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Preview: The Giants Baseball Blog- A San Francisco Giants Blog and Fan Website

The Giants Baseball Blog- A San Francisco Giants Blog and Fan Website

Updated: 2017-12-16T03:53:05.770-08:00


Giants hit winter meetings eager and open to deal


After missing out on the trade that would have shook up San Francisco, and injected new life into the Giants lineup for years to come in the form of Giancarlo Stanton, the Giants will now shift focus to the free agent market, with four players supposedly atop their meetings' wish list.Those four players, as reported by the Boston Globe and NBC Sports Bay Area, are third basemen Todd Frazier and Mike Moustakas as well as outfielders J.D. Martinez and Lorenzo Cain. The one guy not listed who they did inquire about earlier in the offseason is Jay Bruce. It they;re wanting to get the best guys at each position they will somehow try to land both Martinez and Moustakas, though Moustakas rejected a qualifying offer, meaning in order for the Giants to sign either him, they'll have to forfeit some pretty valuable draft positioning. That being said, the Giants may be open to taking that risk if they could indeed get Moustakas on terms that they feel is fair and without having to overpay. Both Martinez and Moustakas are All-Star caliber ballplayers still very much in their prime whereas Frazier isn't quite the all-around talent Moustakas is and while Cain is a terrific center fielder and a solid .300 bat with a little punch, I don't think that is what the Giants really need at this point. They need a guy who they can pencil in to hit around .300 with 35+ HR's and 100 or so RBI's for the entirety of his contract, health permitting, and Martinez is the only outfielder that could provide thatThe disappointment of missing out on Stanton has pretty much passed, and I'm more than ready for these winter meetings to kick off and for the Giants to make some move finally that will show what direction they're panning on going in 2018 (and beyond). Again, if they leave Florida at the end of the week without any new additions or having made any significant progress on some players, then it could signify 2018 as possibly a pseudo-rebuilding year in which they'll still have the pitching and some of the core guys like Posey, Crawford, Pence and Panik on the roster. All of those guys are coming off less than stellar seasons and not offensive campaigns any of them are really happy with, so the Giants could just hope those guys rebound. If not, they'll start playing the young guys, and plot for next winter's offseason which could potentially feature baseball's top-3 all-around player.The Giants have a decent amount of money coming off the books next season and they most likely will be looking into joining the Bryce Harper sweepstakes (unless he re-signs in DC). With the Giants showing they would have been perfectly willing to take on Giancarlo Stanton's contract, we can only imagine what the Giants would be willing to offer Harper. Pence and Span coming off the books alone frees up roughly $30M/year, which I;m sure the Giants would be more than happy to offer Harper, but as the case with Stanton showed, the big question would be "would Harper want to come here anyway?". The Giants have been a bottom-3 team in baseball the last year and a half (despite making the playoffs in '16), so they're in a spot right now in which they aren't necessarily the top choice to come to for star players so they better get this thing back on track quickly if they want to be able to woo free agents into coming aboard and players with no-trade clauses more than willing to waive them to join SF. Just remember how happy Hunter Pence was when he joined the team! (which was amazingly 6 1/2 years ago now.. wow how the time has flied since the early stages of that Giants run...)So yes, this is going to be a telling week and one of the most influential winter meetings the Giants have been at in quite some time. And, if I were to guess at who, if any of these guys will end up Giants by the end of the week, my guess would be Lorenzo Cain and/or a lesser free agent like a bench option or mid-reliever.I just get a bad feeling on Cain, and I really don't want him. Same with Moustakas, especially with the draft pick. While Cain brings strong defense to center and brings some average a[...]

Giants moving forward without Stanton, Ohtani


A week ago it looked like there was at least a halfway decent shot at the Giants potentially landing both Giancarlo Stanton and Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani. Had they gotten both, or even one, it would have rejuvinated the city and certainly the roster, but unfortunately GM Bobby Evans reported Friday that they are indeed out of the running for both player's services. I can't say I'm shocked at either piece of news, even though the Giants were considered one of a handful of finalists for each player. With Stanton, they had the huge contract as a hurdle, but ultimately it was Stanton's unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause to head to Northern California, holding out hope a trade to one of his preferred teams. He's made no secret that the Dodgers would be his first choice, which would be icing on the cake to the Giants missing out on him. On Friday, the Marlins released a list of four teams he would accept a trade to. Aside from LA, he would be open to joining the Cubs, Yankees and reigning world champion Houston Astros, but none of those teams have been heavily in on Stanton this offseason, at least publicly. A trade to any of them before the 2018 season would seem unlikely though unless one of these teams decide to take advantage of their leverage. That list has certainly tied the Marlins hands and put the ball squarely in one of those four teams court.Right now, all of Stanton's preferred destinations are pretty set in their respective outfields. Even though he's one of the best pure power hitters in the game, none of the four teams will be desperate to add him (as the Giants and Cardinals so clearly were). Stanton wasn't the only player targeted by the Giants this winter who essentially told the Giants they wouldn't be joining them for the 2018 season as pitcher/outfielder Shohei Ohtani chose the Los Angeles Angles as the team he'll be joining in the United States. Now this one is a little bit easier to swallow than the Stanton spurning. Ohtani, as with any player coming for another county, is not yet a proven big leaguer and is essentially a super-prospect at this time. Chances are that he'll end up a quality major leaguer and may pioneer a new way of using pitchers that can also hit at the big league level, but he wasn't going to be that impact bat in a lineup that Stanton could have been and although the Giants starting rotation sputtered in 2017 (mostly due to injuries and a bizarre off-year from Matt Moore), that's still the one area that management feels most confident in with this squad. I didn't discuss Ohtani much here this winter because I really never thought the Giants would land him whereas I at least thought that had halfway decent odds at prying Stanton away from Miami.With all the latest news coming out, it makes me wonder if Stanton was stringing the Giants and Cardinals along the whole time with no interest in either team but to get the Cubs and Dodgers into the mix as those four teams are fierce division rivals with one another (Cubs/Cards in NL Central and Giants/Dodgers in the West). Regardless though, moral of the story is that neither intriguing option will be in the orange and black next spring, which now poses a huge question to Giants management; where do they go from here?They'll likely delve back into the free agent market and revisit the top hitters on that list such as Jay Bruce, J.D. Martinez, and possibly even former Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (although Gonzalez has not been mentioned by or linked to the team in any way). Reports had the Giants linked to both Bruce and Martinez earlier in the offseason before the Stanton situation really started heating up over the last few weeks, but let's face it, neither of those guys would bring anywhere near the impact as the reigning NL MVP and Home Run king. Martinez would probably be choice number one of the two, because he's a better all-around hitter and his right-handed bat would be more conducive to his power staying prevalent while playing 81 games per summer in the pitching friendly confines of AT&a[...]

Giants still in on Stanton, though hurdles remain


The Giants are still widely considered to be the front-runners to land the big right-handed outfielder if he is indeed dealt out of Miami. However, there are still obstacles that lay ahead, including Stanton's no-trade clause, the Marlins asking price and Stanton's huge remaining salary.We'll start with the list of prospects the Marlins would like in return from the Giants if the two come to an agreement, and it's the Giants top pitching prospect as well as three others in the organization's top-5. RHP Chris Stratton (3), OF Heliot Ramos (1), OF/1B Chris Shaw (2) and Brian Reynolds (5) are the group of prospects the Marlins are reportedly seeking, which would essentially wipe out the Giants top end of their farm system, but if the Marlins are indeed willing to eat 20% of Stanton's deal, then it may make it worth the price. Stanton is one of a handful of hitters throughout baseball that could come in and immediately make an impact on this lineup by making everyone else better and giving the Giants a power bat with early 2000's Barry Bonds-type impact power hitter. Now, if the Giants have to part with their top four prospects and take on that crazy 290+ million dollar deal that Stanton is under, then it becomes a bit too big of a pill to swallow in my opinion. I mean, if they could talk the Marlins out of Beede (which would be highly unlikely) it would make it a little more tolerable.Young Giants bats tend to do better after they're dealt than they ever would with the Giants anyway, as they haven't developed any decent everyday players since Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford, and all the guys they tried out in 2017 just didn't look like able big league hitters, aside from maybe Austin Slater for a brief glimpse. Over the last decade plus, the Giants have clearly been better at developing pitching than they have at developing hitters, especially guys with power, so giving up three bats that could end up being something for a guy who's a top-5 impact bat in baseball, then I'd be all for it.This conversation could be moot ultimately though if Stanton doesn't drop his no-trade clause for the Giants. Now, consensus is that he would, although he's made it clear that his primary destination lies in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, who play their home games within an hour of where Stanton grew up and went to high school. He really just wants to win though, apparently, and the Giants should be considered as a team with a decent shot at doing so if they did indeed land the slugger. They do have a couple of other small holes that they also need to address (third base, center field and maybe some bullpen depth and another veteran starting pitcher to add to the mix), but if they brought in Stanton to play left or right, it would allow them to go more defensively minded at third and center, which tend to be cheaper, more attainable style players.So yes, as we enter December, the Giants are still very much in the Giancarlo Stanton mix, and although I don't expect anything to happen immediately on this subject, I do expect a resolution on the Stanton situation in Miami to resolve itself before Christmas. It wouldn't surprise me if the Marlins held onto him if they don't receive the exact offer they want, and may re-visit this situation in July before the trade deadline. However, with Stanton coming off an MVP season, he's got an all-time sell-high moment right now and with his injury history, a couple minor injuries early in the season could do major damage to his trade value by mid-summer and of course, he'll have to have another season in the same ballpark of his 2017 campaign in order for his trade value to be where it is now, so now is really the most sensible and safest time to make a deal.We've talked about some outfielders who could be on the Giants radar if they don't land Stanton, mainly J.D. Martinez, Billy Hamilton and Jackie Bradley Jr., however, another name to apparently add to that mix is Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Now I do like McCutchen, although he's not the [...]

Giants make offer for Stanton, who's plan B?


So as I'm sure those of you who've been paying close attention to the Giancarlo Stanton trade sweepstakes as they've caught fire for essentially the last week and the whole Winter Meetings. However, as we stand heading into Saturday Morning, the newly crowned NL MVP is still in Miami with about 4-5 teams with real, shots at landing the big slugger' One of those teams, obviously, is the San Francisco Giants, who officially made a trade offer to Miami on Thursday. According to CBS Sports, the Giants are the first team to make an official offer to Miami for the MVP, which shows you just how interested they are in acquiring the right-fielder.. As far as I've read, the handful of teams besides the Giants, who Stanton would waive his no-trade clause for are the Yankees, Cardinals, Dodgers and Boston Red Sox. All those teams certainly have the means to get a deal done, so it really comes down to who's going to eat most of that contract and which team offers the best package on top of that. Stanton said he did prefer to go to a perennial contender, which all those teams essentially are making them the most likely group of five to land Stanton if he is indeed dealt like expected. Now, if the Giants are going to indeed bring the big guy aboard, they're either going to have to clear payroll by dealing a big contract of their own or risk taking on a mighty large luxury tax from the MLB for excessive payroll.They were talking a lot about Stanton on KNBR for the brief periods I was tuned into the station today, and offered a few scenarios in which the Giants could bring the slugger aboard without having to add that crazy of an amount of payroll, although it still would significantly increase. That is a scenario in which they deal one of their own big contracts, but not to the Marlins, who are obviously trying to shed payroll, but possibly to another team in a three-way deal, or have another deal in the works to fall into place immediately after a potential Stanton trade. The two names being most discussed are pitcher Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto, as both are slotted to earn upwards of about $20M for the next four and five seasons, respectively, although Cueto's deal has him closer to $25M per. Now, obviously, in a thin starting pitching market after Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb will also hit the market as probably the next two best after Darvish and Arrieta which means they're going to get overpaid so teams looking for a potential ace or #2 like Cueto and /or a rock-solid mid-rotation guy like Shark, then the Giants could realistically find a taker for one of the two if they choose to go that route.A potential three-way deal could possibly done, in theory, especially if the Giants are intending on dumping off payroll in the event of a Stanton deal. They could deal one of their high-priced starters to a team like the Cubbies or Cardinals then have one of those teams send some prospects Miami's way, it could be a win-win-win type of deal. The Marlins obviously want to cut payroll, as they've lost money season after season for a while now and have the new ballpark they're funding, and that's the reason why they're considering dealing the under-30, 60-HR per year threat in Stanton, because he's still owed a lot of money on his nearly $300M deal he signed with the Marlins in the not too distant past.Now, if they can't deal away a big contract and still find a way to swing Stanton, the plus side for San Francisco is that they do have Pence and Span coming off the books after the '18 season which will free up roughly $30M annualy, and that's more than Stanton's yearly rate (roughly $27M/per though 2027), so when you look at it that way, you see how it could make financial sense for the Giants (assuming they don't have to give up all their prospects and take on the contract). On the other hand, when you see that this deal will take Stanton well into his late-thirties, you have to imagine that there may be a few years towards the end [...]

A lot of eyes on Giants as free-agency opens


The MLB offseason is about to kick into full effect here, as MLB free agency posting took place on Monday and all free agents are now free to sign with whoever they please. Whether it's free agents or possibly trade targets, the San Francisco Giants have been prominently mentioned and linked to some of the bigger names hitting both markets (trade and free agency).Now, we've all heard the most tantalizing rumor involving the Giants and potentially landing the most efficient power hitter in the game today, Giancarlo Stanton, but we all know they won't be the only team pursuing the big outfield slugger, and apparently the one free agent they've been linked too the most now is former Royal's center fielder Lorenzo Cain. I voiced my opinion on Cainer last post, as he's certainly a plus player and could bring some intangibles to this team they very well could use, but he's not a guy who's going to change the make-up of an offense on his own like Stanton would, and on the wrong side of 30 now, it's tough to imagine his best days still ahead of him. He's one of the top free agent outfielders though with the ability to play center at a high level so he's going to get paid. I just hope it's not the Giants that end up paying him, unless they get him for significantly cheaper (in both years and dollars) than I think he's about to get. So, that leaves either rolling with Span again in center for his final year under contract, or moving on to another potential option for center field, of which there aren't a ton.Carlos Gomez comes up as the next highest ranked free agent center fielder on the FA market and he'd be the guy I'd look to if they can't come up with any better trade scenarios or land Cain on a team friendly deal. Gomez probably won't seek more than a 1-2 year deal and won't cost an arm and a leg. My guess is he gets a 2-year deal in the $20M range which, for a plus defensive center fielder with power and base-stealing potential (both things this offense sorely needs), then I would roll the dice on that. That being said, my number one choice this winter, as a fan, is bringing in Stanton, some way, some how, and if that were the case and they couldn't move Span's contract then maybe roll with Span one more year in center and/or sign a cheaper defensively minded CF'er like Cam Maybin possibly to spell Span when needed defensively. Then if Maybin gets hot, as he did at times with Houston during their championship run this fall, he takes over center and Span then becomes your fourth outfielder. That's really the kind of depth the Giants have been lacking the last few years and the kind of depth they need in order to get back to where they want to be. They need legit back-up options in the outfield and not just rely on minor leaguers who aren't ready or would take months worth of at-bats to get acclimated.While the outfield has been all the talk on the radio and websites for the Giants, they still do have that glaring hole at third base as well as a need for some bullpen depth and possibly even another starter. Now, if I were to bet, I would bet they probably don't fill all those needs before spring training, and may rely on some of their in-house guys to step it up for some of those spots. For instance, they very well could feel fine with starting the year with Chris Stratton as their fifth starter after his nice "tryout" period in September. The only way they do that though is if they're sure Johnny Cueto and Matty Moore are healthy and in good condition because they need much more out of both of those guys in 2018, otherwise they'd need a quality, proven guy to bring in and maybe push Moore back into the five spot. Andrew Cashner is a guy that will be out there and someone capable of putting up mid-rotation quality when he's healthy. Alex Cobb is the guy I'd love them to get their hands on, as he is capable of being a #2/3 starter when he's on, but in a thin starting pitching market with his success in the rough AL Eas[...]

Positional needs/power top Giants 'to-do' list


As I said in our last post, with all of the Giants rotation that ended the year set to return (barring some change of heart from Johnny Cueto and he opts out), they don't have a whole lot of room to do much there unless they want to pursue a more seasoned option for the back-end of the rotation. However, as of now, they have about half of a starting lineup set to return, and will be looking for upgrades in at least two spots, maybe three.The obvious two spots they'll be looking into upgrading is either center field (depending on what they decide to do with Denard Span) and/or left field, and then the glaring hole at third base. The guys they trotted out in the second half of the year after dealing away starter Eduardo Nunez were hardly inspiring, and proved that if this team is serious about contending in 2018 they're going to have to venture outside the organization for help there. The one name that seems to make some sense, especially on the power end, is Todd Frazier. The Giants need a 30+ home run bat in this lineup and Frazier, although he hits around .225, could provide that. The top third basemen on the marker, Mike Moustakas, is coming off a career year in KC that saw him hit over 30 big flies with a nice average, and great defense at third base. Mix that with the fact he's still under 30 and he's probably going to cash out big somewhere and being a left handed batter, AT&T Park probably wouldn't suit his power potential the most so that may not be a good fit anyway.Eduardo Nunez is also set to hit the open market, and although he had a pretty good stint here in SF when he was on the field and tore it up for Boston, the question to ask is will he get more than he's worth? We saw Nunez for year here and while I think he was still finding his way a bit in the NL as his power numbers never showed up, but he hit for a nice average and was this teams most dangerous threat on the basepaths, when he was actually one the field. Now, more options will likely present themselves as we get into the offseason, whether it's trade options or guys getting non-tendered, but third base is going to be a very interesting area to keep an eye on this winter for the Giants. I don't love Frazier, but in this market, if they could get him on a 2-year deal then I'd be for it otherwise I say steer clear. I could take the .220 average if it came with 30-something jacks and 85+ RBI.Another possibility I could very well see happening is if the Giants did strike a deal with Miami for Stanton, they may end up having to take on Martin Prado as well, who's on the hook for around $13..5M the next two years. Prado did have a decent year in '16 hitting .305 with 75 RBI and a .777 OPS, but is 34, hasn't hit double digit HR's since '14 and got hurt and missed most of last season. I just don't see the Giants absorbing that deal though unless they do get rid of Pence or Span in the process.  For roughly the same price, I'm figuring, I'd rather bring back Nunez, as he's a younger, faster, more versatile version of Prado but if they could get their hands on Stanton then all bets may be off.However, if the Giants are planning on contending in 2018, as I think they will be, Nunez is ideally the guy that I'd like to see back at third the most, at least of the free agent options. Especially if they can find power for the outfield.Then you have the outfield, which was one of, if not the least productive bunch in all of baseball. Despite his best efforts to keep conditioned and eat healthy during the offseason, Hunter Pence's body seems to be starting to fall him on the field the last few seasons. He hasn't played a full, productive season since 2014 and approaching his age-35 season, it's tough to expect him improving all the much on last years .260/13/67/.704 slash line. That being said, he is under contract for another year so unless the Giants try and deal him, he should be back for one more go round in right fiel[...]

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 Arroy[...]

Nightmare season comes to an end in SF


Well folks, we finally have in the books one of the most tumultuous summers of baseball in San Francisco Giants history, and now it's time to start righting the sinking ship. Problem is, this "ship" has a laundry list of problems that may not all be remedied before the 2018 season, meaning we could be looking at another long summer on the horizon...Plenty of teams go through terrible seasons like the Giants just endured, but what made this one extra tough to swallow was the fact that this team had playoff aspirations coming in and still had that mystique of the three championships within that clubhouse. However, that mystique and the Giants mini dynasty they had going since 2010 has come to an end with their 98-loss season. Now instead of approaching the offseason like World Series contenders like they have the last 7 winters, the Giants will be looking at the 2017/18 offseason a little differently. I mean sure, in this day in age, a team can lose 100 games and bounce back into playoff relevancy the following year, but these Giants have a long, long ways to go and I think their main focus this offseason will be figuring out who fits into their plans in 2018 and beyond rather than pursuing that one star (Giancarlo Stanton) to come in and hope that player makes everything ok. This team needs power, they need more speed and they need better outfield defense, just to name a few. Add set-up man, another left-handed relief arm and I think they need more dynamic players throughout the lineup, including their leadoff hitter and centerfielder.Again, we'll do more dissecting of the season coming up before free agency gets going in November and who they could possibly target, who I want them to target, who they should avoid and guys on their current roster that should and shouldn't return in '18. But strap up Giants fans Cause I'm hearing that some of the mainstays over the last 7-8 years could very well have played their last game uni. Those names are Hunter Pence, Hunter Strickland, Brandon Belt (Posey is about ready to take over first base Full-time). I think they'd love to find a taker for Denard Span and Pence and Span had a nice second half and may have caught some teams attention. It also bodes well for him that he has just next year Remaining on his deal so he's not a long term commitment and not too expensive. Pence on the other hand will be 35 for the '18 season and hasn't hAd a healthy, productive year since SF's last championship season in '14.It's too early for me to even venture a guess as to who will be back and who on the way out, plus I still wanna do. Brief season review for the squad before we start getting into the free agent and trade targets the Giants may/should be pursuing this winter.Also wanted to give props to all the diehards that stuck it out for the journey, it was more than frustrating at times and hopefully they reward the fans with a Stanton addition and more. Whatever they decide to do though, I expect some new key faces on the team come February for spring training.Comment in our comment section with what you want to see Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean and Co. do to fix this thing! I'll be giving mine in an upcoming post, but next post we get into the season Review from what started the collapse and why they couldn't dig themselves out of the mess. We'll also give out team MVP, LVP (biggest letdown) and some other players that stuck out for one reason or another, so stay tuned![...]

Giants looking at major off-season overhaul


With the worst season San Francisco has endured in decades nearly over with, all the Giants and their fans can do is look into the future and hope like heck there are some answers out there this winter for some of the teams laundry list of problems.

If you've watched the club this season then you already know that you would be hardpressed to find any real positives that they'll be taking with them into the winter. Instead, we're looking at an offseason that should present many of changes, Including Possibly moving on from some guys who've been mainstays for the squad the last half decade or so and were Instrumental in their championship runs. First off, the Giants have three games on the schedule remaining and are sitting at 97 losses, so they are very well within distance of a 100-loss year which is about as bad as it gets. Then when you consider the team is coming off a nice little mini dynasty from 2010-16 in which they won 3 titles and made 4 playoff appearances, it makes the drastic fall-off of 2017 that much more astounding to a lot of people. However, if you watched this teams epic collapse in the 2nd half of 2016 and then their failure to really address all their needs over last winter, it really shouldn't come as that big of surprise.  

It certainly wasn't an earth-shattering surprise to me if you go back and read my posts from last winter, as I just couldn't figure out why they didn't add more bullpen depth, bring in a sure-fire everyday left fielder who can put the ball in the seats and just bring in more depth overall. And we saw all those areas haunt them early on as they got no production out of left field, terrible bench contributions and no real defined roles in the bullpen. Granted, their one signing from last winter, closer Mark Melancon never really looked healthy at all this year and was essentially a non-factor spending most of the year on the DL and finally a going under the knife in September. The hope is that by performing the surgery in-season, he'll be ready to rock when pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale in February but he'll be entering his age-33 season and is anything but a guarantee to return to pre-'17 form. His recovery along with lefty relief ace Will Smith will be crucial to the bullpens rebound in 2018. 

I'm typing this on an IPad as my computer monitor has recently broken and my laptop got wet and died out, so I'm going to cut this one short. We'll be talking much more about what happened and what went wrong This summer, even if I have to keep posting shorter posts, they will appear more frequently. 

We'll asses some players who did OK, as nobody including Posey, BCraw, Belt or Pence really had memorable seasons. And also whether or not this can be a one off-season fix or if the Giants will be entering rebuild mode for the first time since Barry Bonds was on his way out. So despite the sad season and underwhelming performance from the orange and black, they've left us with no shortage of topics to disect over the next 4 months until spring training kicks off. 

The return of Pablo a joke?


Well Giants fans, it's time to pull those Panda hats out of storage and dust them off, because the former fan favorite and club cornerstone is returning to the organization.In a season where the Giants may very well lose 100 games after entering the year with legit playoff aspirations, you can bet that with the trade deadline just about a week out that changes should be on the horizon. On Saturday, the Giants made a move, but instead of dealing away one of their veterans, as many expect them to do, they brought back one of their former ones, finalizing a one-year deal with Pablo Sandoval on Saturday.It's been a strange year for the San Francisco Giants, to say the least. They've fallen so far out of contention so early on in the season that it's now leaving them with months to experiment and try different things out for next year and beyond. Over the last few days, the bay area has been buzzing about the possible return of a former Giants' staple, Pablo Sandoval, who flamed out in Boston and was released by the Red Sox earlier in the week. With that being said, one may wonder how in the heck bringing back Pablo Sandoval fits any of that "rebuilding" philosophy, and that's a justified concern. However, if you take a look up and down this roster and see who the Giants are currently trotting out there on a daily basis, there aren't a whole bunch of prospects with potential big league futures being trotted out there, simply because most of them are banged up. Ideally, the Giants would like to give Ryder Jones and Christian Arroyo third base to fight over for these last 10+ weeks of the season, but neither players is healthy. In those guys' absence, and Eduardo Nunez being moved around the diamond, Connor Gillaspie has sort of taken over third for the time being and he certainly isn't a guy who the Giants are looking at long term there.That doesn't mean that the Giants are banking on Pablo regaining his San Francisco magic and working his way back to big league club by August and solidifying his spot in the lineup again, but stranger things have happened, and in a lost season, why in the hell not roll the dice on a guy who's still just 30 years old and wanted to come back here? There has been a lot said about some of the harsh things Pablo had to say about some of his fellow teammates after he left the Giants for the Red Sox, but he didn't disrespect anybody and if Pablo comes back and hits .300 with power (I know, a huge, unlikely if), those hard feelings should disappear pretty quickly.All in all, I don't expect anything to materialize from this deal. I think Pablo will eventually return to the big league club, whether in August or September, and be given a few shots to see if he sticks and could be in the plans for 2018, but I think Pablo's best days are long behind him. It's a good, fun story in a season that's been void of positives, so all will be watching, but I definitely would not bet for him to be part of the Giants future plans. But, again, numbers cannot be denied and if he earns himself another shot and cashes in, he very well could factor back into the teams outline for the future, especially if Arroyo and Jones cannot get on the field to make their case down the stretch. Sandoval won't be blocking any younger player from getting major league playing time (because there all hurt right now) and worst case scenario is he flames out and moves on by the end of year. And again, who knows, maybe they catch lightening in a bottle and Pablo's career rebounds after a return home?I just see the "potential" positive outweighing the negatives with this signing and would like to see Pablo back on the roster sooner than later. Eduardo Nunez is likely going to be dealt in the next few days (hopefully) and that will open yet another spot on the Giants roster in which Pablo could be tick[...]

Nunez dealt as trade deadline nears


Breaking News: Eduardo Nunez was traded to Boston for a couple lower level RHP prospects Tuesday. Starter Ryan Anderson (20 years old) and reliever Gergory Santos (17 YO) will each be headed San Francisco's way. The deal, which was reported earlier Tuesday afternoon became official before the end of the day. I know absolutely nothing about the guys the Giants got in return so can't tell you much outside their numbers. I really had hoped Nunez could have netted another squads top-10 prospect (probably wishful thinking on my end) although Anderson ended up being the cornerstone of the deal at #18 in the BoSox system. Over the better part of the last decade, as mid-late July arrives, Giants fans have usually been busy speculating on which player(s) this ball club could add and acquire as they make their stretch run and attempt at another World Series tittle. Instead, the 2017 trade deadline will pose a much different goal for Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean and the Giants brass and we saw it in action Tuesday.With the Giants well out of it, they certainly won't be trading away any prospects this summer, but instead, they may try and re-stock their farm system with some other teams bring young players as they enter the trade season as firm sellers. The Giants are in rebuild mode right now and with the deadline approaching quickly (only a week out), we're entering crunch time. We talked here before about some of the targets on the Giants roster that other teams may have interest in and, indeed, most of the guys you'd imagine as being targets for other teams are indeed that. At the top of seemingly everyone's list though is someone who the Giants may have the most difficult decision on, and that's Jeff Samardzija. With MadBum missing most of the year so far and just now returning, Samardzija has easily been the Giants best, most consistent starter during the 2017 season. His record certainly doesn't reflect that but his low WHIP, high strikeout rate and low walk rate have contenders believing he could be a legit 2 or 3 on a team that will give him some run support and actually close down his wins.The conundrum the Giants are in with Samardzija is whether or not they think they'll be competing in the next year or two. If they think this is going to be a 2+ year rebuild then they should definitely be open to dealing "Shark". His contract isn't outrageous and he's locked up for 3 more years after this one so that makes him more than just a rental and increases his appeal to potential suitors. Because he's not just a 2-month rental and isn't making crazy money in this climate, the Giants should be able to obtain a nice little haul in return should they so choose to deal him. I'm sure they're taking calls with that in mind and if they get offered what they're looking for, then Samardzija could be on his way out.The other two Giants that seem most likely to be dealt are infielder Eduardo Nunez and set-up man Hunter Strickland. Relief pitching is at a premium this summer, so I would be surprised if the Giants can't find a nice little package for Strick. I mean, David Phelps, who is nowhere near the caliber reliever Strick is, just brought in a haul for the Marlins on his own. For a slightly above average mid-relief guy the Marlins received two prospects within the Mariners top-10, including their #2 in 19 year-old outfielder Brayan Hernandez. That kind of tells you what relief pitchers can get in this market and Strickland is one of the best late-relievers out there on the market. He should yield a nice little return should the Giants choose to part ways. Even George Kontos and Corey Gearin may get some inquiries but neither of those guys are going to bring in anything to write home about. But it seems that just about every arm in that Giants' pen could be had.Now, [...]

Time for Giants to shift gears


After getting swept by the Royals, the lowly Atlanta Braves and now losing the first two games to the Mets (in their own yard), the Giants are on an 0-7 run and now find themselves over 20 games below .500 as the mid-way point quickly approaches. I think it's quite clear at this point that, even with a miracle of a second half turnaround, Madison Bumgarner coming back and Hunter Pence getting healthy, this team's playoff aspirations have long past and we're not even to July yet. I know, what a sad fall from a team that's been a perennial contender for the last 7 years and who brought home 3 championships during that span. However, at this point, the team has to start looking at 2018 and beyond, because whether we like to believe it or not, this isn't going to be an easy fix by any means. The second half is going to be a huge showcase for two Giants' veterans that likely don't have a trade market and the team will be returning to starting positions again in 2018 and those two guys are Denard Span and Hunter Pence. Both have vastly underachieved this season and neither stood out in '16 either as both seem to spend as much time on the field than off. Since they aren't going anywhere until after next season, the Giants have to find a way to ensure these guys stay healthy entering next season. Whether that's start cutting down on both players playing time, something I've seen Boch do with Pence a lot more this season (I'm sure his hamstring has a lot to do with that though).As for the pitchers, the only guys outside of MadBum you plan on having around next season are Matt Moore and Jeff Samrdzija, the ladder of which has been considered by many the Giants best pitcher in MadBum's absence, despite is abysmal W/L record. In the bullpen, it's Mark Melancon and Hunter Strickland guaranteed to return. Cody Gearin is finally putting together a nice season, and could be a potential long-relief candidate next year and Josh Osich seems to get opportunity after opportunity so he may be in the mix too. Possibly Derrick Law if he gets his stuff together in AAA and returns back in his '16 form. But outside of Law, Melancon and George Kontos, I don't see anyone really guaranteed a spot in the Giants '18 bullpen as that's an are they failed to fully address over the winter and they better make sure not to repeat the mistake.So, there you have the key players who we know will likely be around for next year, aside from the group listed above though, the Giants should start shopping every single player they can get a return for. I'd even add Span into that mix. I still am holding out hope that Pence will get healthy and come back big in second half and go strong into his contract year next season. He's the type I'd hardly expect to retire after next season and will work his tail off to make it as good a season as possible so I definitely don't wanna write him off just yet. As far as Johnny Cueto, Eduardo Nunez, Aaron Hill, Matt Cain (though highly doubt anyone would bite on him), even Law, Kontos and Moore, I would be seeing what you could possibly get in return for these guys. I mean, I know guys like Hill, Cain and Kontos wouldn't garner any notable package, the Giants have no need for them at this point. Nunez, Cueto and if they decieded to let him go, Matt Moore, would be the big fish in the Giants' trade pool. More so, your looking at teams that would look to land Nunez, and certainly Cueto.Both make since for a lot of reason for a contending team. Both's deals are done after the season (well, Cueto has an opt-out that Jon Heyman now expects he'll exercise), and both can be impact type players for a team needing a shot in the arm. Nunez has shown the ability to be a prolific base stealing artist who also hits for decent pop and a nice average.[...]

SF in unfamiliar spot, but not surprisingly


We've officially hit June, which means that the "it's still early" talk and optimism that most Giants fans and players are still holding out for this 2017 season, are waning, and doing so quickly.In fact, there have been recent articles in bay area newspapers, as well as plenty of banter on the "sports talk" airways both in the Bay Area and throughout the league have begun discussing what the Giants plan of attack will be as we inch closer to July and the trade deadline at the end of that month. It's the first time since 2009 that the Giants are approaching mid-season with the thought of being "sellers" looking more and more likely. Now, nobody has come out and said this of course, and we're still just 1/3 of the way through the season but with the way the rest of the teams in the NL West are playing (minus the Padres), and the Giants already sitting 12 games back of the next closest team in their division, saying they have an uphill journey ahead is an understatement. As a matter of fact, as epic as their collapse was in the second half of 2016, they're going to need a second half streak and some other teams to really go into slides themselves. So, as the calendar has officially flipped to June, the Giants certainly are far from technically being out of it, but if they're still sitting in the cellar of the division and 10+ games out of any potential playoff spot then one would only draw the conclusion that this could be the year the Giants finally do some selling of their own at or before the trade deadline.Now, of course I hope on wrong, the team goes on a 10-game win streak this month and gets right back into the mix, but with the AAA-level lineups they've been trotting out there lately, that appears like wishful thinking at this point. This holds especially true in the outfield where we here at the Giants Baseball Blog pleaded for Evans to solidify the outfield by getting a legit left fielder in the offseason but of course that didn't happen so I think we could all see this coming, I know I could, I just hoped for full health. I mean, the Tuesday night outfield of Orlando Calixte, Gorkys Hernandez and Justin Ruggiano was about as imposing as having three semi-skilled hitting pitchers (offensively) as your starting outfield. The team's outfield combined WAR is the worst in baseball, and again, this should be no surprise. The Giants outfield depth was thin last year, this winter and into spring, to say the least. They had no proven left fielder, and they had two guys coming off injury-ridden years on two 30-something outfielders who seems to really have hit a wall, health wise, the last couple of seasons.I guess they expected one of Chris Marrero, Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker to really step up and take the reigns but I never liked that plan. There was nothing in their past that showed they were ready to be handed important big league roles. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joey Panik and Brandon Crawford all forced their way onto the roster and into regular jobs. Mac and Parker (who's now on the 60-day DL), while showing signs at times of being capable, have not come close to proving they're ready to handle playing everyday and were chosen not because the Giants had the utmost confidence in one taking the reigns, but because they had no other options and were hoping one of these guys would become the Adam Duvall who they gave up on and who's now become an all-star and a legit 30+ HR/year guy in Cinci. Even still, to this day, I don't know why the Giants didn't go get a decent plan B for left field. Rajai Davis would have been a perfect fit. Coming off postseason experience, well versed at all 3 OF positions and coming off nice year with the bat. But no, Giants were content with what they had and it[...]

Giants look bad, but is there hope?


Last week, the Giants took two out of three from the LA Dodgers and looked like they were primed to start shaking off the rust that caused them to fall 9-10 games below .500 in the matter of a month. However, they hit the road, leaving California and head to the mid-west where they endured one of the toughest to watch 4-game series' I've seen in recent memory.They looked solid in LA, taking 2 of 3 from the Dodgers and the starting pitching was on point. The bright spot, in my opinion, was Jeff Samardzija's brilliant outing, his best since he's dawned a Giants uniform here early on in year number two of his five-year deal (unfortunately he got rocked in his follow up outing). What was disturbing though about that Dodgers series is that the Dodgers outscored them 17-13 in the three game (despite the Giants winning two of three). The reason I mention that is because it carried over into what I think was the worst series so far on the young '17 season for the Giants in Cincinnati. After regaining some momentum heading into the series, the Giants were absolutely hammered by Cinci at Great American Ballpark. Matt Cain got raked in game one, Ty Blach essentially mirrored Cain's abysmal outing in game two, then Johnny Cueto gave the team a chance with a solid 7 inning, 2 ER, 10 K performance on getaway day but of course the Giants didn't even supply a single run of support for the magnificent outing by Cueto.It's a tad disturbing when your team rolls into one of the most offensively live ballparks in all of baseball and gets outscored to the tune of 31-5 in a three game set. Now I know that Denard Span and Brandon Crawford, two of the teams most important bats, where still on the shelf for this series, but the lack of run scoring seems to be getting even worse. I mean, they got shut out by Scott Feldman, a 35 year-old righty who's, at best, a 5-starter at this point of his career.Things didn't get much better in New York either as the Giants lost 2 of 3 in this set. However, they played a little bit better baseball and each of these games were actual ballgames whereas the contests in Cinci were just laughable really. They lost two games by a run and each of those games could have gone in the Giants favor with a lucky break here or there but New York got all the home field advantage and had the luck on their side as well.So, now we find ourselves in a sort of "early season panic mode" as a Giants fans. As I type this the Giants and Reds are in extra innings in game two of their set at AT&T Park (^15th to be exact). Of course, the Giants could not complete their comeback at the end of game one, continuing their bad luck against the Reds in 2017, but they have a chance to comeback in tonight's ballgame, then take the next two to take the series . They're in the midst of perhaps one of the tougher part of their schedules right now dealing with the highly improved Reds, then hosting the Dodgers before heading to the mid-west to play the Cardinals and Cubbies then returning home to play the best team in the league, Washington Nationals. They do have a three-game set with Atlanta sprinkled in there somewhere but I think this is going to be the stretch that determines what the Giants' strategy in terms of mid-season trading.This stretch of games will take them into June and that's about the time when you have a pretty good grip on your squad's weaknesses and needs, and most importantly, are there enough attainable upgrades out there that can legitimately help this team. If they go through that stretch and find themselves in the same situations they currently are in, over 10 games below .500, then it could be the first time since before 2010 that the Giants won't be looking for deals t[...]

Should SF be agressive or wait things out?


Needless to say, the San Francisco Giants have gotten off to a pretty bad start. Especially coming off a year where they were a few breaks away from making another NLCS appearance then who knows what would have happened.However, they failed to make it out of that divisional round because of multiple reasons, the most important being that bullpen, but we all know that story and I'm not here to re-hash the same old stuff. My question for Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean and Co. at this point would be are you guys seriously planning on turning this ship around or you more in a "hey we made the playoffs last year, the fans won't go too crazy if we miss it this time around". Of which, I'm sure they're more on the side of the former, and if that's the case, this team is going to have to act sooner than later. They may not be able to wait until mid-summer to pull the trigger on an upgrade(s) to this roster. I'd say give this unit maybe until mid-May and if this still haven't climbed back up around .500 then I don't really see things getting much better.The rotation has been on point, as the only guy in the rotation who isn't pulling his weight, and sure a lot of it has to do with "bad luck" is Jeff Samrdziaja. "The Shark" sports an 0-4 record and a 6.32 ERA but he's also struck out 32 in 31 IP so the stuff is there and hopefully the results start showing up in May. Everyone else has been pretty nails, although Matty Moore's outing Tuesday night in LA was his worst as a Giant (I believe). They're even getting strong starts out of Matt Cain and Ty Blach, in replacement of Madison Bumgarner until at least mid-season, has thrown well himself a couple of gems his first two starts of the season. The thing is, the movement from Blach from the Giants bullpen into the rotation has prompted Stephen Okert into the primary left-handed reliever out of the pen. Okert has the stuff and has had a little bit of success in his brief amount of big league time, and although he's thrown a lot better than his 5.14 ERA shows, he does have a 0.857 WHIP. He also doesn't give up the long ball or walk guys (two great traits for RP's). Speaking of that bullpen, as a hole they seem to slowly be getting things together. They still have those games where if one gets roped then it's typically gonna cause a domino effect. I still would consider the bullpen a work in progress, but at least roles seem to be getting a little more defined. The one dagger the other afternoon was Mark Melancon blowing that 2-0 lead in Blach's start, which ended up costing the Giants the game, series, Blach a W and Melancon his 2nd BS in 7 opportunities. Now I'm hardly worried about the new closer, but it's just an example of what's happening that's causing the team to consistently be 5-8 games below .500.So why is the team 8 game below .500 at the time of this post? Well, the defense has left a lot to be desired, no doubt on that, as they've cost the team a handful of games. The main reason why the Giants enter play on Wednesday night with a troubling 10-18 record, as we all know,  is largely in-part to the lack of offense this team is getting and the inability to put runs on the board. I know, surprise, surprise. right? Now Boch has tried just about everything. They've called up guys left and right, they've completely overhauled the batting and aside from Denard Span's shoulder, the starting lineup is pretty darn healthy. Unfortunately there is no clear timetable for Span's return after he sprained his right shoulder slamming into the wall in Colorado April 22nd. He was expected to be ready to rock when first eligible to come off the 10-day DL, but suffered a set-back last Thursday. So while Bochy is hopi[...]

Is Christian Arroyo Buster Posey 2.0?


The Giants brought up top prospect Christian Arroyo this week, as they needed a spark in their lineup, and so far the kid has looked mighty impressive. In fact, after seeing his output Wednesday night vs. the Dodgers, not only him as a player, but the situation he's being brought into really reminds me of the situation Buster Posey was thrust into back in 2010.Let's just look at it for a second here. The Giants had some talent on their 2010 roster, especially that strong rotation with Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum in their primes while Jonathan Sanchez (remember him?) had himself a career year and it was Ryan Vogelsong's reclamation year. However, they ran into early offensive problems and their answer wasn't to go out and swing a deal to bring in a hitter, but rather thrust one of their own highly touted prospects into the fire and see how things went. That prospect was a 23 year-old Buster Posey and all the Giants have done since making that decision including winning 3 tittles in 7 years and become one of the better teams and top MLB dynasty's of the new millennium (all thanks in large part to Buster).Fast forward 7 years later, and the Giants find themselves in somewhat similar circumstances. Expectations are higher than ever, they have a lot of money tied up into this roster but things just haven't come together or even shown signs of coming together for most of April. So what do the Bruce Bochy, Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean do? They made that similar call-up to the one that turned their season around 7 years ago and ultimately led them to a ring, this time bringing up top prospect Christian Arroyo, who was tearing the cover off the ball in AAA Sacramento and certainly appeared ready. Couple that with the fact the Giants have gotten zero production from left field and have the option of moving Eduardo Nunez out there to open up third base for the 21 year-old phenom. Nunez is well versed enough to take on left field regularly and be more than serviceable out there. He's got great speed and good instincts but sometimes takes risks that can come back and bite him. Still, he's good enough in left to warrant playing him there most nights to allow Arroyo into the linuep. The kid just has "it:" and I think he's going to be the real deal. Maybe not quite a perennial all-star like Posey, but definitely as good as Belt and Crawford, if not better.So, how will that leave the rest of the Giants lineup moving forward (especially when Span gets back next week like expected and another roster move will be preceding that) you ask? Well, I certainly have my ideas and guys I would like to see stick around. First off, Drew Stubbs should absolutely stick on this team over Gorkys Hernandez, at least in my opinion. Stubbs has had multiple successful seasons at the big league level and has gained a certain baseball IQ in the process. Gorkys hasn't spent near the time Stubbs has in the bigs and has never made much of an impact. Hernandez is younger though and may have a step on Stubbs right now, but Stubbs is a former 40-SB guy and stole 20 as recent as 2014, the last year he received over 400 plate appearances. Not to mention Stubbs is a more than capable center fielder and I know Gorkys has a reputation for being a defensive stud, I've see him both multiple balls already this year which have resulted in runs. Now, in no way and I saying Drew Stubbs is the next coming and is going to be a starting outfielder for the Giants moving forward, hit 20 jacks and steal 20 bases. He does, however, have experience that Hernandez doesn't have and can do pretty much everything Gorkys can do, better in many cases.All in all, I'm very excited to see the[...]

Minus their ace, SF has plenty of issues


It started on opening day when the Giants lost game they had in their grasps in the 9th to the D0Backs with their new ace closer on the hill, and ever since then, things just keep popping up that don't seem to go the Giants way.The most pressing and more recent bit of bad news to hit the Giants was ace Madison Bumgarner's left shoulder injury sustained doing non-baseball activities (riding dirt bikes in the Colorado mountains to be exact) and expected to keep him out until roughly the all-star break. I've heard time-table ranges from 8-10 weeks in the very best case scenario, up to 16-24 weeks. The rough part is that it's his pitching shoulder so my guess would be something closer to the ladder. Essentially, there's a 50/50 chance we may not see MadBum take the hill again in '17 but I'm gonna hold out hope. This, aside from maybe losing Posey for an extended period of time, was the very last guy the Giants wanted to see hit the DL, and the scary thing is, the injury involves his left shoulder. I'm not trying to be a downer or look at the glass half-empty, but I don't think the Giants can really count on much from their left moving forward, at least for the foreseeable future. He's gonna miss at least a month before he can start even tossing a ball again (if things go well), then will have to build up his strength, then face hitters, then go on an assignment in the minors until he's finally ready to rejoin the staff. I'd be very happy if he came back strong and ready to go, even if we have to wait until after the all-star break.The Giants are not winning any tittles without MadBum (unless they strike lightening in a bottle with Ty Blach or make some miraculous trade for another ace which just doesn't seem likely), so if they need to sacrifice 12-15 weeks in order to get him back to 100% and on the field for the stretch run then so be it.Aside from the horrible Madison Bumgarner news we received just a couple days ago, the happenings on the field aren't making that pill any easier to swallow. The team has now sunk to 6-13 and aside from MadBum's rough situation, the second most pressing issue is the left field play. I know, surprise, surprise. right. We here at this site mentioned this multiple times in the winter how there were options out there in the Giants price range who would have been upgrades to guys like Parker, Marrero, Hernandez etc... but I don't want to beat a dead horse. I was hoping Melvin Upton would come in and provide depth or at least a spark but he went down with a torn ligament in his hand this week, likely ending his brief stay in the Giants organization. The other name down in the minors who is making his way back and probably would have won a job out of spring had he not gotten hurt is big Mikey Morse. Now back and supposedly healthy, he's in Sacramento and a good week could put himself up on the big club getting regular looks in left. In fact, if he hits two big flies in a game down up in Sac, it would'nt surprise me to see him swap places with Chris Marrero the next day. That's how bad the Giants need offense.I just don't think the Giants are ready to make a deal of any kind quite yet, whether it be another starter or someone to solidify left. I mean, if MadBum needs to end up missing 4 months, they could use this year as more of a "see what you got" season and assess some of their younger guys. It's really hard to mail in a season like that with a payroll the Giants have and the expectations the fans have grown to demand, so I don't think we'd get there unless they really run into some bad luck.Are the Giants as bad as they've shown to start the year (6-13)? No, I don[...]

MadBum still winless, SF finalizes Upton deal


If you didn't think you'd ever be saying that Matt Cain would be leading Madison Bumgarner in wins again, well you'd have been wrong. The Giants enigmatic fifth starter got in the win column with a strong outing Wednesday night, but the team fell to 0-3 when their ace takes the hill as Madison Bumgarner and the Giants lost the opener vs. Colorado on Thursday.Madison Bumgarner has gotten some pretty bad luck, as the team just isn't scoring for him when he's out there. Thursday marked the big left-hander's third start of the season, and unfortunately he fell to 0-2 after surrendering 3 runs over 6 innings to the Rockies. He definitely didn't have his type-A stuff, but pitched well enough to win most nights, but the Giants just couldn't muster anything offensively. Granted, they were without two of their better hitters, as Buster Posey is still on the 7-day concussion DL and Brandon Crawford was out of the lineup dealing with a family tragedy. Without their 4-5 hitters the Giants just couldn't sustain any sort of rally and nobody really stepped up with that big hit the team really needed. Usually MadBum helps himself out in games like these, but even he had trouble against Jon Gray and the Rockies bullpen. It really is a shame too as the Giants were primed to keep their winning ways going after Matt Cain broke through with a victory on Wednesday night, a start that probably earned Cainer another few starts in the rotation.Speaking of Cain, he looked about as good as you'll see him these days on Wednesday and that is significant. He's been around so long that we forget he's only 32 years old, although he's pitched more like a 39 year-old the last couple seasons. That's not young in baseball terms, but 32 is certainly not ancient, and still within a players "prime years" (age 27-32). Plus with someone like Cain's track record, you have to give him a shot because you never know if and when he'll re-discover himself. Hopefully Wednesday was the start of that process, but I'm hardly ready to determine Cain as "back" like many people were anxious to do after his most recent start. It was a nice showing, yes, but he still showed is inability to get deep into a ballgame and appears to have about a 5 or 6 innin limit right now before he really loses it. That's not necessarily a bad thing though for the Giants, especially from the fifth starter and someone who's limiting the damage like Cain did Wednesday. What really reminded me of vintage Cain though was not just his outing on the mound, but his big double at the plate as well. During his best years, he was much like MadBum in the sense he could hurt you on both sides, and we saw that for the first time in recent memory Wednesday.Giants finalize Upton signing: Speaking of offense, I have to say, I'm pretty stoked about the Giants most recent signing. On Wednesday, the Giants finalized their low-risk, potentially rewarding minor league agreement with Melvin Upton and the outfielder has reported to extended spring training in Arizona. The timing really couldn't be better for the Giants, as they've struggled to get production out of their outfield as a whole to start the year, but especially left and center field, two areas where Upton can definitely help out. The plan for the 32 year-old outfielder is to have him get some reps at extended spring training, then report to AAA Sacramento, but it wouldn't surprise me if his stay in Sac is short lived. Heck, if he tears it up in extended spring and the Giants feel like he can offer and upgrade in left then they may just bring him directly up from Arizona sometime next week.Upton is [...]

Giants trending up but Posey hits DL


The Giants have looked much more like the team we expected coming in over the last two days. They salvaged the series in San Diego with a win behind Johnny Cueto then opened up their season at home with a win over the D-Backs behind a gem from Matt Moore.The victories over the last two days have moved the team back within a couple of games of .500 at 3-5 but now they'll face a new challenge, at least for the next week or so. If you watched the home opener Monday, then you saw that pitch that hit Posey square in the helmet in his first at-bat and you probably thought like I did immediately; please don't be one of those concussions that cause nasty recurring symptoms that impact his 2017 season. Well, we won't know it's impact on Posey for at least a week, as the Giants placed him on the 7-day DL with concussion symptoms, although they are saying he's fine and it's just a precaution. The Giants have become all too familiar with concussions in recent seasons after it ended Brandon Belt's 2015 season and then hampered Joe Panik's '16 season after causing him to miss a month of play. Needless to say, the Giants have had some bad luck with concussions over the last couple of seasons and now it's struck a player that they can least afford to lose. Also, because Posey catches everyday, it puts him at further risk to where a foul tip off the mask could cause his symptoms to return. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a couple starts at first base when he is activated for that very reason.It really does come at a bad time for the Giants too. They seem to be getting their 2017 legs underneath them the past couple of games and look primed to take off from here. The starting pitching has been pretty solid from the get go, although a few mistakes were really magnified in Arizona, but Matt Cain looked very bad in his first start on Friday and as we talked about in our season preview, I doubt he's going to have the leash he's had the last couple seasons. He's in the final year of his deal and each time he takes the mound from here on out could be his last attempt to get right, at least here in San Francisco. In fact, I'd give him till the end of April, and if the Giants aren't seeing any positives or any sign of him turning things around, it wouldn't surprise me to see them make a move. Everyone else has been pretty solid though. Jeff Samardzija will start Tuesday night, coming off an outing which didn't look all that great in the box score, but if you saw him throw, you saw the stuff was definitely there. He got burned by a couple location mistakes and the light Arizona air, but I expect him to keep the ball in the yard at AT&T. Cueto and Bum have looked pretty solid, and Matt Moore just threw a gem on opening day Monday, so the rotation is definitely picking up steam in week two of the season.So, the Giants have started to claw back from their 1-5 start. Brandon Crawford likes primed for a career year and I'm getting good vibes from Eduardo Nunez, but the big questions coming into the year have yet to be answered. Besides Matt Cain's instability in the fifth spot, the play in left field as well as performance from their middle relievers are still very much in question. I believe Giants left fielders went 1-15 to start the season, with a bunch of strikeouts, and the bullpen has already cost them at least one ballgame (although Mark Melancon was largely at fault in that one as well). Also, another spot to watch is center field and Denard Span. The leadoff hitter missed most of the first week of the season after his hip flared up on Opening Day. It[...]

Interview with Razzball


We've done a few pre-season interviews with the fantasy website I know the season has technically started for most teams including the Giants, we were a little late on this one and I wanted to share it with you guys anyway.They did a hole write-up on the Giants and their fantasy prospects over at their site and I'll post a link below with the full article. I'm gonna post a couple Q and A's from out part of the article. Definitely check them out if your a fantasy baseball gamer!M@: The Giants lineup is filled with reliability. Well, in years past it’s been that way. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Denard Span…they’re mainstays. One name missing? Hunter Pence. In standard 5×5 leagues I’ve always been a Pence fan as he brings a high floor and a medum ceiling, perfect for drafting right outside the top 50. However, 2016 wasn’t as kind to Pence and that reliability as he tried to recover from injury. What should we expect from Pence in 2017, a rebound to his old form or another step down into his twilight? Trevor Cole:  If there’s ever a guy to bet on continuing to produce well into his thirties it’s Hunter Pence. This guy keeps himself in top shape and adheres to a strict diet in order to continue being successful late in his career. Yes ’15 (freak injury getting hit by pitch and breaking his arm) and ’16 were injury-ridden for him and he hasn’t torn it up this spring like I’m sure the Giants were hoping, but entering his age-34 season, I think he still does have plenty left in the tank. As long as he avoids a freak injury, I’d guess around a .280/20/80/15 slash line with an OPS up around or above .800 would be his ceiling. Again, if he has a DL stint or two those numbers will drop but if he gets his 600 at-bats, the numbers will be there.M@: The name not mentioned above that might carry the highest ceiling, somehow, is the trade deadline addition last year, Eduardo Nunez. Out of nowhere, at age 29, he posted a .288/73/16/67/40 slash line. The average seems repeatable based on his history, but the outburst of power/speed is less consistent. At the end of 2017 is Nunez above or below the line of .270/75/12/60/35? Trevor Cole: Nunez had a great, out of nowhere first half with the Twins, however, once he arrived in San Francisco, it took him a good while to get going. When he did towards the end of the year in September, he hurt his hamstring and was out of the lineup a lot and missed most of the postseason as well. He’s a guy many are predicting to build off last season but I’m not so sure. I do think he’ll hit for a decent average (above .275) and he’ll steal his bases, but I don’t think the power will be there like it was in the first half of 2016. He only hit 4 long balls after joining SF in July, but as I said he finished strong with a .313/2/10/8 slash line in September despite missing over a weeks worth of games. Depending on where Bochy hits him in the lineup (and that could change daily) will determine his RBI/run opportunities but I expect his average to be around .300 with 10-15 big fly’s and 30 stolen bases come the end of the year.I'm not going to re-post the whole thing, so for the rest of the article and Q and A session click the link here!Now hopefully the Giants and Johnny Cueto can get right vs. the D-Backs and put that disappointing opening day loss behind them![...]

2016 problems carry over in SF '17 opener


Well guys, that was a big letdown to say the least. Opening day 2017 came and went for the Giants Sunday afternoon, and they let one getaway, much like they did to end the 2016 season in the playoffs.The Giants cruised through the first 5 innings, as it was the Madison Bumgarner show. He was striking out D-Back hitters with regularity and inducing weak contact to the tune of 5 perfect frames. Not to mention, he helped himself bit time at the plate by hitting 2 jacks in the game. However, with a 3-0 lead and perfect game in-tact heading to the bottom of the sixth, it was all downhill for the Giants. Madbum had a rough 6th inning as he got put into the stretch for the first time and left the ball up to a few hitters who did not miss. The D-Backs ended up tying the game in the 6th but MadBum gave the Giants the lead back in the 7th with his second home run and finished off his night with a strong 7th inning. Take away that rough sixth, and you couldn't have asked for a better outing from MadBum.However, the Giants bullpen, as I predicted over the winter, throughout spring and in our season previews, didn't do much to improve their mid-relief and set-up corps from last years squad. Yes they did get themselves what they hope will be an ace closer but it didn't even happen for Melancon on Sunday afternoon either. Derek Law surrendered the lead in the 8th, only for the Giants to reclaim it in the 9th, only for Melancon to cough it right back up in the bottom of the inning and ultimately blow the save. It was uncharacteristic to say the least for Melancon and certainly not what you hoped for out of the Giants bullpen as a whole to start the 2017 season. It was an eerily similar feel to the way things were going at the end of 2016 and all we can hope is that it was just opening day jitters. Yes, this pen is better than last year's bunch, just because they have that clear-cut ace closer, but nobodies invincible and Melancon is human (as Krukow eluded to in the postgame show). Still, it's the bunch between the starters and Melancon that still has me worried.There's not much else to say about the game, it was a disappointment. Besides Bumgarner being his typical awesome self, the Giants got nice outputs from Eduardo Nunez, Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford that helped them put together their runs aside from MadBum's jacks. They played good defense and scored enough runs to win most nights (5), so this one falls on the pen, which allowed 7 hits and 2 runs in 1 2/3 innings.Anyway, I don't wanna beat a dead horse, and I'm staying optimistic that things will improve as guys settle in. Melancon probably had the juices flowing at an extra-high level being it his first regular season appearance after signing the biggest contract of his life and joining a new team. Also, it was Derek Law's first opening day in the bigs so I'm sure his adrenaline was in overdrive as well and that should mellow out in the coming days. Hopefully things get better in the coming days as the adrenaline wears down but it also wouldn't completely surprise me to see inconsistency continue to haunt the middle relief and set-up corps in this bullpen.[...]

2017 San Francisco Giants Preview


Well folks, that time has finally come, opening day is just a few short days away and the butterflies are already starting with me. While this team has plenty of question marks heading in, they still have their solid core that's been a main part of 2 out of their 3 championships and like they've shown so many times, you can just never count them out.Here's a look at the projected opening day roster as well as some rough estimate stats based on past performance, health and age. We'll also give our expectations for 2017 as far as where they'll end up, what/who they may end up needing to trade for and really what we expect to go down throughout the 2017 season. It's not an even year, which has worked out so well for the Giants 3 of the last 4 times, but this team should still be a contender nonetheless and may be a player or two away from really making a push for a fourth ring in 8 seasons.Projected lineup with projected slash line (all stat predictions are based on players playing a full season and not taking into account any injuries):1. CF Denard Span- .282/8/51/.741 21 SB (solid spring, hopefully rebounds from sub-par '16 season)2. 1B Brandon Belt- .276/22/68/.848 (primed for his first 20+ HR year & Giants need pop)3. RF Hunter Pence- .281/18/79/.818 (huge key, has to stay on the field for this lineup)4. C Buster Posey- .303/19/85/.840 (another guy needing to improve off mediocre '16)5. SS Brandon Crawford- .285/15/86/.779 (has gone from offensive liability to solid run-producer)6. 3B Eduardo Nunez- .278/16/65/.765 25 SB (hopefully builds off '16 breakout and stays on the field)7. LF Jarrett Parker- .255/12/48/.735 (will likely share LF but should get majority of ab's vs. RHP)8. 2B Joe Panik- .262/10/51/.715 (like Posey and Span, Giants hoping '16 was off-year)Again, these numbers are projecting everyone stays healthy for the season, which we know is highly unlikely, but it will be fun to look back at the end of the year and see how close we actually come. Parker is the one real wild card as he could end up getting a ton of at-bats and running away with the job, or he could find himself in an old fashioned time share with Chris Marrero or even Michael Morse down the road... I really want to see Panik's resurrection in 2017 as I think that would be a huge shot in the arm for the offense. They need his .300 bat back and not the .237 he hit in 2016... Bochy will likely use Nunez in the 2-slot vs. left-handed pitching but seems to be favoring Belt there vs. righties this spring, so I expect that to carry over into the season.Projected Rotation, set-up man and closer: 1. LHP Madison Bumgarner- 17 W, 3.02 ERA, 220 IP, 217 K's, 1.07 WHIP2. RHP Johnny Cueto- 16 W, 2.97 ERA, 210 IP, 189 K's, 1.10 WHIP3. LHP Matt Moore- 15 W, 3.55 ERA, 202 IP, 179 K's, 1.27 WHIP4. RHP Jeff Samardzija- 12 W, 4.04 ERA, 209 IP, 166 K's, 1.29 WHIP5. RHP Matt Cain- 5 W, 5.38 ERA, 105 IP, 74 K's, 1.45 WHIPRH- Derek Law- 80 G, 2.57 ERA, 72 IP, 70 K's, 1.02 WHIPCL-Mark Melancon- 76 G, 1.75 ERA, 46 S, 74 IP, 68 K's, 0.89 WHIPThe only uncertainty out of this bunch really is Matt Cain. The only reason he's being given a shot at retaining the 5th starter gig is because of his huge price tag in what is his final year of his contract. However, if he struggles out of the gate, I don't think the Giants are going to give him as much rope as they have the last two seasons. Ty Blach and Tyler Beede are waiting in the wings and many feel both are better options right now than Cain and it's hard to d[...]

Giants bullpen roles still undecided


The Cactus League has officially come to an end as the Giants arrived back in the Bay Area Wednesday. They ended up going 16-16, which means absolutely nothing, but they had some guys really standout and present themselves as options, if not for the opening day roster, then certainly down the road.The three big things you really hope for each spring is that your squad gets their work in, shows at some point they're ready for games to start counting for real and most importantly, avoids any sort of injury, especially long-term. While the Giants didn't have anyone in their starting lineup or rotation hit the shelf, they did lose their left-handed set-up man for the year. Will Smith's injury was especially unfortunate for the Giants who are still trying to figure out in what order they're going to get the ball from their outstanding rotation into the hands of their new ace-closer on nights their starters only go 5-6 innings. We talked at length about the bench and how it really could shake out in a number of ways to open the year and the bullpen really is in the same boat. Obviously Melancon will be manning the 9th inning, but that's the only role with any certain clarity in the Giants bullpen right now. My guess is Derek Law will open as the primary set-up guy, maybe sharing with Hunter Strickland to see who emerges. Then come the question marks.Right-hander Neil Ramirez had somewhat of a standout spring with 16 K's in 9.2 innings of work while allowing just 10 base-runners and sporting a 3.72 ERA and I believe deserves a spot in middle relief. The former first rounder sported a 1.44 ERA through 50 games his rookie year with the Cubs in 2014, then ran into some injuries which have set him back the last couple of seasons. George Kontos will to be slotted into mid-relief as well and didn't have a bad spring himself, finishing with a 4.50 ERA, a solid 0.9 WHIP and 15 K's over 10 innings. In fact, if you take away the two long-balls he gave up (that probably wouldn't have been home runs in 90% of MLB ballparks), then his numbers would have looked as good as any reliever beside Melancon. Speaking of whom, the new closer showed he's ready for Opening Day by not allowing a run and only 7 base-runners in 9 innings.The best non-closer showing of any reliever, right or left-handed, in the hunt for a bullpen slot was Steven Okert. The big lefty pitched well in his brief stint in 2016 and looked un-hittable at times this March, finishing with 0.96 ERA and 7 base-runners allowed in his 9 innings of work. With Smith's injury, Okert has set himself up as the front-runner to take on the primary left-handed role in the bullpen, but Bochy could decide to go with the more seasoned Josh Osich. However, Osich was one of the hardest hit relievers this spring, giving up 13 hits and walking 9 batters in his 9 innings (2.36 WHIP). If Smith's injury happened a month prior than it did there would have been a few options out there on the market but at this point, unless you would like to see them lure Javy Lopez out of retirement and the NBC Bay Area booth for one more go round.One of my favorite young arms on the 40-man roster and a guy who finds himself in a conundrum these final days of exhibition baseball is Ty Blach. He's shown the ability to pitch well in relief, and pitch well as a starter. The Giants have a big decision on what they want to do with him. My guess is he makes the roster, just on the sheer amount of work that Boch and Rags had him do this [...]

Will depth be an issue?


We've got a little over a week left in Arizona until the Giants break north for their three exhibition games on the doorstep of the 2017 MLB opener. Then it's right back to Arizona to open up vs. the D-Backs.... For real this time!As we enter the final stages of the Cactus League schedule, the Giants and Bruce Bochy have to be generally pleased with what they're seeing from their squad since early February. From what I've seen, this Giants squad seems a little hungrier to me. I mean, they have proven veterans like Gordon Beckam, Aaron Hill, Jimmy Rollins and Nick Hundley fighting for the minimal bench spots that currently exist and all seem to be portraying great attitudes in the process pf making their cases. I mean, J-Roll has been an All-Star starting SS in his career and has been in the MVP discussions multiple times and has plenty of experience deep in playoff baseball. Even though he's inching closer to 40 years of age, he still knows the game well enough to provide value so long as his body holds up and he can continue to contribute a few times a week. Hill, a notorious Giants' killer, has had a pretty nice spring and could provide legit backup support for the fragile Joe Panik at 2B as well as Eduardo Nunez at third (the Giants are also trying him out in left field as well). Then there are returnees Kelby Tomlinson, Mac Williamson and Gorkys Hernandez along with standout Chris Marerro (who's arguably had the best spring of any Giants' hitter).So, how are things going for the Giants as we've hit the home stretch of the Cactus League? I'd say all in all, pretty darn good. The one guy who's really stuck out this March and someone who looks like they're set to run away with that starters left field job is Jarrett Parker. Barring some major fall off or injury between now and April 2nd, Parker should be your starting left fielder vs. Zach Grienke and the D-Backs on the nationally televised opener. The major improvement I've seen and been reading about regarding his approach at the plate which results and waiting out better pitches to hit, which in result, gets him pitches he can put the bat head on the ball and drive it. It's been pretty evident for the 28 year-old slugger that he's determined this spring to make this roster out of spring and not only that but be a key cog in the lineup. As of March 17th, Parker has had 36 spring at-bats, resulting in 12 hits (.333 BA), 4 HR, 12 RBI a .455 OBP and a 1.15 OPS.Once I realized the Giants weren't going to be upgrading left field around mid-December, Parker immediately became my choice just because I remember how hot he can get when he filled in during those stints in both '15 and '16 (I think both times in which Pence was shelved). He showed he can hit balls out of the park with consistency and it's carried over to the spring. If you take what he'd done combined over the last two seasons at the big league level in limited duty, it doesn't look too shabby whatsoever. The left-handed slugger has collected 178 at-bats and has slashed .267/11/28/.371/.494 (.865 OPS), scored 33 runs and walked 24 times. The walks and ob-base percentage are really what really impresses me because most young players are over-anxious and want to swing at everything. He's not just up there hacking for McCovey Cove every time he steps into the box, I just really hope that holds up in a full-time gig come April. I don't know how it will wind up for Parker, but so far we have nothing [...]

Pivotal spring lies ahead for Giants: Part 2


As we talked about in our our previous post, "Part 1", we've been discussing what the Giants team is looking like as Spring Training is just underway and Cactus League play is less than a week away. And after missing their first even year World Series tittle since 2008, the Giants should be hungry to get back to the fall classic again in 2017, and that journey starts Friday afternoon!We mentioned the outfield and the inability to find an everyday, sure fire answer there. I knew getting a starting left fielder in the winter was going to be a long shot (their best bet, if they find they Mac/Parker aren't the answers would be an in-season trade), but really solidifying this bullpen from top to bottom was something I think could have been given more effort. Now, not saying the pen as is should be considered bad by any stretch and with a legit closer now, they're much better than they were a year ago on that fact alone. However, going back in line of what I was saying about left field; for a team with aspirations like the Giants should have, I feel like they could have added more than just their new closer. Where else do you see this team upgrading at from last year? They lost their ace RH set-up man Sergio Romo, ace LH set-up man Javier Lopez (although Romo had a nice drop-off in '16 and Lopez's career seems to have ran it's course). And let's not forgot how they never found a replacement for the ever important Jeremy Affeldt after 2015. That caused them to part with an arm and a leg to get mid left-handed reliever, Will Smith, who was no Affeldt in his two months here. He, however, should rebound and I do I have high expectations for Smith in 2017.Throughout the offseason, we discussed several guys that could have made a lot of sense as far as non-closing relievers. I mean, as of now it's Melancon at the helm, followed by the still green and injury prone, yet very nasty, Derrick Law, the enigmatic Hunter Strickland, Josh Osich who's had his brief moments but for the most part looks like a middle of the road LH reliever. Now, I really like Law taking over the Romo 8th inning role if he can just stay healthy, and he's gonna get that spot baring some injury or catastrophic spring. Same can be said for Strickland, although I like him more in the 7th inning than the 8th in close ballgames due to his proclivity to giving up the long ball in those situations. Then there's good 'ole George Kontos, the squads longest tenured reliever now with Romo, Casilla and Lopez gone. Kontos' numbers always look serviceable at the end of the year, but it seems like he can get hit and gives up his runs at times when it matters the most. He'd be the ideal guy to have in AAA as the primary call-up each time a reliever hits the shelf, or possibly even as a long man. So there are question marks as to what certain guys roles will be and who exactly will make the team out of spring as pretty much every role is up for grabs, sans the 9th inning gig.All in all, it was a very quiet winter on the Giants front aside from the much needed Melancon signing. They did complete a few, under-the-radar minor league signings/spring invitees, including some that may end up helping the big squad as they need it. My favorite of those was the addition of Nick Hundley for various reasons. I like Trevor Brown and he could end up being a major key in the future or a trade chip, but Hundley brings a veteran prese[...]