The House That Steroids Built is alive and well in 2022, although the on-the-field success is not matching the “miracles” of 2021 at this point. Less than a year after managing a bunch of fading veterans and unwanted castoffs to a franchise-record 107 victories, Gabe Kapler is struggling to keep this year’s team above .500, as the San Francisco Giants have a 45-42 record, out of first place by 12 games.

With the All-Star break just around the weekend’s corner, we decided it was a good time to take a peek at how the Giants are doing it this year, with even more castoffs and rejects on the roster than last year. As usual, there are a number of suspect performances and statistical anomalies, and with what we now know about Kapler’s playing and managerial careers, it’s easy to figure out the formula at this point.

Exhibit A: Joc Pederson

Playing in Wrigley Field at age 29 in 2021, Pederson put up a .718 OPS. Then, he was traded to the eventual World Series champions, the Atlanta Braves, who must know a thing or two about coaching, right? He managed just a .752 OPS there. The Braves didn’t see any reason to keep Pederson around after his postseason efforts (.205 average, 2 walks, 12 Ks, bad defense).

Guess who saw their type of guy? The Giants! Now, Pederson is suddenly, at age 30, posting an .856 OPS while surrounded by no one in the S.F. lineup (see below). The funny thing, again, is that Pederson made just $4.5M last year while posting a mediocre .732 OPS. So why would the S.F. organization give him a raise to $6M this year, unless they knew he was willing to get with the “program”?

The “coaching” hogwash is ridiculous, since Atlanta clearly didn’t want anything to do with him after winning the Series. So, what is Kapler’s secret recipe? We bet it involves flaxseed oil, or something like it.

Exhibit B: Luis González

No, this is not anyone you’ve heard of before; in fact, he had all of 9 MLB games under his belt with the Chicago White Sox in 2020 and 2021 before that franchise waived him last summer. The Giants picked him up and re-signed him. Why? He was an age-26 scuffler with a career minor-league OPS (.770) that impressed no one.

So, of course, after the White Sox and their Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa want nothing to do with him, he totally starts playing like he belongs, yet with the Giants. He has a .786 OPS right now, which is in decline, as he was hitting .347 at the start of June. Maybe the league is starting to figure him out, and he did have an injury (hmmm, always a sign of something amiss there, too). But it just makes little sense.

Exhibit C: Carlos Rodón

This is another guy the White Sox let walk after 2021. From ages 22-28 with Chicago, he put together a mediocre 4.14 ERA. Then, last year, facing free agency, he suddenly discovered how to pitch (2.37 ERA). So, why would the White Sox organization let him get away in free agency? Clearly, they knew he wasn’t legit, and at age 29, they also didn’t want a long-term commitment to a guy with only one good season.

In steps the S.F. organization with a 2-year, $44M contract—all for a guy with one decent season under his belt, for only 132-plus innings no less in 2021. What logic is there to that decision? There is none, literally, as Rodón also saw his Ks per 9 rate spike in 2021 way above his career mark. Why wouldn’t the Chicago organization keep him? Why did the Giants value him so much? Good questions.

Right now, he has a 2.70 ERA for S.F., and he’s leading the National League with a 0.4 HR/9 rate. Maybe he is peaking, but the fact his by-far best season came in his walk year from Chicago—and the fact the White Sox didn’t want to spend money on him—tell us something about why the Giants, with their habits and organizational philosophy, threw an obscene amount of money at Rodón.

Exhibit D: John Brebbia

Another no-name pitcher who was out of the majors entirely in 2020 at age 30 before making a “comeback” with the Giants. Now, he’s 32 years old and having the best season of his career (2.33 ERA). He currently leads the NL with 41 appearances, as well. Just remember, his ERA last year was 5.89 for S.F., and even though he’s low-salary, low-risk, that’s a lot of improvement in less than a year.

Especially when you consider he was out of the majors entirely in 2020. Brebbia posted a 3.14 ERA with the St. Louis Cardinals—they of the 15 postseason appearances in 22 seasons this century—from 2017-2019 over 161 games total, but that team didn’t want him back after 2020. Why? Damaged goods? Clearly, the St. Louis coaching staff knows what it is doing, to have that many Octobers on its record.

Exhibit E: Jarlín García

He pitched for the Miami Marlins from 2017-2019 under eventual 2020 Manager of the Year Don Mattingly. He wasn’t good; García put up a 4.29 ERA over 170 IP with expert tutelage. The Marlins organization, which made the playoffs in 2020 when the Giants did not, waived him after the 2019 season, because their expert staff didn’t see much in him.

So, here comes Kapler and the S.F. organization: They signed him, gave him a $395K raise, and García now has posted a 2.12 ERA over 119 IP for the Giants. Why would the Marlins, noted for their ability to develop pitchers, let this guy go? Furthermore, why would S.F. give him that kind of raise when his 4.29 ERA was mediocre, at best? Guess he is just the Giants’ kind of fella.

Conclusion: Barely afloat, because these guys’ baseline talent is shite

We will see how this pans out by October, but we have seen with this series, and the Fenway Frauds as well, is that you just can’t give a shitty player PEDs and turn him into an All Star. The team itself needs a high(er) baseline of talent to truly succeed, and this Giants roster doesn’t have that at all. With Buster Posey gone, there is not a single star hitter in the lineup, and PEDs will only do so much for the others.

Kapler is struggling to repeat 2021’s magic, because every year is a different year, unless your star talent is carrying the squad. The Giants are solid with a few good starters in the rotation and some PEDs floating around the clubhouse, but they cannot compete with the teams they face that have real talent: San Francisco is just 17-20 this year against teams with winning records, after all.

The Giants are also just 11-18 in one-run games for the 2022 campaign, after going a league-best 31-17 last year in such close contests. So, it’s been talent loss, PED depreciation, and less luck that have hurt S.F. in 2022. Yet the team still has a shot at October due to expanded playoffs and overall organizational mentality. What a terrible sport professional baseball in American has become …