Yes, he has his strengths. But wow, does the man have his weaknesses. Henry Schulman:
Sabean always has believed that it makes little sense to have one or two big players if the supporting cast is weak. He would rather own a room full of toys than one Xbox 360. He was ripped for that philosophy in 1996, ripped for it again after the 2003 season when he didn’t make a move for Vlad Guerrero and is being ripped for it today. But he is not budging.Schulman's an excellent reporter, and I'm sure he's correctly describing how Sabean thinks. But it's nuts! Sabean's original teams weren't good because he had a room full of toys; they were good because of the guy with the cape out in left field, the one who was the best player any of us have seen. And it didn't hurt that (even if by accident) he wound up trading Matt Williams for a guy who played at a HOF level for the next six years. Believing that the 1997-2002 Giants showed the benefits of a deep roster with evenly distributed talent is, well, insane.
Ugh. Meanwhile, it's one thing to foolishly keep the same team together after they win it all; that's a mistake, but it's a mistake many GMs have made. But trying to keep the same gang around the next year, in the hopes that they'll bounce back? Well, one guy in particular: apparently Sabean believed that Aubrey Huff is still a major league regular. Alas, that's just not going to happen -- in fact, as much as it was great that Huff had a terrific 2009, the truth is he's only really been decent twice since 2004. At age 35? It isn't going to happen.
Granted, the Giants could easily end up competing in the NL West, if things break right. But it sure would be a lot easier with Carlos Beltran and a real SS than with what they've got.
Again -- that doesn't make Sabean a horrible GM. He really does have some real virtues. It's just that his flaws are so damn annoying.