The San Francisco Giants are one of the most historic teams in American sports. This team was once thought of a long-time loser, since they went over a half century without winning a World Series. But then the likes of Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum and Brandon Crawford came along and led this team to dynasty status -- winning the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
With that, the Giants are now viewed as the model organization of Major League Baseball. They're the first true dynasty of the new millennium-- not the always high-spending Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees. There's no reason to believe the Giants are done adding more championships with this current core, either.
Looking back at their history, the Giants had to wait a long time to win championships because of some questionable trades and free agent signings. On the flip side, they were put on the path to greatness with some great moves. Here's a look at the eight best and seven worst moves in Giants history.
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15 Best: Trading For J.T. Snow
J.T. Snow was a two-time Gold Glover with the Cincinnati Reds, but they opted to trade him to the San Francisco Giants in 1996. San Fran only had to give up pitchers Allen Watson and Fausto Macey in return. Watson would never even play a game with the Reds, but Snow became one of the top first basemen during the late '90s.
From 1997 to 2001, Snow's home run totals were 28, 15, 24 and 19. He batted above .280 twice and won four Gold Sloves as a member of the Giants. Snow helped them win the National League pennant as well.
Snow's power and defence was often overlooked, thanks to Barry Bonds. But Snow was important to the Giants' success and spent the prime years of his career there -- without having to give up much.
14 Worst: Signing Miguel Tejada
Miguel Tejada put up an impressive career, batting .285 with 2,407 hits, 307 home runs and 1,302 RBI. He was a six-time All-Star and won the 2002 American League MVP with the Oakland Athletics. The Giants took a chance on Tejada and signed him to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million in 2011. They were hoping that Tejada would be able to help the defending champions win another championship by providing another big bat to their lineup.
In 91 games with the Giants, Tejada had just four home runs and 26 RBI and batted a woeful .239 -- his worst average since 1998. Tejada also posted a terrible -0.2 WAR, putting a ton of eggs on the team's front office. The Giants released Tejada near the end of the season, ending a forgetful tenure in the Bay Area.
13 Best: Trading For Robb Nen
Robb Nen was one of baseball's best closers in the '90s, as his heat helped the Florida Marlins win the 1997 World Series. That year, he racked up 35 saves and had a respectable 3.89 ERA -- cementing himself as one of baseball's best relievers. But the Marlins chose to add more youth into their farm system and dealt Nen to the Giants in exchange for three players.
The best of those three was Joe Fontenot, who lost all seven decisions of his career with a 6.33 ERA. Meanwhile, Nen would rack up 40 saves in his first season with the Giants in 1998, followed by 37 the following season. Nen was an All-Star in 1998 and 1999 and continued his dominance in the next millennium. He had 41 saves in 2000, 45 in 2001 and 43 in 2002 -- helping the Giants win the National League pennant.
All of that and they barely had to give up anything.
12 Worst: Signing Aaron Rowand
Aaron Rowand was a solid piece of the Chicago White Sox team that won the 2005 World Series. He spent two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and was an All-Star in 2007, batting .309 with 27 home runs and 89 RBI. This set up a big pay day from the Giants, as Rowand got a five-year contract worth $60 million during the winter of 2007. San Francisco would end up regretting this contract.
Rowand struggled in 2008, striking out a career-worst 126 times and posting a WAR of 0.4. Rowand then saw his batting average dip by 10 points in 2009 (.261), with a 0.7 WAR. The Giants would win the World Series in 2010, but Rowand's .230 batting average and 0.4 WAR was plenty of evidence that he didn't play a big part in it.
He had another frustrating year in 2011 and was out of the majors after the season.
11 Best: Hunting For Hunter Pence
The guy who looks exactly like Marv from Home Alone was one of baseball's best hitters with the Houston Astros, but was traded to the NL-leading Philadelphia Phillies in 2011. A year later, the Phillies entered selling mode and traded Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Tommy Joseph, Seth Rosin and Nate Schierholtz.
Though Pence struggled during his short tenure with the Giants in the regular season, his 13 hits and four RBI were more than enough to help San Francisco win its second World Series in three seasons. Pence would be a key part of the Giants' World Series-winning team in 2014, batting .277 with 20 home runs and 74 RBI.
Pence batted .333 in the 2014 postseason with an incredible .875 OPS, helping the Giants become a dynasty with their third World Series championship in five years. The trade with the Phillies was so totally worth it.
10 Worst: Trading George Foster
The Giants drafted George Foster (#15) in 1968, but took a while to progress and the team would trade him to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Vern Geishert and Frank Duffy. Geishert never played a game for the Giants and Duffy left San Francisco after the 1971 season. As for Foster? Well...
He would go on to become a five-time All-Star and was a cornerstone of two Cincinnati World Series championship teams -- in 1975 and 1976. Foster won the 1977 National League MVP, led the league in home runs twice and the NL in RBI three times. Foster batted .274 with 348 career home runs and 1,239 RBI.
San Francisco had a future star in Foster but opted to trade him for very little in return. They would never forget this big mistake, as Foster changed the MLB landscape by helping Cincinnati win two World Series titles.
9 Best: Acquiring Jason Schmidt
Jason Schmidt was a decent starting pitcher on the Pittsburgh Pirates, but didn't show any flashes of becoming a true Cy Young candidate. In 2001, the Giants traded for Schmidt and John Vander Wal for Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong. Both of those players would go on to have solid careers, but Schmidt became one of the most dominant pitchers in the majors once he moved to the bay area.
Schmidt went 7-1 with a 3.39 ERA in his first season with the Giants. His incredible 2002 campaign (13-8, 3.45 ERA), helped the Giants reach the World Series, before losing to the Anaheim Angels. Schmidt had a Cy Young-caliber season in 2003, going 17-5 with a 2.34 ERA and 208 strikeouts. He would win a career-high 18 games in 2004. The Giants got one of the league's best pitchers at such a bargain of a price.
8 Worst: Trading Orlando Cepeda
Orlando Cepeda was one of the top hitters on the Giants during the late '50s and early '60s. Cepeda was recovering from an injury and by the time he returned for the 1966 season, San Francisco had their lineup set already. That lineup didn't include Cepeda, so they dealt him to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Ray Sadecki. Now, Sadecki was among the top pitchers during the '60s and '70s, but his four years with the Giants were mediocre at best.
Meanwhile, Cepeda became a franchise face of the Cardinals. He won the 1967 National League MVP after batting .325 with 25 home runs and a NL-leading 111 RBI. Cepeda was instrumental in helping the Cardinals win the World Series that year as well. When life gives you a superstar, you keep him. The Giants traded a proven star and it ended up costing them while strengthening an NL rival.
7 Best: Bringing In Jeff Kent
The Giants made a gutsy call in trading away Matt Williams to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Jeff Kent, Jose Vizcaino and Julian Tavarez. Williams was a four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover at the time of the trade, so many thought the Giants had been robbed in this deal.
Kent would join a lineup consisting of the great Barry Bonds and fellow slugger J.T. Snow, and he'd help the Giants forget about Matt Williams pretty quickly. In his first year with the Giants, Kent smashed 29 home runs, 121 RBI and posted a .788 OPS. He hit 31 home runs and 128 RBI the following season and became one of baseball's top sluggers in such a short amount of time. Kent also won the 2000 NL MVP after batting .334 with 33 home runs and 125 RBI.
Not a bad trade if you ask me.
6 Worst: Trading For A.J. Pierzynski
A.J. Pierzynski was a career .208 hitter and finished with 2,043 hits. He was a two-time All-Star and a big part of the Chicago White Sox' 2005 World Series-winning team. But Pierzynski's 2004 season with the San Francisco Giants was solid, but not great. The Giants traded away Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for Pierzynski's services.
Bonser never became much of a star, but Nathan has been among the league's top closers for many years. From 2004 to 2014, he racked up at least 30 saves every year except 2011, when he was held to 48 games. Nathan is a six-time All-Star who has a career 2.87 ERA with 976 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Liriano became one of the league's most underrated pitchers, using his great slider to reach the All-Star Game in 2006. He's had an up-and-down journey for the last decade, but has been what you ask for from a bottom-end starter.
5 Best: Hiring Bruce Bochy
Dusty Baker was a great manager for the San Francisco Giants in his 10 years there, but the team could never get over the hump and win a World Series. The Felipe Alou experiment had its ups-and-downs, but when the Giants hired Bruce Bochy in 2007, their fortunes changed forever.
This man just found a way to put all of the talent together -- including Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval. The Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014 because of Bochy's incredible work in the dugout. He's got that clubhouse swagger that feeds into the team, and he's always a step ahead of his competition in the postseason (maybe not Game 4 of the 2016 NLDS). Nonetheless, the Giants made a bold call to hire Bochy. But his hiring has changed the landscape of Major League Baseball.
4 Worst: Signing Barry Zito
Barry Zito's wicked curveball made him one of the most dominant pitchers with the Oakland Athletics from 2000 to 2006. He was a three-time All-Star and won the 2002 AL Cy Young after winning 23 games while posting a 2.75 ERA.
His 2006 season set up a big contract, as Zito went 16-10 with a 3.83 ERA and leading the Athletics to the American League Championship Series. Though his squad lost to the Detroit Tigers, Zito himself would become a winner in the offseason. The Giants signed him to a seven-year, $126 million contract in the winter. But they could only wish that they had a receipt attached. Besides a bounceback 2012 season that helped the Giants win the World Series, Zito was a disaster in San Francisco. During his time in the bay area, Zito's ERA was always above 4.00. He had a losing record in six of his seven seasons there, too.
But since the Giants won two World Series in the midst of his contract, they probably don't have much to regret.
3 Best: Signing Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds was among the league's top hitters in the early '90s with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but nobody thought the San Francisco Giants would make arguably the greatest signing in MLB history in 1993. But they did just that, signing Bonds to a six-year contract worth $43.75 million.
In his first season with the Giants, Bonds led them to a 103-59 record after going 72-90 the year before. He slowly emerged as the best slugger in baseball, winning seven National League MVPs and 12 Silver Slugger Awards. Bonds would also become the MLB's all-time home run king with 762 -- though his career is overshadowed by allegations of PED usage. Say what you want about Bonds, but he is among the greatest hitters of all-time. The Giants could have paid $1 billion for Bonds, and he would still be on this list.
He was worth every penny.
2 Worst: Trading Gaylord Perry
Gaylord Perry spent 10 seasons with the Giants and was among the league's most dominant pitchers. But at 32 years of age, Perry was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Frank Duffy and Sam McDowell before the 1972 campaign began. Duffy didn't even last a full year in San Francisco, while former All-Star McDowell was past his prime by then.
After being traded away from San Francisco, Perry won the Cy Young in 1972 and 1978 and pitched a pair of no-hitters. He got better with age, posting an ERA below five after leaving the bay area. The Hall of Famer finished his career with 314 wins, a 3.11 ERA and 3,534 strikeouts.
And the Giants would go on to regret trading the perennial star for such a little return.
1 Best: Trading For Christy Mathewson
Christy Mathewson is considered the greatest pitcher of all-time by a number of baseball historians. His career started with the Giants (when they were playing in New York), and had a brief stint in Cincinnati. However, in 1900, the Reds traded Mathewson back to the Giants in exchange for Amos Rusie.
Rusie's Hall of Fame career ended in 1901, while Mathewson was just getting started. He had the National League's top ERA in five different seasons and led the NL in wins during the 1905, 1907, 1908 and 1910 seasons. Mathewson led the league in strikeouts five times as well. The bulk of his 373 wins and 2,502 strikeouts came with the Giants, too.
He led the team to a World Series championship in 1905. Getting the greatest pitcher in MLB history (at least to some), forever changed the history of the Giants. It's easily the greatest move in franchise history.
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