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Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 Projected Roster

We're getting ready to close the chapter on 2012 and with just 7 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Scottsdale, the Giants appear to have their 2013 roster nearly complete.  

The Giants have been relatively quiet in terms of free agency, but they did manage to take care of their priorities and get all the key components from the 2012 championship team back on the roster for 2013 and now appear content with what they have heading into the new year. They do however still have a few roster spots that are yet to be determined at this point, and I'd still like to see them aggressively trying to improve the team rather than sitting on their hands. One of the big spots that I'd like to see them address most is finding another right-handed bat in the outfield. They did bring back Andres Torres earlier this month to add depth to the outfield, but if they could manage to find a right-hander with some punch, that would really round out this roster in my opinion. The one name remaining that I've been monitoring since free agency started is Scott Hairston, and he's still sitting out there waiting to find a new home. I know the Giants are pretty much at their budget for 2013 already, which makes another significant singing unlikely, but I think a right-handed bopper like Hairston makes enough of an impact to warrant a slight budget increase.

Besides a potential 5th outfielder, the Giants still have a bullpen spot and another bench spot to fill to reach 25. They're still talking to Brian Wilson about a return, and could ideally use another arm with late-inning/closing experience, but if they don't add another player this off-season, this is what we're looking at as the potential 2013 opening day roster.

CF Angel Pagan
2B Marco Scutaro
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
SS Brandon Crawford
LF Gregor Blanco

RHP Matt Cain
LHP Madison Bumgarner
RHP Tim Lincecum
RHP Ryan Vogelsong
LHP Barry Zito

Bench: IF Joaquin Arias, IF Brett Pill, OF Andres Torres, OF Francisco Peguero, C Hector Sanchez

Bullpen: RHP Sergio Romo, LHP Jeremy Affeldt, LHP Javier Lopez, RHP Santiago Casilla, LHP Jose Mijares, RHP George Kontos, RHP Jean Machi

After looking at the roster layout and the remaining free agents, there are a few guys that could fit well with the Giants besides Scott Hairston. There aren't many, but Alex Gonzalez and Orland Hudson (if healthy), Jeff Baker or even re-signing Ryan Theriot could help deepen the infield. As for relievers, I was actually impressed with Jean Machi last season, but it's the one spot where a ton of options remain should the Giants want another proven veteran. Brett Myers could be a bargain on a one-year deal with his flexibility and closing experience. Jason Frasor, Matt Capps, Matt Lindstrom, Jon Rauch or even Jose Valverde on a low-risk, high-reward type of deal.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Andres Torres Returns

After doing most of their heavy lifting this offseason by re-signing Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, the Giants made the first move towards filling out their roster by bringing Andres Torres back on a one-year deal.

This is a solid move to add some depth to the bench and get more speed onto the roster, and it's one I saw coming from a mile away. Torres was non-tendered by New York last month and became a free agent at a time when the Giants had only Hunter Pence and Gregor Blanco assured to return, so I'm sure the discussions with Torres have been ongoing for a while now. He really hasn't done much since his breakout year in 2010 when he was a catalyst during the Giants' first World Series run, but he also hasn't been fully healthy for much of the past two seasons. I was hoping the Giants would find that right-handed, power hitting corner outfielder they were looking for, but apparently in this market, even guys like Scott Hairston are out of their price range. That being said, Torres is not a bad fallback option at all and should be more than capable as the fourth outfielder and may even give Blanco a run for playing time in left field if he gets hot. The Giants like Torres' switch hitting abilities, his solid defense and his speed on the base paths, so if they aren't able to add another outfielder for depth between now and February, they have to feel pretty good with their depth chart heading into 2013.

After the signing of Torres, it does fill out another spot on the prospective 25-man roster the Giants will head into next season with, but there are still three or four spots that are are up in the air. They have an opening in the bullpen with Guillermo Mota's departure, and also have to be looking into backup infielders to help out Joaquin Arias. Heck, they could even take on another outfielder if they found the right fit. If the season started tomorrow, the only guys assured a bench spot would be Hector Sanchez, Arias and Torres. Assuming they carry a 12-man pitching staff to start the season, that leaves two openings on the bench. Those two spots could come down to in-house candidates like Roger Kieschnick, Francisco Peguero and Brett Pill, or if they want to dip into free agency to find some veteran help, that could still be an option. You also have to figure that Buster Posey will continue to see more and more time at first base as the Giants try to keep him fresh and in the lineup, which means Brandon Belt could be seeing more outfield time in 2013. You can definitely start to see things fall into place for the Giants, who didn't want to shake things up too much from their 2012 squad and have succeeded in doing so. Again, I'd still really like to see another right-handed bopper added to the outfield, another power armed righty to the bullpen and a utility infielder. I'm not sure that they'll be able to accomplish all those tasks, but I don't think Brian Sabean is quite done yet.

As far as the Brian Wilson saga, there really isn't much new on that front, although the deeper Wilson goes into the offseason without finding a new home, makes me believe he will indeed be back with the Giants in 2013. He wants to close, but no team will sign him to be their main closer for next season, it's just not logical. His best bet is to take a one-year deal with a team like the Giants who know what he can do and would have no problem inserting him back into that role if he proves he's ready. If you thought last years bullpen was tough, just imagine all those guys, plus a healthy Wilson pitching in! It makes too much sense for both parties for him to return.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Giants Set After Re-Signing Pagan, Scutaro

After wondering for weeks whether the team would be able to bring back either Marco Scutaro or Angel Pagan, Giants fans have to be pleased that both will be returning to San Francisco for 2013.

On back-to-back days, the Giants were able to re-sign their leadoff man and center fielder, then their number 2 guy and second basemen, pretty much wrapping up Brian Sabean's work in free agency. I have to say, I do like both deals, even though both were a year longer than I was hoping for. Pagan did get his four year deal that he was seeking, but the Giants were able to get him for roughly $10M per season, which doesn't look bad at all considering what Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino and B.J. Upton just got. Heading into this offseason, I thought the best deal for the Giants in terms of Pagan would have been a 3 year, $30 million deal with an option for a fourth. Based on that, I have to say this deal looks like a win for the Giants seeing that they only had to go an extra year. Plus, the options after Pagan in terms of leadoff hitting center fielders weren't that intriguing. The other top center fielder/leadoff man on the market, Michael Bourn, is said to be seeking a $100M deal, and if he even gets close to that number, that makes this deal look even better. Pagan has already shown that he is an ideal fit at AT&T Park, both offensively and defensively, so the Giants know what they'll be getting as opposed to signing a free agent from outside the club and hoping he'd fit in well here.

The same can be said for Marco Scutaro. The deal I was hoping for with Scutaro was a 2 year/$16M deal, which I would have been just fine with, so again, the fact that they did go one more year, but only had to go 3Yr./$20M looks pretty good. I mean, after hitting .362 in the second half and carrying that steadiness over into the postseason, Scutaro had no shortage of suitors, including the Yankees, so this is really another win-win for Sabean and his staff. Scutaro has proven his value to the Giants already, and the second base options after him were pretty scarce as well. Had they not been able to bring back the veteran, they'd have been looking at options like Kelly Johnson. Now they don't have to roll the dice on another free agent, as the signings of Scutaro and Pagan mean that every player from the 2012 World Champ's lineup will be returning in 2013, and Brian Sabean's work in free agency could be finished. I was hoping they'd take a look at some left field options to possibly improve offensively over Blanco, but even with all those deals that came off the books this winter, the Giants are nearing that $130 million payroll mark. According to Andrew Baggarly, the Giants were nearing a 2-year deal with Ryan Ludwick before inking Scutaro, now they don't have the money for him. Scott Hairston could be a realistic option though and is one of the more efficient right-handed power bats in the game.

So, barring some outfield bargain the Giants find later on this winter, it leaves only another bullpen arm on the Giants wish list, and Bruce Bochy is really hoping it's Brian Wilson. The Giants manager has reached out to the scorned closer, who was publicly displeased with the Giants after they failed to tender him at the end of November. When it comes down to it, Wilson may find San Fran as his best option after all. I highly doubt many other clubs will be offering him big money, he's not getting more than a 1 year deal anywhere, and at least he'd have a shot at regaining his role with the Giants. Sergio Romo did a great job as closer down the stretch last season, but Sabean and Bochy have both eluded to the fact that they have their concerns about him being able to hold up as closer over the course of a whole season. The one area where free agency is never thin is with relief pitching, so whether it's Willy, or another possible late inning option, I do expect Sabean to find another arm.
The Giants Baseball Blog