GBB Interview with "C70 At The Bat"
I was recently approached by a popular Cardinals site, www.cardinal70.com, aka "C70 At The Bat" and a group of us Giants Bloggers answered a few questions for the upcoming season. I thought I'd share that with you guys here and you can click on the link above to view the rest of the article and all the answers from different Giants Bloggers. This was done about a week ago but was edited and just added to their site today!
1) What was your opinion of the team’s offseason?
Trevor Cole: I was hoping they'd be more aggressive towards re-signing Carlos Beltran. After giving up their top prospect for him, they got just 6 weeks of actual playing time out of Beltran, as he missed some time immediately after the deal with a wrist problem. He did finish the year strongly though and I thought the deal he signed with St. Louis should have been matched by San Francisco but Sabean seemed to dismiss the idea of bringing he and Cody Ross back, all the way back in October, despite the fact that both stayed on the market for a long time and there's no reason those two shouldn't have been re-visited. However, I really did like the Melky Cabrera deal. I think this guy is the real deal as he's started his spring terrifically and hopefully can fill up some of the void that Beltran left behind. I wasn't quite as high on the Angel Pagan deal as the Cabrera deal, not because of I don't like Pagan, but I just was hoping the Giants would get a legitimate power hitter to play in the outfield like Carlos Quentin or Josh Willingham to play alongside Cabrera and Schierholtz. Pagan's track record is better than Torres' though, and he's by far superior offensively and a much better base-stealer. Defensively, Torres was very good, and only time will tell if Pagan can match that level. Those were their two big moves, but the two under-the-radar moves that could really pay off for this team was bringing in Ryan Theriot and Gregor Blanco on the cheap.
2) Is Buster Posey fully healthy and what are the expectations for him this year?
TC:Buster has pretty much come full circle since his injury last May, and is starting to catch more and more in Cactus League games. He'll be out there behind the plate on opening day, barring some kind of set-back over the next couple weeks, but theGiants will ease him back into action with him getting some time over at first base early in the year. So to answer the question in a word, yes, Buster is fully healed and ready, but is so important to this team that they'll take every single precaution as they ease him back into his full catching load. My expectations for him this season are high, as he's looked healthy and strong so far this Spring. As long as he can play 140+ games, and stay healthy, I see big things for Buster in what hopefully will be his first full season as a Major Leaguer. I'd expect something similar to his 2010 output with a little more production due to increase in at-bats. A .300 average, 20-25 homers and 85+ RBI should definitely be reachable for the talented backstop as long as he avoids any set-backs or other injuries in 2012.
3) What would be the most pleasant surprise for the coming year, if it happened?
TC:Well, I guess the most pleasant surprise, and the best thing for this team, would be if Brandon Belt hit his way into the starting lineup and became the team's starting left fielder. Aubrey Huff looks primed for a comeback season, which if happens, would limit Belt's time at first, so left field becomes his likely destination if the Giants want him in the lineup on a daily basis. As it stands now, it looks like Cabrera will be in left, Pagan in center and Nate Schierholtz in right, but I've always liked Nate as a 4th outfielder and a versatile guy who can do a bunch of stuff offensively and defensively. If Belt could earn a starting spot in left, it would shift Cabrera over to right, which may not be the best defensive outfield, but would certainly be the best offensive lineup the team could field. Another, more realistic surprise would be if the other Brandon, shortstop Brandon Crawford, actually becomes an asset or at least average rather than the black hole he was at the plate for much of 2011. He's got gold-glove caliber defense, so if his bat keeps him in the lineup, he should win that honor, that's the kind of game-changing defender this kid is. And he's done just that this spring, working hard on his hitting and it's paying off as he's sitting around .400 halfway through the Spring.
4) Is there a prospect that will make an impact on the team this season?
TC: There are two guys that I think have a chance to make this team at some point this season, depending on how they do in the minors and how the teams is performing at the big league level. The Giants top prospect, speedy outfielder Gary Brown, looks like he's getting very close to being ML ready, and he could become an option in the 2nd half of the season if the Giants need help in the outfield. Also reliever, Heath Hembree, who's the Giants best minor league reliever, should make his major league debut this year, whether it's in April or September, and could serve as an insurance policy in case Brian Wilson's arm troubles aren't yet behind him.
5) Where will the team finish in their division and what are you most excited about for 2012?
TC: I think they finish 2nd in the NL West, but luckily for the Giants, MLB is adding the extra wild-card team in each league, and it's hard to think that the Giants, if healthy, won't finish amongst the top-5 teams in the National League and earn a playoff spot. The thing I'd say I'm most excited about is seeing the return of Buster Posey, and finally getting to watch Buster and Pablo, the Giants' future core positional talent, play together regularly for the first time. Also, I look forward to the new element of speed this team added in Cabrera and Pagan. I think that plays well with the ballpark they play in and should help them manufacture more runs than the their 2011 putout, which ranked last in the National League and the 2nd worst, in terms of runs scored, in all of baseball behind only the Seattle Mariners.
Note: More bad news on the injury front for the Giants as Eric Surkamp had to be shut down and go see an arm specialist for a throbbing elbow. This is rough for the Giants as Surkamp was out-pitching Zito this spring by a good margin and would have likely made a tough decision for the Giants regarding that spot in the rotation. Zito's era after his last start ballooned up to nearly 7 on the Spring, he's given up 25 hits in 16 innings, 5 of which have left the park, and has walked just a few less than he's struck out. In other words, he's fooling absolutely nobody and again, looks poised for another 5+ era and horrid record should he get a sizable amount of starts. It's even sparked some "Go for Oswalt" chatter amongst Giants faithful across internet boards and bay area sports talk stations. I haven't talked about him much lately, but I mentioned Oswalt earlier before spring as a possible bargain if he doesn't find a home, and he's yet to find a home while the bottom half of the Giants rotation struggles with injury and in-effectiveness. Anyway, losing Surkamp pretty much assures Zito will be the guy to start the year and for a while after. Hopefully Vogey can come back strong quickly and ease the pain somewhat.
*Apologies for the weird font, don't know what happened with the pasting of the interview into the post, but it came out awful weird and won't allow me to post pictures. Anyway, back to normal posting tomorrow!