The word dynasty probably gets thrown around a little too often these days. I mean, after the 2016 World Series we all started calling the Cubs a dynasty for what we figured they were going to do...even though they had won just a single championship. Just one! We can all agree we won’t ever see something like Bill Russell’s Celtics again or Yogi Berra’s Yankees again. That means the “modern dynasty” is more about cashing in on multiple championships in a tighter window. The Patriots and Spurs break the rules in that regard so they’re in their own tier. After those two you have the Blackhawks, Penguins, Warriors, and the San Francisco Giants as recent examples.
In the five year stretch between 2010 and 2014 San Fran won three World Series titles. It’s bizarre, but in the other two years the franchise missed the playoffs altogether, which eventually led to the running joke that the Giants would win every even numbered year for the foreseeable future. In a weird way missing the playoffs in 2011 and 2013 may have actually helped. It probably kept the pitching fresh and the franchise from maintaining the status quo.
The formula used during that run was similar to other modern dynasties that combine great players, coaches, and ownership. In San Francisco’s case they had a stable manager (future HOFer Bruce Bochy), a savvy front office (led by Brian Sabaean), a franchise player (2012 NL MVP Buster Posey), an elite pitching staff (mostly Madison Bumgarner but also Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain), and a group of role players who rose to the occasion when the lights were brightest (Brian Wilson, Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, etc.)
Most of that core remains intact so the Giants are still in "win now" mode. It's the organization's job to cash in on the primes of two greats in Posey and Bumgarner. That's what modern dynasties do. And now, after a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 2017 the Giants are ready to get back to their winning ways.
What happened last year?
Unfortunately for Giants fans 2017 followed the tradition of failing to make the post-season during odd numbered seasons. This time, however, San Francisco wasn't just mediocre. They were downright bad, even from the very beginning. The Giants were 6-11 and in last place when MadBum sprained the AC joint in his throwing shoulder via a dirt bike accident. San Francisco never recovered.
It was a major blow considering that since 2011 Bumgarner had made at least 31 starts and thrown at least 200 innings in each season. He eventually came back and was fine, but by that point the rest of the roster had already let the team down. Posey hit .320 and played great. That was probably the lone bright spot in a year ruined by injuries and ineffectiveness.
Did anything change?
Absolutely, the Giants have been one of the most active teams in an off-season where basically nothing has happened. It's easy to forget now but before the Marlins traded (gave away for free) Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, it was the Giants who had a deal in place for him. Stanton vetoed it, however. It's a good "what if". Think of how differently we would be viewing the team right now had Stanton not exercised his no-trade clause.
So the Giants then did a smart thing. They pivoted. The free agent class wasn't of particular interest to them, so they went to the trade market. There they found two past their prime former superstars, Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. It's fair to assume their best days are behind these two, but they are still much needed upgrades at positions the Giants got nothing from in 2017. Plus it's an even year. (Get it? Because the Giants usually win during an even year?)
Why should the fans be excited?
Because things can't get any worse than last year? Does that count? Alright let's get serious. This is baseball after all! Fans should be excited because things can't get any worse than last year. Seriously, Longoria and Cutch are recognizable names who make the team better. Add in the (assumed) return to health of Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Mark Melancon, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Belt, and you have to figure San Francisco will get back into playoff contention even in a loaded NL West.
Backyard Baseball 2018 Player Representative:
This obviously comes down to Posey and Bumgarner. The reason Posey gets the edge is that I want to save some pitcher spots for guys from other teams. Can't have too many pitchers. Backyard Baseball 2001 had just two with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (three if we count Frank Thomas and his 10/10 pitching stat WTF HOW?!!?)
Also Posey might be more deserving anyways. He's a former MVP who even at 31 years old might still be the best catcher in baseball. He doesn't have the power he once did - his home run totals have declined in each of the past four seasons - but he's hit .310 or higher in three of the past four seasons. Add in the defense and intangibles and you have a legitimate star. Maybe even a future HOFer.
Buster Posey BB18 stats: