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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Giants need clear plan of attack for offseason

The dust on the miserable 64-98 season for the San Francisco Giants is starting to settle and as soon as the Houston Astros hopefully take care of the Dodgers in this Fall Classic, the work on righting this ship can officially begin.

Now, of course, the big question is where exactly do they start at? A team that was just 2 losses south of a 100-loss campaign typically will have numerous holes that need attention and this Giants team is in a very similar situation. The one difference is, they are just a year removed from a playoff appearance and still have the makings of a pretty strong starting rotation (although things could get tricky if Cueto opts out of his contract). The Giants top right-handed starter had hinted early in the season that he would be exercising his opt-out clause after the season, but a down year by his standards, and an injury-plauged campaign to boot had him changing his tune toward the end of the year. Now it appears as if he has intentions on sticking around and non opting out, although until he makes that official, anything can really happen. On the Giants end of things, I don't think they'd be heart broken if he did opt-out but I do believe they'd want him to stay in order to alleviate what would be another glaring hole if he did leave, and that's another top-end starter to team with Bumgarner. Samardzija was arguably the teams most consistent starter from April through September, but his ideal spot is right in that number three or four.

So, assuming Cueto does stick around, that would leave the Giants with 4/5 of their rotation all set. Matt Moore would line up as the fourth man, but he's going to have to do some work this winter to get back to his 2016 self as he just didn't have it in '17 (6-15, 5.42 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and a .282 BAA). All his numbers were career worsts for any season he pitched over 100 innings in, but he did finish the year with 5 out of 8 quality starts and certainly has the stuff to rebound like the Giants are hoping in 2018. With Madison Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija and Moore all penciled into the rotation, that leaves a spot open for Chris Stratton, who threw well during his run in September or open it up for competition within the organization. This is also an area where they could decide to go outside the organization for help. The Giants rotation, which had been a staple for this team since Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain came into their own before the World Series wins, was a major weakness in 2017. Granted, they were without their ace for half the year and received down years from Cueto and Moore, this is area I sure hope they don't overlook this winter.

There's set to be a ton of middle-end of the rotation starting pitchers on the free agent market this winter from the likes of Ian Kennedy to the guy I'd really like the Giants to pursue in left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Then there are injury reclamation projects in the form of Tyson Ross and Chris Tillman that could pay off big if they are healthy. So, the Giants will have plenty of options to fill in that remaining rotation spot without having to get into the Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn etc... sweepstakes. Now, not saying that Jake Arrieta wouldn't be a perfect fit in this clubhouse and make this rotation the best in baseball, I just don't think the Giants are going to be willing to give another 30+ year old pitcher a triple digit (100M+) contact especially considering their ample positional needs.

I'm gonna start diving into that very subject next post, as the World Series closes out and free agency/trade season can officially commence, because the Giants could have a very different looking starting 8 come April next year. I'm talking about at least 2/3 of a new starting outfield (depending on what they decide to do with Hunter Pence and Denard Span, as well as a new third basemen. The third basemen part is a no-brainer, as their savior-to-be, Christian Arroyo, showed he's still got quite a ways to go before being handed any starting position, let alone an offensive juggernaut like third base. That's an area the Giants could inquire about via trade, as the only two significant upgrades on the market are Mike Moustakas (who's set up to get a huge deal after his career year in 2017) and Todd Frazier, who'd bring the power the Giants so desperately need, but also comes with a .220 batting average.

The options and decisions that Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean will be facing this winter will be quite the task. I just don't see them entering full-blown rebuild mode with a lot of the core from their last two World Series tittles still around and in their prime, but they do have an awful lot to do without the most payroll flexibility. Ideally, they'd need at least two impact bats to insert into the lineup, and they need to revamp that bullpen big time, something they failed to do last winter and that's really what started the downfall of 2017. Just look back at the very first series of the season in Arizona, where the Giants just couldn't hold a lead.

Since we're still a few weeks away from players being able to find new homes, everything right now is just speculation and brainstorming, and we'll continue to do so in our next post as we start to take a look at who the Giants could be bringing in to help out what was one of the worst offenses in all of baseball this summer. Giancarlo Stanton's name has been mentioned, and what a land he would be, but I haven't heard a whole lot of other names possibly linked to the Giants and I'll spend the next few days digging that up for our next post.

Personal Note: This is not Giants related,  but I just wanted to thank you guys for sticking around these last few months. The team was not very entertaining to watch or talk about and I'm sure that's why you guys thought the posting at this site took a back seat. However, my computers decided to all crap out on me at the same time as my PC started working when it wanted too then I spilled water on my laptop rendering that useless. More importantly though, I endured the toughest loss in my life to date, losing a close family member at the end of the season, something that's kept me away from posting until now. I don't want to make it too mushy but I want to dedicate this post, and every post on this site from here on out to my late father, David Cole. He was as loyal a Giants fan as anyone I knew, still getting excited for September games when they were well out of it and approaching 100-losses but he always saw the positive in things. The last thing he told me about baseball was how well he thought Samardzija threw in a game I believe that was against the D-Backs. The game had no meaning at the end of the year but he just enjoyed good baseball. He introduced me to the great game of baseball and took me to my first ever game at Candlestick Park as a rugrat back in the early 90's. He's the reason I became such an avid San Francisco Giants fan as a young kid and of course shaped who I am today. Dad, you'll be sorely missed but never forgotten. I love you for life and you'll be on my mind everyday for the rest of mine!*
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Jason BIllingsley said…

    What about trading their top prospects for Stanton and Martin Prado. Covers left field and third base and gives them the best power hitter in the league who hits right handed and won't be affected by the big right field. The Giants have to make a big splash this year to keep our interest. Not just a little Mark Melancon signing like last year. Spend some friggen money you guys, get some players in here who are going to make a difference. I know the WS wins bought them some time but I don't want another rebuild so soon. I mean, Posey, Belt, Craw, Bum, Moore, Panik aren't even 30 yet, they could keep getting better. We need talent around them though, please bring back sabean to make the decisions and make a couple big moves like I said and I think we'll be ok. Bring us Stanton and a good arm like Darvish and we can challenge the Dodgers. If they just do there little signings then there just gonna be a .500 team or worse like this year. All the fans can see it but why can't the guys in the front office????

    Sorry for the rant but I just had to blow some steam off from this shitty year. Glad to have you back Trevor and sorry about your loss man. Makes you realize how insignificant this stupid baseball stuff is in the grand schme of things and how short life is.

    Thanks for coming back though man, your my favorite Giants blogger and I just wish the front office would listen to some of your ideas. And as always- GO GIANTS!

  • At 12:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey man, love your blog, glad your back and that personal note at the end of the post brought a tear to my eye. I'm so sorry for your loss man, but it sounds like you had an awesome dad and hopefully he lived a nice long and fulfilling life. My prayers go out to you and yours my friend!

    As for the Giants, I really want em to put all their chips in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes. I'd start with a package of Brandon Belt, Andrew Slater, Chris Stratton and maybe one more top prospect. I'm just sick of Belt not living up to his potential and striking out every single game in clutch situations. BUt I don't want to lose Pence. I think if he can just get healthy and stay healthy he's still an offensive threat and not to mention he's a leader on and off the field. I'd keep him in RF, but try and get Stanton to play left. I just don't want them to tear everything down. I know it was bad this year but they were without their ace closer, their ace starter, and they got some down years and some injury years out of their key players. I would bet against all those thigns happenning again next year. I mean, they lost there top releif pitcher before the season even started which I think was a bad omen.

    They just gotta get healthy, add a few pieces and I think they should be right back in the thick of things. I also can't see them rebuilding really just because they don't have any big talent in the farm that's banging on the major league door. They gave a lot of guys chances in August and September and I cant think of a single one who really stood out, aside from maybe Chris Stratton.

  • At 12:40 AM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Thank everybody for the support, it means a ton and I truly appreciate you "day ones" like Jayson Billingsly, BeatLA and some others who've been posting here for years. The blog content hasn't been as in-depth or consistent in recent years, mostly due to more responsibility on my end moving on from college and my early 20's and now living a regular adult life while still trying to stay relevant in the Giants blog universe. I however will be making it a New Years resolution to kick this thing back up into high gear again like the old days before they started winning championships. It's tough to complain or write a whole lot of unique insight when the team was winning tittles every other year but now they're back at the bottom and that's when there seems to be most to talk about.

    So, I'm sorry for rambling on, but to cut the longer story a little shorter, be ready for just an all around improvement on the blog in the coming months as I'm going to redidicate myself to this thing for a number of reasons. I will be doing a post on this very topic, hopefully before offseason stuff starts to happen as I really would like to update the theme of the website and will be seeking some outside help for maybe a new banner and some logos, so if anyone out there reading this has those skills and wants to be part of the team, please don't hesitate to contact me. Again, more on this in the coming weeks, but I still feel like when I'm really in-tuned with whats going on, I bring a unique and strong view on the San Francisco Giants, they've been a staple in my life and I've studied in school to be a sports writer and this is what I'd like to do so I'm going to go full-throttle, even with a full-time job on the side which keeps me from really ever seeing any games live besides on the weekend, but I'll be watching the replays more consistently then ever in 2018. Now hopefully they have some cool new talent to talk about and keep things interesting but even if they don't make a single move this winter, this is still my team and I will try return to being a top-3 Giants baseball fan-site up there with the McCovey Chronicles and One Flap Down, which I believe are the two most independent visited Giants websites on the net. We've been in the top-5 before and I intend to get right back there in 2018.

    Sorry for the long rant, you'll be seeing it in an upcoming post again, but I just wanted to get some of that off my chest and again, appreciate all you for the support!

    Hummmm Baby, Go Giants!!!!!!


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