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Showing posts from 2013

A glance at names for depth

Even though the Giants' heavy lifting of the offseason has been completed for the better part of a month, their 25-man roster is not concrete and there are still some spots where they could upgrade should they so choose. I've come across a group of names that would appear, at the least, suitable additions to this team, to provide some depth where they sorely lacked it last year. If these guys came on cheap, one-year deals like they're all expected to, I would love to see the Giants take a dice roll on one or two of them. Especially in the bullpen, where the Giants are set up well but could certainly upgrade. Plus, after witnessing what the Dodgers have done with their pen, Sabean may feel obligated to. RHP Francisco Rodriguez: We've talked K-Rod here a few times this winter, and he's still dangling out there in free agency waiting for the right fit. I think his fiery competitiveness would play well in the Giants' pen, and he'd give them a legit set-up ma

Giants' roster rounding into shape

The Giants have filled every major need they had coming into this offseason, and with over two months to go before pitchers and catchers start filing into Scottsdale, their 2014 roster is just about set. Their first priority was re-sign all of their own free agents who they wanted to retain, and they were able to get that out of the way early. They took care of the biggest piece in Hunter Pence before the season was up, which in turn helped them apply more focus on other areas when free agency began. This helped them get Tim Linecum done so soon and eventually Javier Lopez as well. Ryan Vogelsong was a wild card cause they wanted a potential upgrade there, but just couldn't find anything that excited them too much and now he's back on a reduced salary. Then they did something they haven't done in years, and that's add two free agents that will take on starting roles for them in 2014. Sabean has always tended to make his big acquisitions via trade, but without much amm

Bochy gets his guy, Giants sign Michael Morse

Ever since Melky Cabrera's suspension in early August of 2012, the Giants have been void of an everyday left fielder. It didn't hurt them down the stretch that year, as Hunter Pence's arrival helped ease the loss, but it became a gaping hole in 2013 when they ranked last in the NL in offense from the left field position. They weren't going to make the same mistake twice. After identifying a short list of potential targets heading into this weeks Winter Meetings, they moved on the guy they felt was the best fit under the circumstances and someone manager Bruce Bochy expressed a strong interest in . It was never going to be a big-ticket, enticing free agent but the ideal plan all along was to find a right-handed bat with the ability to put balls in the left-field bleachers with regularity. So long as Michael Morse 's wrists stay healthy and he avoids the nagging injuries that weighed him down in 2013, he should be counted on to do just that. He's coming off a

More LF talk at Winter Meetings

We're on day three of what has been a pretty quiet Winter Meetings in Orlando thus far, and with things set to wrap up on Thursday, the Giants are still trying to find a find an alternative option in left field. We've heard various names mentioned in regards to the Giants over the last week, from potential trade targets like Brett Gardner and Norichika Aoki to potential free agent options like Michael Morse and Corey Hart. Aoki was dealt to Kansas City on Monday though while Corey Hart followed Robinson Cano to Seattle as outfield options keep falling off the market each day. Perhaps the most intriguing name linked to the Giants over the last couple of days though has been Chicago White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza, who's become expendable in Chicago with the addition of Adam Eaton. San Francisco has reportedly called the White Sox about the speedy outfielder numerous times over the last few days and apparently have considerable interest. It makes sense. I've

Non-Tenders give Giants more options

MLB's non-tender deadline passed Monday, and 43 new free-agents hit the market. Although most of them would be considered afterthoughts for a team with the Giants' aspirations, there are a couple of guys that caught my eye as possible upgrades to the roster. Besides the inconsistent starting pitching, the Giants downfall in 2013 could be attributed to lack of depth on the roster, and that's something they have a chance at improving. Of the non-tendered free agents, there are about four or five guys that would appear to strike Brian Sabean's interest, mostly relief pitching options, but also one intriguing corner outfield option. San Francisco has plenty of internal options to fill out their bullpen, but Brian Sabean said in a conference call Tuesday that the team does have financial room to add some help should they find the right piece(s). A few of the non-tendered arms they should take a look at are John Axford, Ronald Belasario and Mitchell Boggs. With closing gi

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 performa

Assessing the Giants' remaining needs

With the signing of Tim Hudson and the re-upping of Javier Lopez, the Giants have tackled two very key obstacles of their offseason over the last week. However, even with the two signings, the Giants are still in the market for at least two more additions; a fifth starter and hopefully another outfielder. Although the Giants front-four of their rotation is set with the return of Tim Lincecum and arrival of Hudson, they still need to round it out with a fifth man. More than likely, they'll hammer something out with Ryan Vogelsong and bring him back on a deal that would guarantee him a much smaller base salary than the $6.5M he was set to receive, though packed with incentives that make that number reachable. I personally would like to see them aim higher though. I was partial to Josh Johnson, who identified the Giants as one of 3 or 4 teams he wanted to pitch for before signing with San Diego Wednesday. I'm well aware of the injury risk attached there, but he's just 29 and

Giants sign Tim Hudson to two-year deal

If you've been following the hot-stove rumors the last couple of days, your no stranger to the fact that the Giants were very interested in Tim Hudson, and interested in getting something done quickly with him. It looks like they succeeded in both facets. Reports have just started to break that the Giants and the 38 year-old right-hander have come to terms on a two-year deal worth $23 million, landing the Giants an arm they targeted early in the offseason. The move has not yet been made official at the time of writing this, and I'm sure Huddy will have to pass some sort of physical, but it's looking like 4/5 of the Giants rotation is now secure. Hudson is coming off an injury shortened year in which he started 21 games, went 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. That ERA was inflated by two bad starts in May, which if you take away has his ERA down around 3.15. Nonetheless, the main concern for him is how he'll rebound after he went down in July with the broken ankle.

Targeting an outfielder via trade?

We know the Giants' first and foremost priority this winter is to fill out their two remaining rotation spots with arms that will help significantly improve upon last season's starting five, which posted a combined ERA north of 4.50. They still, however, must improve their offense, which also ranked amongst the league's lowest in run production. Now, we've talked extensively about some starting pitchers the Giants should, are and may be pursuing in the coming days/weeks, but we haven't really discussed some of the offensive options yet. Jacoby Ellsbury would be exciting, Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson would bring tons of power, and Carlos Beltran would really be the ideal fit, but none of those guys are realistic for the Giants with their pitching needs. There are some second-tier right-handed bats that would pose serviceable fall-back options as platoon partners for Blanco if the Giants run out of money, but they really should be aiming higher. Since they a

Giants Should Target Haren, Johnson

Although there hasn't been any notable free agency signings to date, things are certain to pick up before Thanksgiving, and it may be in the Giants' best interest to strike early in their attempt to fill the void in their rotation. The reason I believe it would be wise for San Francisco to strike early, especially in the starting pitching market is because all it will take is one of the top 6-7 pitchers to sign to set the market, and the numbers I'm hearing for some guys are pretty steep. This thought was validated earlier Friday when reports broke that Ricky Nolasco has multiple 4-year offers on the table at the moment, said to be worth between $13-$15M per year annually (I really hope the Giants are not on that list). Although it could just be posturing by his agent, it's very likely this will be the case. I listed our top-10 free agent starters last post and thought a 3-year, $36 million deal would be about as far as I'd go with Nolasco, but if he ends up gett

A glance at the free-agent outfielders

On Monday, we listed the top starting pitchers that are on the open market this winter, which is going to be a key area seeing as the Giants have two rotation spots to fill. Although their need in the outfield isn't quite as drastic, it's an area that must be upgraded if they're serious about making another run in 2014. Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans are aware of this though. They themselves have stated they'd like to upgrade the outfield, at least in the form of a right-handed hitting left-fielder to at least platoon with Gregor Blanco. Ideally, they can bring in someone well-rounded enough to allow Blanco to be the fourth outfielder. Last season, rolling with Blanco and Torres in left field did not work out well at all and it really shouldn't have surprised anyone. The problem is, there just aren't a lot of outfield options that pose obvious upgrades outside of the top-five free agents. Of course, those guys likely are out of the Giants' price range. The

A glance at the starting pitching market

Monday marked the deadline in which teams could offer free agents a qualifying deal for 2014, and it's a day that very much will dictate the way the Giants go about this offseason. The Giants didn't have any significant free agents who they had to consider giving the offer to, seeing as they already got Lincecum and Pence done long before the deadline. They did, however, come to an official decision regarding Ryan Vogelsong's 2014 option of $6.5M. As expected, the Giants declined the option, though they've made it clear they'd like to bring Vogey back at a reduced price. With that news though, the Giants now officially have two open rotation spots, and if they're really planning on upgrading from 2013's sub-par performance, they're likely going to have to bring in some new blood. I wouldn't mind seeing Vogey back, but maybe as a long reliever/emergency starter, in much of the same role Chad Gaudin carried in 2013. The only way I take Vogey back

What Lincecum's Return Means For Offseason

Roughly a week ago news broke about Tim Lincecum declining a 2-year offer from the Giants while hinting that he'd like to test the market. However, within 72 hours of that news, the Giants and their former ace agreed to terms on a two-year deal that somewhat clouds the rest of the offseason. First off, if you look at the two years and $35 million the Giants are guaranteeing a guy who's gone 20-29 with a 4.76 ERA combined over the last two seasons, it may leave you scratching your head. Even in this inflated pitcher's market, that's about double what most other arms not named Tim Lincecum would have received this winter. At his best the last two seasons, Lincecum has looked nothing more than a quality number 3 starter, and for the most part, a number four or five. For the Giants to be giving a guy like that $17.5M each of the next two seasons is a bit concerning. I mean, that's nearly ace money, and Lincecum has not been an ace since early 2011. That said, the Gian

Lincecum to Test Free Agent Market

The Giants' best shot at retaining their two-time Cy Young award winner was to do so before players could officially file for free agency after the World Series. Now, if Timmy has any shot at returning to San Francisco, the Giants will likely have to pony up more than they originally had hoped. With the way things have been adding up between Lincecum and the Giants, ever since his horrible struggles started early in 2012, you kind of had to see this one coming. The Giants have tried multiple times over the last couple of years to negotiate a long-term deal with their former ace, but they could just never get on the same page. Lincecum turned down a 5-year deal worth upwards of $100M before the 2012 season, and after the way his career has down-sloped the last 2 seasons, I'm sure he's got to be kicking himself for not taking that deal. The latest, and perhaps the last effort at retaining Lincecum again did not come to fruition, as the Giants offered him a reported 2-year d

2013 Review: What Went Wrong/How to Fix It

I was going to dedicate a whole post to things that went wrong for the Giants in the 2013 season that saw them sink from World Champs to a 10-game below .500 finish, but we already have a firm grip on that. Instead, I thought I'd discuss some of the things that they could actually fix over the winter to get this team back to championship caliber. Instead of analyzing every little detail, I figured it be best to nut-shell the negative in this case, cause every Giants' fan has heard the complaints enough over the last few months. To start things off, the main reasons why this team failed so miserably this season is because they simply had no depth to speak of. They didn't come in with a very good plan in left field, and they ended up getting minimal production there, then when Angel Pagan went down, they just couldn't fill the void. That, coupled with other minor injuries throughout (Pablo Sandoval's issues, Vogey's 2-month absence, Casilla and Affeldt's mis

SF Giants 2013 Review: What Went Right

Any time a reigning World Champion fails to make the playoffs the following season, it has to be considered a large disappointment. However, there were some silver linings to be taken from the 2013 campaign for the Giants. Although there weren't a whole lot of things that went the Giants way in 2013, the biggest positive that can be taken out of this year was the play of team MVP Hunter Pence, and the reason why it's so big is because he'll actually be sticking around for a while Pence hit a career high 27 home runs, drove in 99, hit .283 and stole 22 bases, also a career high. He displayed a combo of power and speed the Giants haven't seen in their outfield since #25 left. Outside of Hunter Pence, I don't think there was a more steady, consistent Giant in that lineup than Belt throughout, especially over the 2nd half (after adjusting his mechanics a bit at the plate). Over the last two months of the season, Belt hit 7 home runs, drove in 27 and matched a .347

Giants Ink Pence, Other Decisions Loom

The 2013 season finally comes to an end Sunday and the Giants attempt to use the same recipe for success two years in a row didn't work out for them very well. They had some glaring holes that got exposed throughout the season and it's the reason why they'll be finishing at the bottom of the NL West just 1 year after winning the World Series in 2012. We'll be going back and looking at some ups and downs of the season soon, but I first wanted to look forward to 2014 a bit, as they just completed their first move in shaping next years roster. The Giants inked Hunter Pence to a 5 year, $90 million deal that will keep the energetic, vocal leader in the Bay Area through the 2018 season. It took me a second to process my thoughts on this deal, but at the end of the day (had to throw in the Brian Sabean slogan there), this does make a lot of sense. Just look at Pence's production this year, his first full season in San Francisco. With the season wrapping up Sunday, Pence