Home  |  Contact Us  |  @GiantsBlogger Twitter  |  Giants Blog Instagram  |  GBB Facebook 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Giants' Fanfest kicks off 2016

The annual KNBR San Francisco Giants Fanfest transpired this Saturday at AT&T Park, which sort of marks the unofficial transfer of focus from the 49ers to the Giants in the bay area sports hierarchy. As for the for the orange and black could not be higher.
FanFest 2016

After what many considered one of the best offseasons in baseball this winter, bringing in Johnny Cueto Jeff Samardzija and Denard Span, while losing nobody of any real significance besides Mike Leake. They did lose some favorites like Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum as well as lost Jeremy Affeldt to retirement, but those losses hardly shook up the roster and the Giants feel like they have adequate replacements in tow. We'll certainly see, anyway, as pitchers and catchers set to report to camp in Scottsdale on Tuesday with the rest of the squad arriving Wednesday. There's a lot of anticipation to see how guys like Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija are going to mesh in with the core group but I expect to see all these guys all click immediately and push each other to be better. That's one thing the Giants do so well and better than most other teams in the league is really play for each other and push to get the best out of each other.

The difference now? They have as much or more talent as they've had in their last 6-year run, so you put that combo together and you have a recipe for potential greatness. And that was pretty much the theme of the 2016 Giants' 'Fest, essentially a "Get ready for '16 cause it's going to be a good one", with a real feel-good atmosphere. The excitement has certainly struck the city as well up to 35,000 fans showed up. Unfortunately Samardzija and Cueto couldn't make it but I don't care if they're in the Bahamas chilling on the beach so long as they're ready to turn in 7-8 strong innings their first time out.

The only actual baseball news to surface from the even was something that surprised absolutely nobody, and that is that Madison Bumgarner will get the ball for April 4th's opener in Milwaukee vs. the Brewers. A few other random funny pieces of info, via the Mercury News, are that new presumed leadoff hitter and center fielder Denard Span has a slight fear of birds. As long as that fear doesn't cause him to pull a hammy or strain his back and miss 75 games this season, then it shouldn't be an issue... Also, it was really fun to take a look back to a year ago when we were all a little concerned about the future of third base after Pablo Sandoval left the Giants high and dry for Boston. My oh my how times change as not only is Matt Duffy better and more valuable now, but he's younger and barring any major injury or major resurgence on Pablo's behalf, is in set up nicely to have a better career than Pablo. Not to toss any hate on Panda at all, but remember, he started it when he said he could care less about San Francisco after he left and wouldn't miss it at all. I'll always have a special spot for Panda, he helped the Giants win their three tittles, but he's hardly the impact player he thinks he is and his departing comments will never be forgotten to me.

Pagan key to '16 success
So yes, the Giants did have a successful offseason, but it didn't come cheaply, costing them $336M in contracts among the three new deals (although Cueto's does offer an opt-out which could drop that total significantly). You have to spend money to get quality and the Giants felt able to do so after Lincecum, Vogey and Affeldt's deals came off the books but the Giants' payroll still went up significantly with the signings. With all the new adds, Bochy hasn't committed to a lineup or rotation yet but I think many of us can kinda of at least form an idea of how Bochy might go. The big change will likely be Span taking over leadoff and Pagan moving down to the bottom of the order. Pagan is a very interesting player for the Giants heading into 2016. We've seen Angel play at near all-star levels (that stretch after Melky was suspended in 2012 was impressive, but his consistency has faded since. I mean, if Angel's gonna hit .262 and rock an OPS of .635 than the Giants have to not only keep him buried inthe lineup, but they may need to find a replacement for him before his time is up here. He's in the final year of his deal and the Giants aren't going to have a short leash with him but now that they have a legit leadoff man on the roster he becomes mighty expendable. And for a team with World Series aspirations, the Giants are going through a few changes which they don't have answered quite yet and I'm eagerly looking forward to see how these next 2 months transpire up to opening day.

UP NEXT: Finally, we'll have some actual baseball action to talk about next time around rather than continuing to hype up the big offseason. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's been a great winter that's been fun very interesting to talk about, but it's going to be nice to have some actual baseball to talk about. Pitchers and catchers report on the 17th and I very much look forward to seeing Cueto and Samardzija. I mean, this rotation hinges very much on these two additions being impact arms and we finally get to see them throw a baseball!
The Giants Baseball Blog