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Giants exercise 2012 options for Sabean, Bochy
The World Series champions exercised their contract options for the general manager and manager Friday less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Giants made an improbable run to the franchise’s first title since 1954 and first since moving West in 1958, beating the Texas Rangers in five games last fall.
That’s after they clinched their first NL West crown since 2003 on the season’s final day.
Sabean, 54, is the longest-tenured GM in the majors heading into his 15th season with San Francisco _ the place he has said he’d like to stay for the rest of his career. He became the Giants‘ GM in 1996 after three years in player personnel. He was in the Yankees’ organization from 1985-92 as a scout, scouting director and player development director.
Sabean hired the 55-year-old Bochy away from the rival San Diego Padres in 2007 to replace Felipe Alou. But there wasn’t immediate success and both men received harsh criticism along the way for moves they made and those they didn’t.
Neither is ready to say the 2010 run brings them redemption, both quick to credit the players for the World Series championship that most figured was headed to the favored Philadelphia Phillies. Instead, the Giants eliminated the defending NL champions in the NLCS.
Bochy’s spot-on moves throughout the postseason with a roster minus a superstar finally earned him the respect of a fan base that had become impatient to have a winner again.
Neukom saw enough positive signs from a club that stayed in the wild-card chase until mid-September in ‘09 but missed the playoffs for a sixth straight year. Even after Bochy’s first season _ and Bonds’ last _ in 2007 ended with a 71-91 record, some fan message boards called for his firing. Others figured Sabean deserved a shot to turn things around with Bonds finally out of the picture.
He has done that at last, making a handful of risky moves midseason last year that paid off when it mattered most.
Pat Burrell got a second chance after the Rays released him. The Giants picked up Cody Ross in August off waivers from the Marlins, and he became a postseason start receiving NLCS MVP honors in San Francisco’s six-game victory over the Phillies. He drove in 10 runs during the playoffs, two in the World Series win over the Texas Rangers.
Sabean also promoted catcher Rookie of the Year catcher Buster Posey in May and traded away Bengie Molina.
The GM has kept nearly the entire roster intact to make another go at this. The Giants lost World Series MVP Edgar Renteria and utility infielder Juan Uribe, departed to the rival Dodgers.
“I feel a lot more anxiety. What’s next? Have we kept enough of the group together?” Sabean said. “Have we had enough change? … There’s enough to be excited about, but we also know that we had to go like (mad) to win this thing the last day of the season.”
By Donald Lambro
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