21st Annual KNBR Giants FanFest

Posted on January 30th, 2014 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
fan_fest200hDo you have any plans Saturday February 1st? If not, come to AT&T Park and hang out with your favorite San Francisco Giants player! The 21st Annual KNBR Giants FanFest is this Saturday from 10:00AM – 3:00PM. This is a nice chance to see your favorite player up close and get some autographs. Sounds expensive right? Well it’s not; this is a free admission event. Below is the list of players and coaches that will be attending FanFest.
 
Jeremy Affeldt
Brandon Belt
Gregor Blanco
Bruce Bochy
Madison Bumgarner
Matt Cain
Brandon Crawford
Jake Dunning
Tim Flannery
Mark Gardner
Heath Hembree
Tim Hudson
David Huff
Roberto Kelly
Michael Kickham
Roger Kieschnick
George Kontos
Joe Lefebvre
Tim Lincecum
Javier Lopez
Hensley Meulens
Michael Morse
Nick Noonan
Hunter Pence
Buster Posey
Dave Righetti
Sergio Romo
Ryan Vogelsong
Ron Wotus
 
If Pablo SandovalMarco Scutaro or Angel Pagan are your favorite players, I’m sorry to tell you that they’ll not be attending this event. I’m sure you’ll still have fun seeing all your other favorite Giants players!
 
~Steven Robles
 
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SF Giants Rumors: Tim Flannery, Pablo Sandoval, David Huff and Aubrey Huff

Posted on January 29th, 2014 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
Flannery,TimIf you’re wondering who on the San Francisco Giants coaching staff has a good chance at being a future manager someday, wonder no more… Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe asked a few GM’s, players, writers, scouts, other coaches, and Giants third base coach Tim Flannery was one of the bench coaches that were often mentioned, because people love Flannery’s style and approach to players.
 
If you weren’t already a big Flannery fan, I’m sure you will be after this… Flannery has donated $96,000 to help with care for injured Giants fan Bryan Stow. Stow was severely beaten outside of Dodgers Stadium on Opening Day 2011.
 
Cafardo also mentioned that the Giants have been through a lot with Pablo Sandoval concerning his weight. He then goes on to say that this could be Sandoval’s last season in a Giants uniform, even if he has a good season. Sandoval will be a free agent after the season if he and the Giants don’t agree to a contract extension.
 
The Giants announced on Friday (1/24/14) that they acquired left-hander David Huff from the New York Yankees in exchange for cash considerations. The Giants now have 40 players on their 40-man roster.
 
Since we’re talking about Huff, I might as well talk about one that you’re more familiar with… Over the offseason Aubrey Huff officially retired, and announced that he’s making a transition into broadcasting college baseball games for the Pac-12 Networks. Huff put in 13 seasons in the MLB and won two World Series championships (both with the Giants in 2010 & 2012).
 
Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!
 
~Steven Robles
 
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Should the Giants Trade or Extend Brandon Belt?

Posted on January 27th, 2014 by Paul in SF Giants Rumors

 

Photo Credit: Marko Realmonte

Photo Credit: Marko Realmonte

In 2013, Brandon Belt was 14th in the National League in OPS. That’s higher than Carlos Beltran. Higher than Jay Bruce. Higher than Justin Upton, Yadier Molina, and Adrian Gonzalez. If you must know, it was also higher than Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, and Pablo Sandoval.

Belt is a Super-Two, Arbitration-eligible player. In layman’s terms, this means he’s played for two years and ranked in the top 22% of all two-year players when it comes to service time. It also means the San Francisco Giants control him for the next 4 years, but at arbitration prices. In three seasons (2 full), Belt has hit .273/.351/.447. More importantly, last season he hit .289/.360/.481 with 17 home runs and 39 doubles in a pitcher’s park, a particularly challenging one for left-handed hitters. It stands to reason that Belt could have easily hit 20-plus long balls had he not spent all his home games hitting in the vast confines of AT&T Park.

A closer look at Belt’s season shows he hit .325 after the All-Star break. His fly-ball rate dropped from 43.9% to 38.2%, and this coincided with a stellar line-drive rate of 27.7% in the second half, which would have led the National League if he had maintained it the entire season. Although he only hit .261 against lefties, something he surely aims to improve upon this year, Belt’s success in 2013 is a stark contrast to the slumped shouldered youngster who seemed to lack confidence at the plate the previous year, his first full season in the Majors.

Many believe Belt’s “break-out” season is merely a foreshadowing of what is to come. Coupled with the aforementioned numbers, such believers point to a change in grip and newfound confidence as reasons to expect Belt can maintain, or perhaps (likely?) improve upon his success in the second half of last season.

Even if Belt doesn’t ascend to superstar status in 2014 and his 2013 numbers represent the average of what fans can expect in the future, perhaps with a smattering of more RBI, then Belt is surely a candidate for extension rather than trade. In addition to his emerging hitting metrics, his defense at first base continues to be solid. Belt made just 8 errors in 143 games at first, and his dWAR rating was -0.5. This number is deceiving, however. Unlike with batting, it’s generally believed that the replacement level fielder is around league average.The idea is that there are more players who can field in the Major Leagues than can hit. Given this, Belt represented a solid anchor on the right side of the infield, especially given the defensive woes the Giants experienced at second base this past season.

2013 was Belt’s most productive season as a pro, and the Giants would be well-served to keep him rather than trade him before the season begins – or at the deadline in July. In fact, as previously mentioned, extending Belt at his current numbers could conceivably save the Giants millions should Belt build off his 2013 numbers, something he appears poised to do. And if not, he would represent at worst a “poor man’s J.T. Snow” with slightly less power and RBI. From 1997-2002, Snow’s most productive years as a Giant, he averaged 142 games or more, 14 home runs and 77 RBI per season – numbers nearly identical to Belt’s output in 2013. Snow’s batting average in 9 years as a Giant? A modest .273. He was also 29 years old when the Giants signed him in 2007. Brandon Belt is 25.

It’s entirely possible the Giants may opt to wait and see what kind of player Belt has become this year before making a long-term commitment to him; however, it might be wiser, more beneficial, and far cheaper to keep the “Baby Giraffe” in San Francisco for many years to come by offering Belt a contract extension now, before heading into the ugly process of arbitration, a process the Giants have tended to avoid in the past with eligible players. Belt is going to get a raise, regardless, and reports suggest the Giants and Belt’s representatives have not agreed on that number yet. If the Giants decide to haggle over one or two million with their young first baseman, they may find themselves tens of millions short should he put together a big season in 2014 and the team wish to extend him later. Perhaps it’s time to finally show confidence in player that has finally shown confidence in himself.

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~Paul Ghiglieri

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Can the Giants trust a Skinny Panda?

Posted on January 24th, 2014 by Angel in SF Giants Rumors

 

Photo Credit: Mike Sandoval's Twitter Account (mikesandoval0807)

Photo Credit: Mike Sandoval’s Twitter Account (mikesandoval0807)

The San Francisco Giants will face a dilemma with Pablo Sandoval’s pending free agency. As noted in multiple social/media sites, Sandoval has lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 pounds.  This is a great sign for the Giants as Sandoval was hovering around the 270 lb mark throughout the 2013 season. When in shape, Sandoval is one of the best 3rd baseman in the game. He can be dynamic not only offensively with his power and high batting average but he is also an above average defensive 3rd baseman.

When Sandoval is out of shape, he tends to be injury prone, his offense suffers and his range/consistency with routine plays is less than average at 3rd base. The question that Brian Sabean will need to address is: Should the Giants look to sign Sandoval before he reaches free agency or let him test the free agent market after the 2014 season is over? Also, can Sandoval keep his weight off if he signs a big contract or do the Giants think he will go back to his old ways and fall back out of shape and then regret signing him to a big contract. The 3rd base free agent market is weak and Sandoval, potentially, could be in high demand if he puts up big numbers this season. Sandoval is set to make $5,716,667 dollars in the last year of his contract. The average 2014 salary for the top 10 3rd baseman (Not including A-Rod) is close to 10 million dollars a year. Keeping Sandoval may mean that the Giants will have to fork over around 10-12 million dollars a year over at least 4 years. If the Giants let Pablo test the free agent market they run the risk of losing Pablo to big spending teams like the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and even the Los Angeles Dodgers who have the money to outbid the Giants. 10 million a year is a big risk for a player who has weight issues but the Giants may be forced to sign Sandoval for this amount as there may not be an alternative in the free agent market and the Giants are not looking to trade an elite prospect for a top 3rd baseman. Would you trust the “KungFu Panda” to keep his weight off if he signs a big contract? Should the Giants let him walk as the risk of Sandoval gaining weight and the large amount of money may not be something they are willing to gamble with? Post your comments below.

-SportsBarAngel

-Twitter: @SportsBarAngel

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Minor League Player Profile: Kyle Crick

Posted on January 23rd, 2014 by Robert in Down On The Farm

 

RHP Kyle Crick - Courtesy of MiLB.com

RHP Kyle Crick – Courtesy of MiLB.com

Welcome to the first official Minor League Profile series. Given the recent (one day before this article was written) announcement of non-roster invitees to Spring Training, it seemed that now was a great time to start. We’ll try to do one every week and help give you additional insight into the San Francisco Giants farm system.

First on our list is RHP Kyle Crick, who, to the surprise of no one, was officially invited to camp this past week.

Crick is a consensus (see MLB, Baseball America, Fangraphs, Minor League Ball) number one in the Giants Minor League System, and rightly so. At 6’4”, 220 lbs, Crick is a presence on the mound with good movement and tough speed. Based on his size and build, he is most often compared to Matt Cain.

No one doubts that Crick has the ability to be a future #1 starter – where the doubt starts to arise is in regard to his command. Currently, that is the only thing holding him back. The hard-throwing Texas-native has a mid-to-high 90’s fastball, a hard slider and a changeup that he doesn’t use enough. In 2013, Crick started 14 games (his season was cut short due to an oblique injury). He went 68.2 innings with a 12.5 K/9, 1.57 ERA and 1.267 WHIP.

Most project Crick to make his big league arrival in late 2015. The oblique injury he suffered in 2013 likely set him back a year, as he was only able to reach 68 innings in 2013. This, coupled with his slight command issues, is enough to convince most that he won’t be MLB-ready in 2014. A 2015 arrival also makes sense when compared to the recent Giants signings (and what I’ve been supporting all offseason). Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum are around through 2015 to help bring in the new wave of homegrown arms. At the end of that season, we’ll see Crick – and a handful of other pitchers – start to come on, eventually to replace the Tims.

Look for Crick to focus mostly on repeating his mechanics this season as he continues to improve his command. I’d also expect to see extra attention to his changeup, something most young guys need to do early in their careers. It should be another good year for Crick, who will start the year in AA Richmond.

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

~Robert Barsanti

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Why The Giants Will Be Back In The Postseason In 2014

Posted on January 22nd, 2014 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
Credit: Steven Robles - SF Giants Rumors

Credit: Steven Robles – SF Giants Rumors

Returning to the playoffs in 2014 will not be an easy task for the San Francisco Giants. Not only do they have to perform better than the Los Angeles Dodgers, they were also behind the Arizona Diamondbacks and tied with the San Diego Padres in the 2013 regular season standings. The Giants need to be firing on all cylinders if they want to be serious postseason contenders, but it is possible and here are a few reasons why:

Brandon Belt. Belt, or baby giraffe, is the underrated 25 year old first baseman who had a sneaky good year in 2013. He hit .289/.360/.481 with 17 homers and had a 139 wRC+. He worked his way into the three-hole in the lineup and in the second half he exploded offensively, hitting .326/.390/.525 and had a wRC+ of 161. If he stays healthy, Belt could easily hit .300/.380/.490 for a full season and provide a huge boost to the Giants offense.

Buster Posey. Posey is arguably the best catcher in the major leagues. At the young age of 26 he already has two World Series rings, a NL MVP, NL ROY, Silver Slugger, two All-Star selections, and he also won the 2012 Hank Aaron award. He wasn’t as productive in 2013 as he was in 2012, but he still hit .294/.371/.450 with a 133 wRC+ and a 4.8 fWAR. Barring injury he should continue to put up elite offensive numbers and be the key player to the Giants’ postseason hopes.

Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner is the ace of the Giants pitching staff at the youthful age of 24. In 2013 he threw 201.1 innings and had a 2.77 ERA while compiling 199 strikeouts. He is quietly putting together a very nice career and is expected to get even better as he has not even reached his prime. I could see Bumgarner inserting himself into yearly Cy Young award talks if he continues at his current pace.

Pablo Sandoval. In past years when you think of the Giants’ third baseman you think of an overweight player who breaks a lot of hamate bones. Well based on recent rumors and pictures, that will be no longer. It is said that Sandoval has lost 42 pounds since the offseason began. In 2013 the panda hit .278/.347/.417 with 14 homers and a 2.3 fWAR. If he can keep the weight off it will help his offense and defense tremendously. If he can perform the way Giants fans know he can then Sandoval could be the player that boosts the Giants’ offense enough to put them into the playoffs.

The Giants will have to outperform the Dodgers, who are loaded with seemingly endless money and elite talent, if they want to win the National League West. It won’t be easy to do, but the Giants are stocked with a good mix of young talent and veteran leadership to have a legitimate chance at reaching the 2014 postseason.

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

-Randy Boyles

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Brandon Belt Will Have A Breakout Season, And This Is Why…

Posted on January 20th, 2014 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
Credit: Steven Robles - SF Giants Rumors

Credit: Steven Robles – SF Giants Rumors

In a very forgettable season for the San Francisco Giants, there were few bright spots in 2013. One of those bright spots was Brandon Belt. Belt was one of the top three hitters for the Giants and was very productive all around, but I believe he didn’t reach his full potential. Belt was a 4 win player while hitting .289/.360/.481 and “belting” 17 home runs. He also had a 139 wRC+ and a .365 wOBA. Many people would consider that a breakout season for him, but I think he will be even better in the coming year. At 25 years old, Belt has the makings of being a star for the Giants. No, he isn’t going to hit 40 homers and drive in 100 runs, he isn’t that type of player, but he is the kind of player that gets on base at an excellent rate and has good power while playing very good defense. He has the potential to hit .300, get on base at a .385 clip, hit 25 homers, and steal 15 bases. I predict we see Belt do that in 2014.

In 2013 on a trip to play the Philadelphia Phillies, Belt talked to Phillies’ slugger Domonic Brown. Brown gave him advice and told him that he had similar problems his first few years in the major leagues. He told Belt to grip the bat differently and Belt said that clicked in his mind and he decided to try it himself. That helped him greatly and Belt ended 2013 with very solid numbers. In 2014 the Giants project Belt batting in the three spot of the lineup behind infielder Marco Scutaro and ahead of catcher Buster Posey.

Belt is the first baseman that nobody is talking about and I think that will change in the next few years. He is young enough and has the potential to become an All-Star at his position. Belt is going to be a huge part of the Giants for the near future and their playoff hopes can hinge on how he produces in a power-lacking lineup.

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

~Randy Boyles

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The Giants’ Season Was A Disaster Because…

Posted on January 2nd, 2014 by admin in SF Giants Rumors

 

Credit: Steven Robles - SF Giants Rumors

Credit: Steven Robles – SF Giants Rumors

If only the answer was simple. In a team sport, success and failure can almost never be attributed to a single event or player’s performance. Usually, it is a combination of many things that contribute to winning and losing. In retrospect, let’s look back at the 5 biggest factors responsible for the San Francisco Giants’ fall from grace in 2013.

 

5) Losing Angel Pagan: Pagan spent much of the season on the shelf with a hamstring injury. The Giants never found a capable replacement to man center field in his absence. While Pagan is not necessarily a stellar defender, he is more than capable with the glove. However, the Giants experienced better defensive metrics with Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez roaming center. Where Pagan’s injury hurt the team the most was in the leadoff spot. Without Pagan, the team struggled to get men on base and set the table for Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, and Hunter Pence. A healthy Pagan is a must if the team wants to win next season.

 

4Marco Scutaro’s rapid decline: By all accounts, Scutaro’s final stat line was rather solid for the two-hole as he hit .297/.357/.369. The problem was that his production was spread out across 127 games (compared to 156 in 2012). Given Scutaro’s age (38), the team knew Scutaro wouldn’t continue to hit .362/.385/.473 over 61 games as he did when GM Brian Sabean acquired him at the trade deadline two years ago. However, it was quite apparent that Scutaro is more of a liability in the field (13 errors) with decreased mobility and range, which can be quite detrimental to a team short on power that relies on defense and pitching to win. The Giants knew they wouldn’t keep getting 156 games a year out of Scutaro, but it’s reasonable to assume they didn’t expect his body to start breaking down as quickly as it has. Once again, the Giants never had a capable replacement to start at second base when Scutaro couldn’t go. With no Pagan or Scutaro on so many occasions, the Giants lacked the table-setting dynamic they had when they won both World Series titles.

 

3) A Down Year for Pablo Sandoval: The Kung Fu Panda had a rough year, showing up to camp out of shape and missing more than 20 games on the DL. Sandoval hit an uninspiring .278/.341/.417 with only 14 home runs and 79 RBIs, nearly replicating the production of the previous year in which he only played 108 games. Had Sandoval had the career year many were expecting, the Giants would have had an easier time scoring runs, making life easier on his teammates. Posey only hit .244 after the All-Star Break, and more production from the Panda would have helped take the pressure off Buster’s shoulders. A healthy, in-shape Sandoval will be vital if the Giants aim to contend in 2014.

 

2) A Lack of Depth: The Giants have been luckier than most teams in recent years, avoiding major injuries to their roster (the 2011 Posey injury notwithstanding). In the end, DL stints for Ryan Vogelsong, Pagan, Scutaro, Sandoval, Chad GaudinJeremy AffeldtMatt Cainand more exposed the lack of depth that Sabean knew was a glaring weakness when the 2013 season began. The revolving door of replacements (Mike Kickham, Sandy Rosario, Kensuke Tanaka, Juan Perez, Roger Kieschnick, Nick Noonan, and co.) simply couldn’t give the team the production it needed to win. Injuries to backups Juaquin Arias and Tony Abreu only further exposed the need for depth.

 

1) Subpar Pitching and Defense: As much as critics want to harp on the effect of injuries and a lack of depth, the single biggest factor in the Giants’ losing season was disappointing play of the pitching staff and team defense. The team won both its titles on the strength of its pitching and glove work. The Giants committed 107 errors in 2013, tied for 3rd most in the National League. They ranked 13th among 15 National League teams in starter’s ERA (4.37). Madison Bumgarner had a stellar season (13-9, 2.77 ERA), but a brutal first half for Cain (4.00 ERA despite posting a 2.36 second-half ERA) deprived the team of the consistency it had come to depend on from its ace. Tim Lincecum tossed a no-hitter but still struggled to the tune of a 10-14 record and 4.37 ERA. Vogelsong spent much of the year on the DL and was only able to register 19 starts in which he posted a 5.73 ERA. Barry Zito (5-11, 5.74 ERA) was utterly overmatched away from AT&T Park, possibly pitching his way out of baseball altogether. All of this led to early exits that overtaxed the bullpen and deficits that an offensive-challenged team simply could not overcome. Had the team played better defense and Lincecum, Vogelsong, Zito, and Cain each won another 3 or 4 games, the Giants would have finished above .500. In truth, they probably still miss the playoffs, but the memory of the 2013 season becomes more disappointing than disastrous. If the Giants are to remain even competitive next season, they will be counting on bounce-back years from Cain, Vogelsong, and Lincecum, and solid pitching from Tim Hudson who was acquired to replace Zito in the rotation.

 

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

 

~Paul Ghiglieri

 

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Checklist For The Giants Offseason

Posted on December 31st, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors

 

Credit: Steven Robles - SF Giants Rumors

Credit: Steven Robles – SF Giants Rumors

After sweeping the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 Fall Classic, the San Francisco Giants were expected to be a force in the National League. After going 76-86 and finishing in a third place tie with the San Diego Padres in the National League West, the Giants had a very disappointing 2013. The front office entered the offseason with some pretty big expectations from some of the most devoted fans in baseball. The checklist for the offseason was to resign Tim Lincecum, acquire a power hitting left fielder, and to replace Barry Zito. So far, the Giants have re-signed Hunter Pence (5 years, $90 million), Lincecum (2 years, $35 million), Ryan Vogelsong (one year, $5 million before incentives), and Javier Lopez (3 years, $13 million). The Giants also signed free agent outfielder Michael Morse to a one-year, $6 million deal and free agent starting pitcher Tim Hudson to a two-year, $23 million deal. Although they have filled a lot of holes on their roster, I believe there are two more spots that need to be improved upon.

One of those spots is a closer. In 2013 Sergio Romo pitched a full season as the full-time closer for the first time in his career. He had a 2.54 ERA, an 8.7 K/9, and a 1.077 WHIP. All of those are very good numbers, but they aren’t consistent with his career stats. From 2010-2012 Romo averaged a 1.82 ERA, an 11.2 K/9, and a 0.842 WHIP. I believe he could maximize his potential in the eighth inning and the Giants are better off acquiring a closer like Grant Balfour. Balfour’s two-year deal with the Orioles recently fell through because of a supposed problem with his physical, although he says he is baffled at what happened and that he is 100% healthy. Balfour was very similar to Romo in 2013 and would be well-suited in the ninth inning for the Giants. If the Giants signed Balfour to close, they would have one of the strongest bullpens in baseball. They would have Balfour in the ninth, Romo and Javier Lopez in the eighth, Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt in the seventh, Heath Hembree in the sixth, and Yusmeiro Petit as the long man and replacement starter.

The other problem that needs to be fixed is the situation with the backup catcher. Although Hector Sanchez is very young and could possibly develop into a solid offensive player, he just doesn’t belong in the major leagues at this time. In a combined 150 games since 2011, Sanchez has averaged a 91 OPS+, .299 OBP, .370 SLG, and collected a 0.6 fWAR. In 2013 he had an ISO of .101 and a 5.0 BB%. He is below average defensively and doesn’t run the bases well. The bottom line is that Buster Posey doesn’t catch 162 games per year so the Giants would benefit greatly by getting a competent backup catcher.

All together, the Giants’ offseason is filled with a lot of question marks. Lincecum, Hudson, Vogelsong, and Morse are all very high risk players. Hudson, Vogelsong, and Morse are coming off of injury-plagued seasons and Lincecum, as we all know, used to be one of the best pitchers in baseball until he completely tanked in 2012 and slightly improved in 2013. The Giants are banking on him somewhat returning to form in 2014 so he isn’t a waste of money. If the Giants signed an effective closer/reliever and a backup catcher, I think they would be set for the upcoming season and can feel fairly confident about the possibility of returning to the postseason.

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

 

~Randy Boyles

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​Now That Left Field Is Filled, The Giants Should…

Posted on December 30th, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
Photo Courtesy of Steven Robles

Photo Courtesy of Steven Robles

Left Fielder, check. Complete the starting rotation, check. Re-sign Javier Lopez, check. Add depth to the outfield, infield and if possible the bullpen; check?

 
Here’s the deal, you can never have too many good players, and most championship teams have a strong bench with players who can come in for one at-bat, or one game, or one week; and even longer while still keeping production up.
 
The San Francisco Giants current 40 man roster has been filled in nicely with the late season signings and off-season moves such as signing former Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson, keeping Hunter Pence and his scooter in San Francisco; and bringing back Tim Lincecum with his revamped pitching attack to cavernous AT&T Park.
 
But to me, something is missing. I look at the 40 man roster and I’m not all that thrilled with a few aspects of it. Let’s look at the outfield first. The aforementioned Pence is golden, I like Angel Pagan; and his absence last year showed just how important his bat is at the top of the lineup. Michael Morse will be the new left fielder, and his thump in the batting order will hopefully be felt early and often next season.
 
After these three starters, I feel as though there is a hole in terms of quality depth that can make a difference over the course of a week, or two if needed due to one of the regulars being injured.
 
Gregor Blanco has nice parts to his game- such as his speed and late game defense, and sometimes there’s some pop from his bat; but it’s just not someone to get excited about.
 
Roger Kieschnick is young and unproven, Gary Brown- even younger and more unproven, Juan Perez; average. Not much excitement after the starting three, and I have a feeling the overall play of the outfield will be the key to how well and how far the Giants go.
 
Switching to the infield, depth again seems to be a problem; quality depth I should say. The Brandon’s (Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford) can pick it with the best of them defensively, and hopefully their offense will continue to evolve and produce more consistently. I love Marco Scutaro, just a solid player who embodies a professionalism and veteran savvy.
 
Pablo Sandoval is in a make or break year if you think about it. Can he stay healthy? Can he keep his playing weight under control? Can he be a consistent threat in the middle of the lineup?
 
Tony AbreuJoaquin AriasNick Noonan- average. The other infielders on the 40 man roster are all unproven, young, and/or not ready for the big league contribution. As with the outfielders, the quality depth in the infield is a big question mark heading in to Spring Training.
 
The catching platoon with All-Everything Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez is solid, especially if Sanchez can stay healthy and get his power numbers up.
 
The starting pitching and bullpen are a good combination of veteran moxie, mixed in with young talent that is on the rise such as Heath HembreeJake Dunning, and Edwin Escobar to name a few.
 
I think Erik Cordier, who throws gas, and Yusmeiro Petit who excelled late last season will be dark-horse candidates that have the potential to make the pitching staff top-notch once again.
 
Ideally, there will be some mid-season acquisitions or pleasant surprises in spring training that can help the bullpen return to its dominant form exhibited in both of their championship seasons of 2010 and 2012.
 
The National League West will be a battle all season long. For the Giants to contend and be in the Hunt for October in 2014, thereare still some moves that should be made to shore up the overall team depth.
 
Hopefully General Manager Brian Sabean and Team President Larry Baer can work some more winter magic and add an infielder or two, as well as one more piece in the outfield. Should this happen, there’s a strong chance Giants fans will be filling the seats of AT&T Park for playoff baseball next season.
 
Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!
 
~Amin Arikat
 
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