It’s been almost 36 hours since Brian Wilson whiffed Nelson Cruz to bring to a close the 2010 World Series… And Dayton Moore hasn’t made a move.  Raise your hand if this shocks you.

*Raises hand*

If the 2010 version of the San Francisco Giants got your mind racing, it would only be natural.  While their Opening Day payroll of $96 million is well out of the means of the Royals, the Giants reliance on the younger players on their roster was something we know all about in Kansas City… We hope to be in a similar situation.

There are actually a ton of similarities between the Giants of 2010 and what will likely be the Royals of 2013.  Despite a front office that at times borders on the incompetent, the Giants pulled off a shocker.  It’s not the recommended way to win a championship… Despite their strong youth movement, the inability to place quality around them on a consistent basis means they’ll have a difficult road back to October.  Still, a title is a title.  They can provide a blueprint for Royal success.

How were the Giants built?

The Draft

You simply cannot understate how well the Giants have done in the draft the last couple of years.  Especially in the pitching department.

Chew on this for a moment:

Every post season start for the Giants came from a pitcher they drafted and developed.

Yep… Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner were all Giant draft picks.  What’s more, three of the four were first rounders.  Sanchez was picked in the 27th round.

Cain was the 25th selection overall in the 2002 draft out of Houston High School in Tennessee.  That was the Zack Greinke draft.  Throw Cole Hamels and the 2007 version of Scott Kazmir into the mix and that’s a hell of a first round of high school pitching talent.

Lincecum was the 10th selection overall in the 2006 draft.  Otherwise known as the Luke Hochevar draft.  Otherwise known as the draft GMDM didn’t participate in.

And Bumgarner was the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft out of South Caldwell High School in North Carolina.  That was the Moustakas draft.

I threw the Royals comparisons in there just for some context.  I know there’s a ton of second guessing that goes on in all these drafts, but it’s interesting to note the only miss for the Royals out of those three years was the 2006 draft – and a grand total of six teams selected a pitcher before the Giants nabbed Lincecum.

This really blows my mind.

And their closer was a 24th rounder in the 2003 draft.  And of course, Buster Posey.  The collection of talent the Giants have drafted and brought along to the majors is nothing short of amazing.  That’s a hell of a change for a team who signed Michael Tucker on purpose so they could blow their first round draft pick because they didn’t want to spend the money on signing bonuses.

Wow… A team who changes their organizational philosophy on the draft and reaps the benefits?  Kind of hits close to home.

Trades

Freddy Sanchez and Mike Fontenot were the most notable players acquired via trade.  And former Royal Ramon Ramirez.  Basically, small time moves.

Again, this is something we know all about in Kansas City.

Waivers

Presenting Cody Ross – The Accidental Waiver Claim.

The Giants outfield was full at the end of August.  Burrell, Torres and the carnival known as Jose Guillen were the regulars with Rowand and Huff also getting their share of playing time.  Granted, there’s not a bunch of quality in that group, but as we’ve already noted you have a substantial pile of cash committed to these guys.

Rumor was, the Giants simply put in the claim to prevent the Padres – who lost Tony Gwynn to a broken bone in his hand – from grabbing him.  The Phillies and Braves were also thought to have interest.  It was basically a miscalculation on the part of Sabean as the Marlins were looking to dump Ross to open a space for Cameron Maybin.

The Royals haven’t done anything like this – they haven’t been in the position to make a needless waiver claim. (No, Luis Mendoza doesn’t count.)  Still, you could compare the Ross waiver claim to the Joakim Soria pick in the Rule 5 draft several years ago.  The Royals benefited from a low risk move… Kind of like the Giants did with Ross.

Free Agency

This is where Sabean has been brutal.  The Barry Zito contract is horrible… The guy was dropped from the post season roster.  He cost the Giants $18.5 million this season.   Aaron Rowand is another colossal blunder.  He earned $13.6 million in 2010.  Then there’s Edgar Renteria who pocketed a cool, round $10 million.  Yeah, I know he was the World Series MVP.  I’m aware he hit the three-run bomb that brought the title to San Francisco for the first time ever.  I’m also aware his body is breaking down, he hit .276/.332/.374 and he hasn’t been a good defensive shortstop for years.  Then, there was Mark DeRosa who was sidelined for the year with a wrist injury in June.  His $6 million salary was the fifth highest on the team.  That was after he battled wrist issues in 2009.

Combined, this foursome earned $48.1 million. Or close to 50% of their Opening Day payroll.  They posted a combined WAR of 0.2.  Most GM’s get fired for that kind of incompetence.  Sabean is leading a parade down Market Street.

Of course, if I’m going to rip a GM for his missteps, in the interest of fairness I’ll give him credit for his positive moves.  Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres were bargains.  And Pat Burrell – despite his awful post season – was a decent mid-season pickup.

Again, the parallels are too obvious to ignore.  The Meche signing looked good until Trey Hillman’s Starting Rotation Chainsaw Massacre.  The Guillen signing was a disaster from day one.  And the other deals… Kendall, Farnsworth, Ankiel, etc… They were for less money than the cash splashed by Sabean, but not a one of them made a bit of sense.

Conclusion

Despite the differences in payroll ability, there are just a ton of similarities between the Giants and the Royals situation in Kansas City.  Dayton Moore has drafted well, made a few trades with little long-term impact and bungled his share of free agent signings.  I even expect him to keep Moustakas in the minors as long as possible (like Sabean did with Posey) to manipulate the service clock.  The positive of this is Moore has a short track record as a GM.  There’s still a little bit of hope that Moore will somehow “get it” and learn to avoid the free agent market and learn how to build a roster that makes sense.  There’s no hope for Sabean who is the longest tenured GM in the game.

While Sabean may be the toast of San Francisco today, the results of 2010 don’t change the fact he’s not a good general manager.  He overpays for veterans who can’t possibly deliver value for the money and clearly has issues when it comes to putting together a complete 25 man roster.  So even if GMDM continues to fail at free agency and whiff at roster construction, Sabean’s success proves Moore’s drafts, scouting and minor league system could be enough for the Royals to ride the lightening to a championship.

Brian Sabean gives me hope.