Notes: Brian Sabean behind Giants’ success

Brian Sabean’s team is back in the NLCS, against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Brian Sabean’s team is back in the NLCS, against the St. Louis Cardinals.

SAN FRANCISCO — As the longest-serving general manager in baseball, Brian Sabean has pretty much seen it all.

He went through the good and bad times of the Barry Bonds era, lost in seven games to the Anaheim Angels in the 2002 World Series, then won it all in 2010 when waiver pickup Cody Ross helped spark a five-game win over the Texas Rangers.

Two years later, his team is back in the NLCS, against the St. Louis Cardinals.


What’s the secret to the Giants’ success?

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“We have good people, good coaches, good manager, good scouts,” Sabean said. “We do things the way we do things. It might be different than other teams or other organizations, but we feel it works for us. We have people who are on the same page. I think the consistency we have is based on the fact that our players know what to expect.”

The Concord, N.H., native took over as GM in 1996. There have been bumps along his tenure, but it’s hard to argue with the success. Under Sabean, the Giants have earned six postseason berths. Two other times they were eliminated from postseason contention on the last day of the regular season.

The stability of his organization is apparent in the people who are around him.

Sabean has his guys: Dick Tidrow is the top adviser for pitching, lifelong friend Joe Lefevbre is an assistant hitting coach, and Fred Stanley handles player development. Lee Elder, Paul Turco, John Barr, and Bobby Evans are also in his inner circle in the front office.


“You don’t need that many,’’ he said. “What you need is people you trust and people who can identify talent.”

There is stability in the dugout, too.

Ron Wotus has been the bench coach for managers Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou, and Bruce Bochy since 1999. Dave Righetti has been the pitching coach since 2000.

Sabean has built the Giants his way. And it’s hard to argue with the method.

Big role for Beltran

Slugger Carlos Beltran has played a big role in the middle of the lineup this season for the defending World Series champion Cardinals after signing as a free agent ostensibly to replace the departed Albert Pujols.


The switch-hitter hit .269 this season with 32 homers and 97 RBIs. Beltran hit. 323 in 44 games for the Giants last season after being acquired from the Mets in a trade-deadline deal.

Beltran has 14 home runs in 30 postseason games. He went 2 for 3 with two doubles and a walk in Monday night’s 7-1 Cardinals loss. His postseason career average is .378, highest in baseball history.

“Well, you know what, right now I’m just really enjoying myself, honestly,’’ Beltran said. “And three opportunities that I’ve been in the playoffs, I always tell myself to go play the game, don’t try to do too much. And right now I’m seeing the ball well.”

The Giants have disputed Beltran’s claim that the team did not attempt to re-sign him. Sabean said the team had numerous conversations with Beltran’s agents, but decided his price tag was not in their budget.

Beltran said he’s happy he landed in St. Louis, a perennial contender.

“It’s hard for me to explain this production,” Beltran said. “I’m just enjoying myself. I don’t feel the pressure.’’

Handy with a bat

Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, who suffered just his third loss in 17 career postseason starts, had an RBI double, his third hit in two games these playoffs. Carpenter is the first pitcher to have two doubles in one postseason since the Dodgers' Orel Hershiser in 1988. He lasted just four innings Monday, his second-shortest postseason start . . . Bochy was not ready to commit to righthander Tim Lincecum as his Game 4 starter Thursday. Bochy said both Lincecum and lefthander Barry Zito would be available. “Tim told me last night that he’s good to go today if needed,’’ Bochy said . . . MLB officials are closely watching the weather for Wednesday’s 4:07 p.m. game in St. Louis. The forecast calls for thunderstorms.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at or twitter @nickcafardo.