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Sunday, December 01, 2013

Vogey's return leaves LF as priority

With Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants agreeing on a one-year deal Friday, you can pretty much put a wrap on San Francisco's pursuit of pitching. They could still look to add a reliever, but their primary focus should now be on upgrading left field.

First off, my thoughts on Vogelsong's return are pretty positive for the most part. I would have liked to see Josh Johnson or Dan Haren on short-term deals, but after those guys signed with San Diego and LA, I figured Vogey's return was inevitable. My guess is he will rebound from his injury-shortened 2013 season but I doubt he'll ever be the guy we saw in '11 and '12 again. After posting ERA's of 2.71 and 3.37 the previous two seasons, Vogelsong's ERA ballooned to 5.79 to go with a sub-par WHIP and K/9 inning rate. It would be easy to blame it on injury, but the truth is, he was actually a little better after returning from the broken finger than he was before it, so injury had nothing to do with his performance. Still, I'm expecting his ERA to drop back down at least a point and a half from 2013 and he should be sporting a WHIP closer to 1.2 than 1.5. His declining strikeout rate coupled with advanced age and him coming off a bad season makes him a risk, but it's one the Giants are confident in taking. In the end, they ended up saving themselves about a million by declining his option, and even if he's not the same guy he was when he got that contract, as long as he improves on 2013's disaster, he should be a steal at $5 million for 2014.

Now, with Vogelsong in tow, the Giants pitching staff, starting rotation through bullpen looks complete. They've got their starting five, then Romo, Casilla, Lopez, Affeldt, Machi, Petit and Hembree are looking like the 7 to beat for bullpen spots. They could look to add another veteran right-hander into that mix to battle it out with Machi, Kontos and Hembree for a spot, but their primary focus at this point should be to deepen the positional portion of the roster. Their primary area of need is obviously the outfield, where they only have 3 players under contract and could certainly use a starting-caliber corner guy. That's likely out of the question, but even if it's a marginal upgrade in the form of a right-handed platoon partner for Gregor Blanco, the Giants need some depth out there. We saw what happened last year when Angel Pagan went down and it wasn't pretty. Plus, with the Giants saving themselves some money by only spending $5M on a fifth starter, it should free up some extra cash for them to address the need. I know the list of outfielders on the free agent market isn't overly exciting, outside of a few guys out of the Giants' price range, but there are still some players out there that could be worth a gamble. They cannot expect the keep the status quo with their positional players and expect a big improvement on last season, aside from hopefully full seasons out of Pagan and Sctuaro.

With the Winter Meetings coming up next week, it's a good thing the Giants got their rotation taken care of and can focus on other areas in Orlando. There's still a bulk of the offseason ahead of them and they have plenty of time to assess the market for outfield help, both in free agency and trade.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 6:20 PM, Anonymous EZEddie said…

    My prediction for Vogelsong for 2014.
    13 wins, 3.75 ERA and a helluva a signing by sabean when alls said and done.

    If we could use the extra moneys to get Granderson or Cruz, that would be sweet. Love Blanco, but would like him to be that fourth outfielder/pinch runner/defensive replacement. He's a great defender but can't hit.

  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger nomisnala said…

    We need one more solid lefty reliever, and we could use Ryan Braun in left field. This left field weak spot could cost us the playoffs.


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