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Friday, December 19, 2014

Giants hoping patience pays off

The offseason seems to really be heating up and despite all the action that's gone on over the last couple of weeks, one of the biggest markets in baseball and the reigning World Series champs have been one of the last to get going.

They did make their first notable moves of the offseason this week though, bringing back one of the most important components to their bullpen in Sergio Romo, and the guy they traded for last July, Jake Peavy. They re-signed Romo, to a 2 year/$15M deal. Romo is coming off a bit of a down year, as he started out strong in the closers role, but relinquished the gig part-way through the season to Santiago Casilla. Romo did start thriving again in the set-up role, and likely could have taken back over as closer had Casilla got into any kind of trouble, but it was never an issue. Romo will enter 2015 as the primary set-up man once again, but will be first in line should anything happen to Casilla. I like this deal a lot as Romo is still one of the best right-handed relievers in the game and the Giants were able to get him on just a two-year deal. With Casilla, Romo, Javy Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Jean Machi, Yusmiero Petit and a handful of other guys battling it out for that final spot (or two should Petit wind up in the rotation). Hunter Strickland probably has a leg up for it and would need to struggle pretty badly in spring to lose it. That means they'll be returning the exact same bullpen from last years championship squad.

They just now announced the Peavy signing while I was typing this up actually, so that changes my plans just a little bit. They're reportedly giving the 33 year-old right-hander a 2 year/$24M deal. Peavy was a guy who was clearly going to be atop the priority list with the way he pitched in the regular season after the trade. The former Cy Young winner had 12 starts with the Giants, going 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA over 78.2 IP. He posted a solid 58:17 strikeout to walk ratio while posting a 1.04 WHIP. Based off those numbers, the deal looks good, but the right-hander was surprisingly in-effective in the postseason for the Giants. He did have that one good start vs. the Nats in the NLDS but that was about it. He'll likely slot into the third or fourth spot in the Giants rotation come spring and it's not such a bad deal when you consider they didn't have to give up any trade chips and didn't end up giving James Shields or Ervin Santana some big 4/5 year deal. He's better than Santana, in my opinion, and is the same age as Shields with a similar track record. Peavy is a perfectly fine mid-rotation starter who clearly thrives in spacious NL West so this deal does make sense.

So, while Bobby Evans came out and said this move doesn't necessarily rule out the addition of another starter, the Giants full attention should now be shifted to the everyday lineup and the left side of the field. They still have all their potential trade chips available still, and without any starting caliber third basemen or left fielders left out on the open market, they may wind up making at least one trade in order to fill out their lineup. Obviously the apple of my eye was Atlanta's Justin Upton, although he's entering the last year of his deal and probably would want to explore free agency at the young age of 28 next winter. However, that possibility ended Friday after Upton was dealt to the Padres. He went on record of saying he didn't prefer hitting at AT&T Park, and maybe that's what made Sabean shy away, but he should soon find that AT&T is much more conducive to right-handers than Petco. By the way, I have a feeling the Padres are going to make some noise in 2015 after picking up a couple of all-star outfielders this week in Matt Kemp and now J-Up as well as up and coming star Wil Meyers.

But we return to the Giants, where only a few third basemen are apparently out on the block including Trevor Plouffe, Chris Johnson and Lonnie Chisenhall, none of which I'm sure get anybody too excited. Plouffe and Johnson each hit for power from the right side, while Chisenhall is more of a contact/average guy from the left side. Now, the one name who does intrigue me at the third base position if he is indeed available is Pedro Alvarez. The big left-handed slugger has legit 30-HR power, even though it comes with a .240 average, and I'd have no problem slotting him into the middle of the Giants order. Ben Zobrist from Tampa Bay has supposedly been on the Giants radar for a while now, and they could make Tampa an offer there. As far as the outfield market, I haven't head too many names being tossed around. One guy who I'm sure could be had and a player I've always liked to watch is Houston's Dexter Fowler. He's got some sneaky power, good speed and average and is a guy who can impact a game in multiple ways when he's on. He's a guy that wouldn't cost Kyle Crick, Joe Panik or Andrew Sussac either and could likely be had for a Clayton Blackburn/Gary Brown combo or something like that but that's just speculation on my part.

The Giants activity has certainly picked up in the last couple of days though, so an answer for left field and third base may come before Christmas, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Now that the trade market seems to make the most sense for them and their current needs, I expect them to continue their patient approach until something they can't pass up on presents itself. I do expect them to get a third basemen somewhere before spring training, but I'm not too sure about the left field spot. At this point, I can definitely see them at least entering the year with Blanco/Ishikawa sharing the duties and if they feel the need an offensive upgrade in season, that could be the area the do so at.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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