Checklist For The Giants Offseason

 

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.

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~Randy Boyles

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6 Comments

  • Bill Taylor says:

    To me the most important single thing is to get maximum production from their cleanup hitter and that means spelling Posey every fifth game at least. Thus the biggest single need is a backup catcher.

    Contending in the West will require that the guys they bought will also have great years (a great year from the cleanup hitter will help everyone) and everyone will be healthy — which is under no one’s control.

    Happy New Year! I can’t wait for the season to begin!!

  • Randy Boyles says:

    I agree. Backup catcher is a big deficiency for the Giants and they need to fix it. In my opinion they won’t do anything this offseason in that area, but let’s hope! I hope you liked the article.

  • John says:

    I definitely agree with the catcher situation. Sanchez has shown he could be a great back up to Posey but has regressed since his injuries. The closer issue I feel is more pressing. Although Romo was lights out in 2012, he is NOT a closer and is perfect for the set up role. I was thinking that if Timmie doesn’t regain his starter magic, maybe he becomes our closer. His stuff is nasty and since he loses his mechanics after one time through the line up lately, maybe he could be that nasty closer we so badly need. I hope Timmie gets back to the old Timmie but it doesn’t seem likely. Petit showed us a glimpse of what he is capable of last year and maybe he becomes that fifth starer if Timmie becomes our closer. Any thoughts?

  • Randy Boyles says:

    I like the idea of Petit being a possible fifth starter, but I just can’t see Timmy being our closer. For the time being Petit will most likely be our long man in the bullpen and Timmy starting. I think Bochy will stick with Lincecum even if he doesn’t do very well. Let’s hope he returns to his old form and has a productive year.

  • Vanessa ROMO says:

    I believe in Sergio. So his year wasnt the best doesnt mean not to keep faith alive. However for everyone who doesnt think Serg will make it, bring it on. Like Mr. Romo said himself WHAT KEEPS HIM GOING IS KNOWING HES GOT ALOT OF PEOPLE TO PROVE WRONG. From the very beginning of time Sergio should never have made it to far with his height.STATISTICALLY. IF ANYBODY HAS ANY DOUBTS ON WHAT IM SAYING JUST BY THE GIANTS MAGAZINE AT THE DUGOUT STORE WITH SERGIO ON FRONT. I think its called THE PERFECT PITCH. There is a long story bout Serg in it

  • Randy Boyles says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Sergio Romo and he is one of the top 10 relievers in baseball. He is absolutely fantastic at what he does. I just noted that he didn’t thrive as much in the closer role and he is deadly in the eighth inning. He was a very good closer last year, but he wasn’t as good as he has been in past years, as I noted in the article. Don’t mistake my article as being against him, though. He is one of my favorite players.