95 RA9 over 168 23 IP for just $1.75 million.

Brandon Belt played in only 112 games and his offense has been declining over the past couple of seasons. At least his defense is still strong. The same can be said of Brandon Crawford. The Brandons are locked up through 2021, but they are both on the wrong side of thirty.

Andrew McCutchen performed well during his time in San Francisco (though he’s since been traded to the Yankees) and ended up being a good acquisition, but other position players performed quite poorly. Evan Longoria had the worst offensive season in his career, and he is about to turn 33 with four years left on his contract. Joe Panik played in only 97 games and barely hit. Fan favorite Hunter Pence dealt with injuries this season, but he hit only .224/.260/.318 with diminished plate discipline when he did play. He will be a free agent this offseason. Going into his age-36 season, I would not be surprised if he did not get any major league offers.

No Giants player cracked 3 WAR at either Baseball Reference or FanGraphs. Rookie Dereck Rodríguez, son of Hall of Famer Iván Rodríguez, led the team in bWAR with 2.9. Over at FanGraphs, he is tied with Brandon Belt for the team lead at 2.1 fWAR. No one was even close to a star level of performance. The only players whom one can reasonably project to to perform at such a level next year are Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, and both carry a health-related asterisk.

This Giants are only a few years removed from winning three championships in five seasons. That is one of the most successful runs a franchise has ever had. I can understand the reluctance to pull the trigger on a rebuild. But the patchwork job they did last winter did not work for 2018, and it will not work for 2019. Short of a free agent spending spree akin to what the Yankees did after the 2008 season, it is difficult to see how this franchise can be turned into a playoff-caliber team in time for the 2019 season.

Ownership needs to decide what they want to do, and soon. This +70 wins spot is a tough place for a major league organization to be in, especially given the poor state of the farm system. It’s okay to rebuild. Winning three championships buys a lot of good will from fans.

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Luis Torres is a Featured Writer at Beyond the Box Score. He is a medicinal chemist by day, baseball analyst by night. You can follow him on Twitter at @Chemtorres21.