Subscribe: The Giants Baseball Blog- A San Francisco Giants Blog and Fan Website
http://www.giantsbaseballblog.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
Tags:
back  big  deal  game  giants  guy  guys  league  much  rotation  season  spring  stanton  start  team  trade  year 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
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: 2018-04-17T12:36:05.838-07:00

 



SF battling, but coming up short most nights

2018-04-12T01:03:50.411-07:00

The bad news for the Giants since their quick 2-0 start in LA is that they've gone just 3-6 over their last nine. On a positive note, the losses haven't been bad at all, and most of them have been 1-run ballgames. I mean had they come up with a couple of clutch hits in certain situations that were very doable, they could just as easily be looking at 7-4 instead of 5-6 as they heading down into San Diego for a four-game stretch.The most impressive game they've played all season thus far, at least in my opinion, was not their huge offensive output in game two of the Mariners' series. It was that 14-inning victory over LA on Saturday night after not playing the previous two nights. We all saw Andrew McCutchen's game winning home run in the best pitcher/batter battle I've seen in 2018, and I really thought that would get them jump-started but they've gone just 1-3 since that game and have scored only 9 runs in their last 4 games games combined. You can't really blame the pitching though. Two of the last three losses were 2-1 ballgames, and if they aren't able to score more than one run most nights, they really have no business winning. So basically the main reason for their losses early on have been due to the inability to hit with runners on and in scoring position and offensive inconsistencies. The newcomers were supposed to help fix that issue, and although 'Cutch broke out in that game vs. LA with a 6-hit night, he has been very quiet over his last few games. Evan Longoria also homered in the home opener vs. Seattle, but aside from that jack and a 2-hit game vs. LA on Sunday, he's been virtually non-existent with the bat.It's not surprising to see Longo off to a slow start though, as he's spent his whole career in the AL prior to this season, so it may take him a couple more weeks to get acclimated to the new league and pitchers he really hasn't faced much, if at all. So we can't panic quite yet about the .114 AVG and .396 OPS after 35 at-bats, but they're going to need this guy to start hitting. The same can be said for Austin Jackson as he really hasn't made much of an impact at the plate at all in the early going. Jackson has collected 29 at-bats, and despite hitting a reasonable .258, he's scored only 1 run in his 9 games which is extremely low for a leadoff guy. So far, Gregor Blanco has blown him out of the water production wise. Granted, you can't really blame Jackson for the lack of runs scored because they aren't stringing together a bunch of hits and knocking guys in that way. Still, I would like to see his average closer to .300 and I would also like to see Boch start using the steal more when he does reach base.Not only did they lose the series to Arizona Wednesday, they also got the news that Johnny Cueto now joining Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Will Smith and Mark Melancon on the DL with a sprained right ankle. They now are essentially throwing a glorified Triple-A starting rotation at teams until Shark and Cueto get back on the hill. I haven't seen an exact timetable for Cueto's return yet but the fact that he didn't leave the game when he injured himself, and was close to avoiding the DL stint and making his start Wednesday, I'm hoping it won't be much longer than the 10-day minimum. I do remember the play in which he tweaked it trying to throw out Dee Gordon on a little dribbler in front of the mound and it didn't look terrible but it did bring the Dave Groeschner and Bruce Bochy out to check on him. The move was made retroactive to April 7th, so the earliest we could see Cueto back is April 17th. That's hopefully right around the time Samardzija will be re-joining the rotation too as he'll get his rehab assignment started this weekend in San Jose. Shark will likely pitch in two rehab starts, unless he comes out of this weekends outing crisply and pain-free. He hasn't pitched competitively in almost a month now though, so two rehab starts seems feasible but with the rotation in disarray, one solid one may suffice.The Giants are still sort of looking for their identity here two weeks into the seaso[...]



Giants' offense warms up in home opening loss

2018-04-03T19:32:31.172-07:00

It's been a bit of a frustrating start for the Giants. Before Ty Blach was hammered for 10 hits and 6 earned runs in Tuesday's home opener, they had been getting solid starting pitching but the offense was not there. On Tuesday vs. Seattle, the starting pitching wasn't there, and the offense showed up a little too late.

(image) Of course we don't want to get too down after the first five games, but if I said I wasn't a little worried about the squad right now it would be a lie. However, I really feel that, after that rough first inning, Tuesday was the best Giants' showing of the season. They scored the most runs they've scored all year long in one game, got at least one important bat going in Evan Longoria, and the bullpen continued to lock things down. As it really has since game 3 in LA, they've been having really one bad inning in the field/on the mound which has really cost them. If you take away that 4-run first the Mariners tagged Blach for, they likely come away with a W Tuesday. But the important thing in this long season is they did show some signs of life and some signs that the offense is on the verge of breaking out.

Joe Panik launched one into the arcade above the right field wall for the team's first run of the game, then Evan Longoria also knocked one out to bring the Giants to within 3 in the 7th inning. Panik had been the lone offensive bright spot coming into play Tuesday, and it looked like that would continue until the later innings when the Giants rallied a little. I'm trying to focus more on the positive today, as it was the home opener and it was a tremendous opening ceremony for the club in their 60th year in San Francisco. So on that note, I'm not going to delve too much into the starting rotation and my worries there, and instead, focus on what went right for them Tuesday. Getting Longoria going was huge and you could almost see that one coming as he just missed a couple in LA and then just got under one in either his first or 2nd at-bat Tuesday. I almost went on Twitter and predicted a Longo HR before it happened but I didn't quite make it in time. Hopefully Andrew McCutchen is the next one to really break out.

Aside from Longoria and Panik's home runs, Austin Jackson also drove in a run, Buster Posey looked good at the plate despite going 1-4 and Gregor Blanco continues to really impress offensively coming off the bench as he knocked a double down the left field line that stayed fair by about an inch. So, although it's coming together a little slower than hoped, it looks like the gears are starting to move on offense.

I also wanted to again, tip my cap to the bullpen, who did an excellent job in the 4 2/3 innings they picked up after Blach was knocked out. Rookies, Reyes Moronta and Pierce Johnson as well as veterans, Cory Gearin and Sam Dyson all combined to do their part to keep the Giants in the game and it was almost enough. They got their tying run to the plate in the bottom of the 8th but obviously couldn't quite come back from the 5-run deficit on this day.

So it definitely didn't go the way the Giants' drew it up but there were a few positives that hopefully carry over into Wednesday's ballgame. However, their back at the top of the rotation again and will face Felix Hernandez so they certainly have a tough assignment ahead. The Giants will counter with their best arm in their current rotation though in Johnny Cueto and I'm expecting the Giants to get back into the W column and even things up at 3-3.



Giants move to 2-0 behind Panik, Cueto

2018-03-31T13:44:36.010-07:00

If you would have told me that the Giants would have only scored 2 runs total in the first two ballgames of the season vs. the Dodgers, I would have for surely predicted an 0-2 start. However, 2 games into the 2018 season, and the Giants have a lot to be optimistic about after starting out 2-0.I know it's way too early to be too optimistic about things, but two things that were a big mess for this team in 2017, the pitching and the defense, have looked great in the first couple of games of 2018. Johnny Cueto followed up Ty Blach's brilliant outing in the opener with an even better showing Friday night at Dodgers Stadium. The pivotal Giants arm, and their ace until Madison Bumgarner comes back, looked the part on Friday, keeping the ball down and where he wanted it throughout the night yielding only a little bloop single to Chris Taylor. That was the one and only hit the Dodgers would have on this night, as Cueto went on to go 7 strong, allowing just the one baserunner and striking out 4. He was hitting his spots, his changeup and slider had bite and he was hitting 93-94 with the heater when he needed crank it up a little. Tremendous start, despite taking the no-decision. And once again, the bullpen came through when called upon, as Tony Watson threw a perfect 8th and new closer Hunter Strickland struck out 2 in a perfect ninth to shut the door on LA.I mean, you can basically take yesterday's game recap and place it in tonight's spot all-around. Once again, the offense had some baserunners on, thanks in large part to the Dodgers' 4 errors, but they couldn't capitalize with the small-ball approach. So for the second night in a row, they counted on the long ball to get them on the scoreboard, and for the second night in a row Joe Panik was the bat that provided it. I tweeted yesterday after the game that Panik looks like a different hitter this year, much like Strickland has looked like a different pitcher. Panik's swing looks as quick as ever and I don't think it's a fluke that he's hit two home runs in the first two games. This guy's always had some sneaky power and hit 10 jacks each of the last two seasons, but I really think he could have a breakout year at the play this year, especially run-production wise. He's going to be hitting either leadoff or second in every game, which places him in ideal spots now that the Giants have a more formidable middle of the order. The heart of the order hasn't done much yet in the first couple of games, but eventually they'll find their groove and when they do, it's going to result in even more pitches for Panik to hit.As far as Strick's concerned, I talked yesterday about how he really looks like an improved and much more focused pitcher this year. His new pitch arsenal has definitely given the Dodgers fits so far, and to be completely honest, much like Panik, I could see him keeping this success up all season long. Now of course he's not gonna strike out 2 every night and have perfect innings, but I think 2018 is going to be a special year for him. In fact, if he does keep this up and Melancon misses significant time (like a month or more), I don't think it should just be an automatic removal of Strickland from the closer's spot in favor of the projected closer. Melancon has not yet looked very well at all in a Giants uniform, and while you never want to take away a job from a proven big leaguer because of injury, I think at the very least Melancon should need to earn that ninth inning back. Don't get me wrong, this bullpen needs both pitchers to be good in order to be clicking on all cylinders, but I would not mess with Strickland in the ninth. At least not until either he falters or Melancon comes back and shows he can be just as effective as the big right-hander has been since the beginning of spring.As for Panik, I'm just gonna make this prediction now, and you may think I'm crazy but this guy, like I said, has a prime spot in the order and looks very good at the plate. It wouldn't surprise me to see him hit 15+ out this sea[...]



Opening Day 2018: Giants, Blach blank LA

2018-03-29T23:12:39.945-07:00

Baseball is back ladies and gentlemen! And taking into account all the bad news the Giants have received regarding their starting pitchers and now their closer, Mark Melancon, it makes this victory that much sweeter.Ty Blach, filling in for what should have been another Opening Day start from Madison Bumgarner, did his best Bumgarner impression, tossing 5 shutout innings, holding the Dodgers to just 3 hits and really staying in control of this game. In fact, on this night, Blach looked even better than Clayton Kershaw, who was on his game himself. The only difference in this game came on one swing of the bat from Joe Panik as he barely hooked a towering home run inside the right field foul pole off the Dodgers' ace for the games only run. The Giants were threatening in the first couple of innings with multiple base-runners and repeatedly were unable to cash in as Kershaw was doing what Kershaw does so well. So who knows how things would have shaken out had Joe Panik not inched that ball fair down the right field line? It doesn't matter, cause he did, and the team then did everything they had to from that point on in order to take this ball game.This one very much had a special feel to it. It had the postseason-type atmosphere almost because it was opening day and because it was the revamped Giants vs. the Dodgers in LA who are coming off a big letdown in the World Series last fall. You know all they're thinking about is getting back to the postseason and figuring out how to take it all this time. All the Giants are trying to do is stay afloat until they get their three most pivotal pitchers back. In Bumgarner's spot though, as I said, Blach looked really, really good on Thursday. He was hitting his spots and even had some decent life on his fastball which was reaching the low-90's. Then, perhaps just as impressive as Blach's front-5 innings were, the Giants bullpen matched it over the final 4 frames, as Josh Osich came in for the 6th and showed why the Giants have always been so high on his left arm. He was hitting 96 and throwing that heavy sinker and essentially looking like a left-handed version of Hunter Strickland.Speaking of Strickland, the right-hander has been thrust into the closer's role with Mark Melancon's unsurprising return to the DL to start the year. It could be a while before Melancon gets back so Stick is going to be as important as ever this year as he tries to make that leap into the ninth inning. I think this dude is ready though. After the incredible spring he had, not allowing a run, which is really saying something when pitching in the light spring air in Arizona, and the added slider to his arsenal, the 29 year-old flame thrower looks primed for a breakthrough year. Especially if he's closing a lot of games and proves he can do it regularly. As down as I am about losing Melancon again, he's the easiest loss of the three pitchers the Giants have lost to stomach, just because I think Strickland can close games and be nearly, if not just as effective as Melancon.The big worry I have about Melancon hitting the DL is how it stretches the bullpen much thinner, but on Thursday, they showed reason for optimism. After Osich's dominant 6th, Cory Gearin, who was the teams most effective reliever a year ago, tight-roped out of the 7th inning stranding a runner on third, thanks to his Sergio Romo like slider. Finally, setting up Strick on Thursday night was lefty Tony Watson, who was such a big add to the staff at the start of spring and he showed why with his flawless 8th inning.The Giants did everything they needed to do to beat Kershaw in the opener. They played solid D, and although they didn't cash in with RISP, they did get a clutch swing of the bat that put them in a lead they never surrendered. They're going to have to keep doing the small things well in order to keep surviving without their top arms too. I think this team has enough talent and veteran influence that nothing will get them too down, and they should have t[...]



2018 MLB preview/predictions: NL West

2018-03-31T22:55:13.662-07:00

Spring Training is over everyone, and in about 24 hours from posting this, we/re going to see what the new look Giants will look like when games start counting for real!I know we're all still reeling a little from the Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija news. Now there's a chance closer Mark Melancon starts the year on the DL, or at the very least will be on limited duty to start the year, which would add that much more pressure onto the pitching staff. However, if the Giants are truly a team built to win and play in October, they will find a way to survive until they get their two horses back.Being a Giants site, I'm not gonna lie and say we're not a little biased in picking the Giants to clinch a wild card spot, but if they survive until they get their starters back and Melancon can comfortably throw when needed, then they'll be in position to do just that. Here's how we see the NL West breaking down in 2018.1st Place, Los Angeles DodgersLineup:CF Chris Taylor (R)SS Corey Seager (L)LF Matt Kemp (R)1B Cody Bellinger (L)RF Yasiel Puig (R)C Yasmani Grandal (S)3B Logan Forsythe (R)2B Enrique Hernandez (R)*3B Justin Turner expected to miss at least first 6 weeks of seasonBench:C Austin Barnes (R)OF Joc Pederson (L)OF Andrew Toles (L)IF Chase Utley (L)The Dodgers will be dealing with a tough injury loss as well to star the year, although at nowhere near the level of the Giants losses. Justin Turner could miss the season's first 2 months but there hasn't been an exact timetable set on his return. Still, the Dodgers have plenty enough depth within their lineup to overcome that loss for the time being, They have a nice mixture of youngsters and productive veterans in their starting lineup, with the return of veteran Matt Kemp but led by one of the leagues brightest young sluggers in Cody Bellinger as well as all-star shortstop Corey Seager.Rotation:LHP Clayton KershawClayton KershawLHP Alex WoodRHP Kenta MaedaLHP Rich HillLHP Hyun-Jin RyuBullpen:CL Kenley Jansen RHSU Josh Fields RHLHP Tony CingraniRHP Pedro BaezOf course, we all know how strong their rotation is led by perennial Cy Young candidate and the consensus top starter in the game, Clayton Kershaw. Last year, we saw Alex Wood and Rich Hill also pitch at all-star levels so not only are they talented but they are deep. Their bullpen is just about as strong as their rotation too, led by ace closer Kenley Jansen who is essentially the Kershaw of closers. They have five relievers who finished 2017 with an ERA under 3, so if your going to beat them, your going to have to get to them early because not a lot of leads are going to be coughed up by that bunch.The Dodgers are the head of the one of the best divisions in baseball, so they'll have some heat on them, but they have more than enough talent to outlast everyone in this division, and after finishing a game short a their first World Series ring since 1988, I expect them to be as motivated as ever in 2018.2nd Place, Arizona Diamondbacks (NL Wild Card #1)GoldyLineup:LF David Peralta (L)CF A.J. Pollack (R)1B Paul Goldschmidt (R)3B Jake Lamb (L)RF Stephen Souza Jr. (L) *(will start season on DL)2B Chris Owings (R)/Ketel Marte (S)C Alex Avila (L)SS Nich Ahmed (R)Bench:OF Jarrod DysonOF Chris Hermann (L)UT Daneil Descalso (L)The D-Backs could not retain free agent J.D. Martinez, who was instrumental in their success last summer and a primary example of what you want a trade deadline acquisition to do for your team. In his stead though, they still should have enough offense to keep pace with most teams in this league and they still have perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt to give opposing pitchers nightmares. The wild card for them could be Steven Souza, who was acquired in spring training coming off a 30-HR campaign with the Rays and potentially building off that in the offensive friendly environment that is Chase Field. They also have a dynamic top of the order with the steady David Peralta and A.J. Pollack as th[...]



Giants reportedly looking into adding starting pitcher

2018-03-26T03:45:39.197-07:00

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network and Fox Sports, the Giants are looking into adding another starting pitcher to their rotation, although it likely won't be via trade.

Obviously the Giants rotation is in disarray after the losses of both Bumgarner (out first two months of season) and Samardzija (out first month of season). And being in a year in which they're really trying to go for it, it's no surprise they'll be looking into adding another starter to their roster, possibly before opening day. Morosi said that his source says it's probably not gonna be through a trade. So either the Giants will take a look at the scrap heap that is released here in the final days before the seasons starts, or they'll take a look at some guys already on the market.

(image) The two guys I see as the most logical fits, if they can get here and somehow be ready to go for the Giants in a couple weeks when they first will need to use a 5th starter, are Matt Garza and R.A. Dickey. The 34 year-old Garza was strong in his first 16 starts last season in Milwaukee, posting a 3.68 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a .248 BAA but then suffered some sort of injury and wasn't the same pitcher for most of the 2nd half. Dickey, on the other hand, was pretty strong from start to finish last season, posting 10 wins (would have led Giants), a 4.26 ERA (would have been 2nd behind Bumgarner) and threw 190 innings at age 42, (which would have been good for 2nd behind Samardzija on the Giants). Yes, he is 43 now, but he showed last year he still can get guys out at a better rate than a lot of guys.

The thing about both pitchers too, is that I believe both would be willing to take minor league deals, as that's pretty much all the Giants can offer at this point anyway. If I had to chose between the two I'd probably go Dickey, just because of how solid he was last year, although either would look great as 5th starters at this point and provide the team with another veteran arm so they're not relying on a bunch of guys with limited or no big league experience.

John Lackey is the only other name that I know for sure is still floating out there, but he apparently is willing to hang em up and retire if he doesn't get the right offer, and he may not view a minor league deal from a team that lost 98 games a year ago as just that. However, if the Giants guaranteed him a rotation spot for the full season-as long as he pitched well enough to hold it- then he may remember that a lot of these guys have won multiple tittles, and they revamped this winter., He could see that, when they get healthy and everyone back with still hopefully 4+ months of baseball left, they've got something good going and that bringing him in would only improve the team that much more.

Anyway, we'll see where it goes, and if they are able to get anything done before the opener. Again, there also could be some names hitting the streets pretty soon too that don't quite make other teams rosters and are out of options or big league guys that get released instead of accepting a AAA role to see what else is out there. I wouldn't hold my breath for anyone bigger than the three names I mentioned, but you never know, I'm just trying to stay more optimistic than pessimistic at this point but it's challenging for sure.



2018 MLB Previews/Predictions: NL Central

2018-03-28T17:09:32.398-07:00

After the tough pill to swallow that is the Madison Bumgarner injury (more on that in this post), we have to tread forward and we're going to try and get our minds off it for a few minutes by continuing our season previews. Last week we started with the NL East and today we'll be dissecting the NL Central. Without further ado, let's get to it.1st Place, Chicago CubsLineup:CF Ian Happ (S)3B Kris Bryant (R)1B Anthony Rizzo (L)C Wilson Contreras (R)MVP Candidate Kris BryantLF Kyle Schwarber (L)SS Adison Russell (R)RF Jason Heyward (L)2B Javier Baez (R)Key Reserves:UT Ben Zobrist (S)OF Albert Almora (R)Rotation:LHP Jon LesterRHP Yu DarvishRHP Kyle HendricksLHP Jose QuintanaRHP Tyler ChatwoodKey Relievers:CL Brandon Morrow RHSU Pedro Strop RHThe Cubs should skate to a relatively easy division tittle as they have the talent and experience others in this division do not, but they aren't quite the powerhouse they were a couple years ago. They were able to replace the loss of Jake Arrieta with Yu Darvish, which is essentially a wash, but they lost Wade Davis and are heading into the season with Brandon Morrow as their closer, a guy who's never closed on a regular basis. They have enough bullpen depth though to where they should be successful no matter who's getting their last three outs. The lineup should be just as strong as ever, although they are a little top heavy. As dangerous as Baez, Heyword and Russell can be, they also are guys who won't hit much higher than .250 and all three will strike out over 150 times if given 500+ at-bats. Still though, they have enough talent and depth in their rotation to be major players once again in National League and if any need arises in season, you can bet that they'll address it before the trade deadline as they have in recent seasons.2nd Place, Milwaukee BrewersLineup:RF Christian Yelich (L)CF Lorenzo Cain (R)LF Ryan Braun (R)3B Travis Shaw (L)1B Eric Thames (L)C Manny Pina (R)CF Lorenzo Cain2B Jonathan Villar (S)SS Orlando Arcia (R)Key Reserves:OF Domingo SantanaOF Keon BroxtonUT Eric SogardRotation:RHP Chase AndersonRHP Zach DaviesRHP Jhoulys ChacinLHP Brent SuterRHP Junior Guerra* RHP Jimmy Nelson expected back mid-seasonKey Relievers:CL Corey Knebel RHPSU Josh Hader LHPSU Jacob Barnes RHPThe Brewers have the most outfield depth in the game, as Broxton and Santana would be starters on most teams yet will begin the year, at least, as backups. Due to that fact, it's a little surprising they went after both Yelich and Cain this winter, but they ended up with both and now have a very imposing front-5 of their batting order. Their rotation isn't great, but it's solid, and they will be getting last years ace, Jimmy Nelson, back sometime around mid-season which will essentially be like trading for a front of the rotation starter without giving up anything. They have the proven closer, but their bullpen has a lot of young arms, but they are live arms and seem to be up to the task. The Brew crew should very much be in the wild card hunt and in my opinion have more talent than the Cardinals. They gave the Cubs a late season push there in the Central last September and they've now added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yellich to a team that won 86 games last season and came just short of a Wild Card birth. They'll again be on the Cubbies heels in 2018, although not quite at the point to overtake them atop this division although I expect them ahead of St. Louis for the second straight season.3rd Place, St. Louis CardinalsLineup:CF Dexter Fowler (S)RF Tommy Pham (R)1B Matt Carperntar (L)LF Marcell Ozuna (R)3B Jedd Gyorko (R)C Yadier Molina (R)SS Paul Dejong (R)2B Kolton Wong (L)Key Reserves:OF Tyler O'Neill (R)UT Jose Martinez (R)Rotation:Ace Carlos MartinezRHP Carlos MartinezRHP Adam WainwrightRHP Michael WachaRHP Luke WeaverRHP Mike MikolasKey Relievers:RHP Luke GregorsonRHP Bud NorrisThe Cardinals are definitely a flawed team. While they[...]



Madison Bumgarner out 6-8 weeks with fractured hand

2018-03-23T21:51:57.940-07:00

Well the Giants got just about the worst news they could have received on Friday afternoon, as the dark cloud of bad luck that has haunted this team since the second half of 2016 looks to continue, at least to start the 2018 season.As most of you reading this already know by now, the Giants lost their ace for the foreseeable future in sadly, what was his tune-up start for his would be opening day assignment in LA. Granted, the news could have been worse and it could have been a season-ender, at this point it almost feels like one, and the season hasn't even started yet. We all saw how tough it was on the team last year when they lost their horse for 3 months in the middle of the season and things eventually spiraled out of control into the worst Giants' season in years. This one hurts even more though because of all the expectations that surrounded the club and the offensive makeover they went through in the offseason to provide the club with more depth in their lineup. It could all be for nothing if the team cannot find a way to survive without Bumgarner until most likely late-May or early June, and that's best case scenario. Being that the injury is to his pitching hand, it's any one's guess as to how it will effect the left-hander once he is able to start throwing again and exactly how long it will take him to get back into the form he was in prior to the injury.Besides it being the start of a new year with a new revamped ball club, the news is especially hard because of the way Bumgarner has looked this spring. This guy came to camp with a chip on his shoulder after a disastrous 2017 season, by his standards. After missing half the year, he returned only to wind up going 4-9 with his second worst ERA of his career, albeit only at 3.32. Needless to say, the left-hander cranked up has offseason workout regimen, reporting to camp in top shape and it reflected in the way he was throwing.Now with this injury, coupled with Jeff Samardzija's injury and Johnny Cueto not showing off his best stuff in just a few spring outings, the Giants starting rotation has gone from their foundation to a bigger question mark than their bullpen. I would expect Johnny Cueto to take the ball on March 29th in LA, but if that is indeed the case then he'd have to get in some work somewhere on Saturday as he's pitched only 9 1/3 innings in the Cactus League and, again, they haven't been all that pretty. Being that Jeff Samardzija is also slated to miss at least the season's first few weeks, he won't be in the mix either, so it would then likely fall on either Chris Stratton or Derek Holland. Stratton has been a bright spot since last September, but he's a far cry from a healthy, determined Madison Bumgarner. Holland has thrown pretty well this spring, but is coming off a season in which he posted a 6+ ERA and who knows what kind of pitcher you'll get when he starts facing nothing but big league bats and the games start mattering. The Samardzija and Bumgarner injuries now assure that Derek Holland will begin the 2018 season in the Giants rotation though, where exactly in that rotation is yet to be determined, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's their guy for game two if not the opener.This is going to be a true test for the Giants. We're going to see just how for real this club is right out of the gate. If they can somehow manage to stay at .500 or slightly above it in the absence of their ace, then they'll be in pretty good shape when he returns, all things considered. However, if they stumble out of the gate and fall down in the standings then this very well could be an omen for the 2018 season. As the old saying goes, you cannot win a division in the first month or two of a season, but you sure can lose one. It's gonna take some people stepping up, unlike they were able to do last season, as well as a little bit of luck in order to avoid the latter.[...]



2018 MLB Previews/Predictions: NL East

2018-03-29T17:09:14.155-07:00

We're getting towards the end of spring training, with under two weeks left until the regular season gets underway. And while the Giants have improved their roster this winter and will be expected to return to their winning ways after losing 98 ball games last summer, their most likely path to the playoffs will be via the Wild Card route.Of course, Major League Baseball is not the NBA, so although the Dodgers (barring some catastrophic injuries or under-performances) seem to have a strangle hold on the NL West heading into 2018, anything can happen in baseball. So, over the next few posts, we'll be breaking down each division in the National League and identifying the Giants biggest competition for those wild cards spots in-case they aren't able to dethrone LA from their pedestal atop their division.We'll start by taking a look at the NL East, picking how we think the division will break down come October, providing each teams projected lineups and rotations as well as their primary relief pitchers. We'll also do that for the Central in the next post and finish off with a much more in-depth look at the NL West. If we have time, we'll delve a bit into the American League but I definitely want to focus on the NL to start with. So with that being said, let's jump right into it.1st Place, Washington NationalsLineup:LF Adam Eaton (L)SS Trea Turner (R)RF Bryce Harper (L)3B Anthony Rendon (R)RF Bryce Harper1B Ryan Zimmerman (R)2B Daniel Murphy (L)CF Michael Taylor (R)C Matt Wieters (L)Key Reserves:UT Howie Kendrick (R)1B Matt Adams (L)Rotation:RHP Max ScherzerRHP Stephen StrasburgLHP Gio GonzalezRHP Tanner RoarkRHP Jeremy HellicksonKey Relievers:CL Sean Doolittle LHPSU Ryan Madson RHPIn one of the weaker divisions in the league, the Nationals should cruise to a relatively easy division tittle in 2018. They have some questions in the bottom half of their lineup, but their top-6 are up there with pretty much any team in the NL as Daniel Murphy has re-invented himself in Washington. As far as their rotation is concerned, they essentially have two aces in Scherzer and Strasburg and a solid number 3 in Gonzalez, but Roark and Hellickson, presumably in the 4th and 5th spots, aren't lights out, but they could be a lot worse. Their bullpen is probably my biggest concern with them. Sean Doolittle is a steady arm in the closers spot, but hardly a shut-down guy like a Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman, and their set-up man, Ryan Madson, is 37 years old and he's going to run out of steam eventually (although he's been nails the last couple of seasons). So long as their bullpen does their job, and like with any contender, they keep their core guys healthy, they've pretty much got their playoff tickets printed already.And just to give you a hint as to how much high-end talent this team has, I just had my fantasy draft and 4 of their players were taken within the top-30 picks, those being Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Max Scherzer, each taken in top-10, then Steven Strasburg who I ended up drafting with the 26th pick.2nd Place, New York MetsLineup:CF Juan Lagares/Michael Conforto* (R)2B Asdrubal Cabrera (S)LF Yoenis Cespedes (R)RF Jay Bruce (L)3B Todd Frazier (R)1B Adrian Gonzalez (L)\C Travis d'ArnaudSS Amed RosarioKey Reserves:IF Jose Reyes (S)*OF Michael Comforto (R) -expected back in MayIF David Wright (R) -out until JuneRotation:Ace Noah SyndergaardRHP Noah SyndergaardRHP Jacob deGromRHP Matt HarveyLHP Jason VargasRHP Zach Wheeler/LHP Steven MatzKey Relievers:CL Jeurys Familia RHPSU AJ RamosRHP Anthony SwarzakLHP Jerry BlevinsThe Mets have one thing that a lot of other teams don't have and that positional depth and that depth grows even more when Conforto and Wright return. Much like the Nats, the Mets have a great 1-2 punch atop their rotation, but things get a little unclear after that. The potential is there, with guys l[...]



Over halfway through Spring, 25-man roster decisions will go down to wire

2018-03-29T17:04:42.015-07:00

We're about halfway through the Cactus League schedule, with just over a couple weeks until the Giants open up their season in LA vs. the Dodgers on March 29th. After the mid-way point of spring training, teams start stretching out their starting players and pitchers a lot more as the season inches closer by the day, so expect to see roster competitions heat up over these last couple of weeks in the desert.Players in competition for roster spots really make or break it down the stretch, and the Giants have a few of those battles currently in progress. They have a utility infield spot up for grabs, as Pablo Sandoval will likely be the backup guy on the corners, meaning the Giants would need the other guy to be able to play up the middle (man would Eduardo Nunez look awesome right about now), giving guys like Chase d'Arnaud, Josh Rutledge and Orlando Calixte a legit shot to snag that role. They also still have their other two outfield spots, assuming they carry 5 outfielders to begin the year with as expected, very much still up in the air after their main three of Austin Jackson, Hunter Pence and Andrew McCutchen.As for the infield, d'Arnaud and Rutledge would seem to have the upper hand over Claixte because I believe Calixte still has options left whereas I don't think either d'Arnaud or Rutledge have any, but I'm not 100% sure about that and that could really come into play. Rutledge has been the better of the three though and has more experience than the other two. Anyhow, I like Kelby Tomlinson a lot too as a utility guy as he's a hustler and a gritty player who really fits well in this clubhouse and brings energy, but he hasn't performed as well as his competition this spring, and I don't think Bochy's as comfortable with him at short as he would be with Rutledge or d'Arnaud.As for the outfield, if we were going off production and ability, Steven Duggar and Mac Williamson should be joining the three outfielders we just mentioned to start the year, but again, players options cloud things up a little. Despite quite possibly being the Giants best and most dynamic hitter in camp, and a guy that Bruce Bochy just a few days ago compared to a young Steve Finley, I think the only way Duggar makes the team is if Bochy's planning on getting the kid at least half the playing time in center, otherwise it would really be a waste to his development and keep him stagnant instead of giving him everyday reps in AAA (at least to star the year). Gregor Blacno's had a solid spring though, the organization really likes Gorkys Hernandez (for some reason cause he's never really impressed me much at all aside from a few nice rundowns in center) and Jarrett Parker, who's been terrible this spring, is out of options and despite his bad spring, the Giants may find it tough to just give away a guy that could go to another team and hit 20+ jacks with regular playing time (see Adam Duvall).With the way things have gone thus far though, this is the lineup I'd expect to see on opening day in LA vs. Clayton Kershaw, as well as the bench, rotation and bullpen that will be active that game. Again, a lot can change over the next couple of weeks, but if spring were to end tomorrow, I really think this is who the Giants should take north with the big club\.*Note: This particular lineup is only for opening day vs. Kershaw, as I'm sure Boch will do a lot of lineup experimentation early on to find out what he thinks is the best way to go. The Giants do face lefty's in three of their first four games so expect A-Jax to be the primary CF'er and leadoff guy in those scenarios. Duggar, who IMO should make the team and split time with Jackson until one or the other separates themselves, has proven he can hit lefties this spring too, but there's no doubt that Jackson will be the guy on opening day at least, due to hi[...]



Giants off to nice start in Cactus League

2018-02-26T13:39:47.256-08:00

After the way things have gone the last season and a half, it's seemed like an eternity since the Giants been playing games with as much interest that's surrounded the first weekend of Spring Training. After adding Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, Austin Jackson concocted with optimism that the core of their ballclub will stay on the field this year, and you have the recipe for an enthusiastic fan base.It's strange how time can both seem drag on during some periods and to fly during others. It was a slow start to an offseason with a lot of question marks for the Giants, like waiting out the Giancarlo Stanton saga and dealing with the slowest moving and quietest free agency period in recent memory (maybe ever). Then they added 'Longo' and there was still some question as to what else they would do. After the McCutchen trade and their lone free agent acquisition in Austin Jackson, which felt like last week, time has flown and I think it's because a lot of people (or maybe I'm just speaking for myself) were very stoked for the spring to start. Now all of the sudden the squad is three games deep into Cactus League play and we have actual baseball to talk about. For the most part, that talk is all good, as we've seen a few things this team can feel encouraged by. Now unfortunately for game analysis sake, I was out of town and unable to listen to the games this weekend on the radio, but you can bet that I was scouring the web for everything Giants related while not out and about in Southern California the last few days. Again, I only got to hear a little bit of the end of Sunday's game, the wrap up and Marty Laurie's postgame show, and pretty much everyone around the club is excited about what's going on in Scottsdale. First off, I want to start in center field, and while the newest Giant and expected opening day starting centefielder, Austin Jackson, has yet to make his spring debut, the prospect that was probably discussed most this offseason has certainly been the center of attention. Stephen Duggar led off the first game of spring, and ended up going 1-3, that hit being a 2-out, 2-run double. The 24 year-old didn't play in Saturday's game against the Dodgers but was right back out there Sunday coming in after Gorkys Hernandez drew the start, and ended up launching a 2-run jack in the 9th inning. The guy who was going to be the centerfielder before the Jackson signing is showing early on that even though the Giants did bring in the veteran Jackson, Duggar still very much wants to be in the running for a roster spot as well as still being an integral part in center field.He wasn't the only young Giants' outfielder who's had an impact in the teams first few games. Mac WIlliamson, at 27 years-old and still pretty young, isn't quite considered a prospect at this point of his career, yet whether it's been injury or the inability to find a spot to play, he's not been the player that many were hoping and expecting him to be. He's gotten himself off to a pretty nice start in exhibition play though, as he's in the running for one of the Giants expected 2 outfield bench spots. Assuming Duggar stays healthy and proves his first couple of games have not been a fluke, you'd have to imagine him locking down one of the roles. He's looked better than his biggest competitor, Gorkys Hernandez, plus has more upside than Hernadez as well as the left-handed bat to counteract Jackson, but of course we have 4 weeks of baseball between now and opening day. Because of their ability to play center field, it's likely that either Duggar, Blacno or Hernandez get will get a spot, so that would leave only one spot open for two of those three in addition to Williamson, Jarrett Parker and Austin Slater. So far, again, in the infant stages of spring training, Williamson has been the [...]



Giants sign much needed reliever in Tony Watson

2018-02-18T04:11:27.196-08:00

Within 24 hours of me posting yesterday’s post, asking the Giants to go out and sign another left-handed reliever like Tony Watson, they did precisely that.

(image) According to ESPN and many other sources, the Giants came to terms with the lefty on a deal which the exact terms are a little unclear at the time of writing this. I've heard anywhere from $9M over the next two seasons with incentives and options in there that could make it bigger. I've also heard it could be as low as a 2-year deal in the $7M range. The incredible thing about this deal though is that the Giants were creatively able to get him signed without going over the luxury tax threshold, which I'm still unclear on how they were able to do so. I just heard the news and haven't investigated the money part of it too deeply, but one thing I know for sure is this is a huge move for the club. As I said just 24 hours ago in yesterday's post, relief pitching, particular of the left-handed variety, was perhaps the biggest question mark on the team. Now with Watson in tow, at least now they have two quality lefties they can throw at you in Smith and Watson. It also will allow them to baby Smith back from TJ surgery and not force him into big innings upon his return which is now expected to be early May. That piece of information makes this an even better move for the Giants, and the fact that they were able to get it done without going into the luxury tax violation had to have taken some creative thinking to say the least.

So two thumbs up to Evans and Sabes for getting that done. I still would love to see them round things out with another veteran starting pitcher to throw into the 4th/5th starters battle this spring, however, but that's really the last thing they really need heading in. Our next post will be our 2018 Giants preview, and it's gonna be so nice to be able to type Watson's name into the relief pitching roster and not need to count on both Josh Osich and Stephen Okert out of the gate. Big move for the Giants to say the least as Watson was money down the stretch for LA, has pitched well in the playoffs and should immediately become one of the top 3 or 4 arms in that bullpen. So long as Derek Law and Mark Melancon rebound after treacherous seasons a year ago and, again, Smith gets back into the swing of things early on in the season (hopefully not in mid-June), this bullpen has the arms and the talent to be a strong group. Assuming Smith is healthy for opening day, it looks like your 7 relievers are pretty much set now as follows:

CL Melancon
SU Strickland/Dyson
SU Smith/Watson
RH Strickland/Dyson
LH Smith/Watson
RH Derek Law
RH Corey Gearin

*Either LH P's Josh Osich or Derek Holland are likely candidate to take Smith's spot until he returns, which is expected to be by May 1st.

Again though, the key to this squad will be all about health, because if they're healthy, they're going to be just fine!




After active offseason, Giants report to Scottsdale

2018-02-17T17:52:51.256-08:00

They're baaaack! After a strange, slow start to the offseason, The Giants were arguably the most busy team in baseball this winter, making three significant moves that they hope will help turn their fortunes around in 2018 after a dismal '17 season. The Giants have been lacking thump in their lineup really every since Pablo Sandoval left and Busey Posey and Hunter Pence (for different reasons) both have seen their power numbers plummet over the last few seasons. This winter, they were able to tune up their offense in a big way, bringing in former all-stars and MVP candidates in Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria, while also finding themselves a capable defensive and productive offensive centerfielder in Austin Jackson. Now all three additions are 30+ years of age so the Giants clear goal is to really go all out for another ring over the next year or two.  And while they were able to fix up their offense while also improving their all-around defense, the one area the team did not add to, in fact they subtracted from, was their pitching staff. Both their starting rotation and bullpen where issues last season and were contributors to the near 100-loss season, maybe not quite as much as the potent-less offense, but certainly an area of concern heading into the offseason.Fast forward to this week when pitchers and catchers reported to Scottsdale to get the 2018 season's beginning stages underway, and they still have not been able to really find any sure fire upgrades to either the bullpen or the starting rotation. They, in fact, lost a starter who wasn't very good in 2017, but still has the potential to be solid #3 starter when he's on in Matt Moore, but giving up more was essential in clearing cap space for 'Cutch and 'Longo. By giving up their expected fourth starter though, it's created somewhat of a void in their rotation. Granted, based off last years numbers, Ty Blach, the guy expected to take Moore's rotation spot, was a little better than Moore was, but Moore has the ability to be much better than Blach. To me, Blach is best suited at doing what's needed out of the bullpen while bringing the ability to spot start rather than being penned into the rotation with 30+ starts in mind. Chris Stratton's performance down the stretch last season has basically positioned himself into the fourth starters spot, unless he absolutely tanks this spring. It's entirely possible that both Blach and Stratton struggle this spring as both are still pretty unproven at the big league level.The Giants did bring in Derek Holland for extra support but he's a guy who's coming off the worst season of his career which made Blach look like Clayton Kershaw in comparison. So it's doubtful, unless Holland's down year was due to an injury that's all of the sudden behind him and he's back in 2013 form, that this guy really has any sort of role for the Giants, at least out of the gate. The team is also said to be looking at Tim Lincecum, who impressed onlookers with his recent workout this week. Although 33 years of age now, Timmy has pretty much had the last 2 seasons off, so he should be pretty fresh and his velocity, which sat between 90-93 MPH, was his best posting since 2013 if I'm not mistaken. I think it was 2014 when his velocity dipped below 90 on average though he was still touching 90-91, but if he is indeed back to above 90 MPH with the heater and he's got command of it and still has his secondary pitches, then he would be well worth a roll of the dice in my opinion. He's a guy who could join the battle for the final 2 rotation spots as well as present an option for long/mid-relief for Bochy. Nobody knows Timmy like the Giants do though, so if they see something in him that they believe will yield some re[...]



Giants ink Derek Holland for SP depth

2018-02-14T02:33:13.306-08:00

The Giants, in their search for pitching help for the low, aka the bargain basement of the free agent pool, found their first arm they've inked all season long, signing former Ranger's LHP Derek Holland to a minor league deal on Friday. Far from the level of guys I was hoping they'd be able to lure in on a minor league deal or Major League minimum, Holland will come in and join the competition for the two remaining rotation spots that are up for grabs. I mean, I get the deal in the sense that the Giants need some pitching depth that has major league experience and Holland will provide that and be there in case Chris Stratton, Ty Blach or Tyler Beede don't pan out this spring. However, that being said, I really was hoping the team would be able to get someone with a little more success in recent seasons. Now, the good part of this deal is that it's a minor league deal and won't preclude them from adding another starter with a better chance at making their rotation as we get closer to the season. With the amount of pitchers still looking for work, they may just get lucky and land someone on a minimum deal they could add incentives to. Holland, though, cannot be counted on for very much as he hasn't put together a full successful big league campaign since 2013. He's also coming off the worst season of his career last summer with the White Sox, in which he posted a 6.20 ERA and 1.71 WHIP over 26 starts. Granted, he may not have been 100% healthy, he's been trending down for a few seasons now and he's 31 years old. Unless the Giants found themselves a Ryan Vogelsong part 2, another player who re-invents their career after multiple down or injury-plagued seasons, then he probably will reside in AAA for most of 2018.As I mentioned before though, there are still names out there like R.A. Dickey, Jeremy Hellickson, Jaime Garcia and John Lackey, that may have to settle for a much lesser deal than I think all of them were anticipating. Hellickson and Garcia should almost certainly get deals out of the Giants price range, but it's been a weird offseason and if they're still looking for work in March, they may have to take what they can get. SF could provide a place to boost their value for next winter while playing for a team with hopes of contention. As for Lackey and Dickey, they could be appealing because both of those guys are coming off of decent seasons and at their age they've earned plenty and may be seeking a team that will give them a chance to win. Lackey, in my opinion, should be the number one target. He's pitched so well in a hitters yard and division for the Cubs the last few seasons and heading into his age 39 season, Baseball Reference has him projected to throw 165 innings with a 4.09 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and nearly a K per inning. Those are good numbers for anyone, let alone a guy on doorstep of his 40th birthday. Dickey too would be an interesting option and I'm sure he wants a shot at a ring before he hangs em up. He's 43 years old, but his knuckle ball and pitching style allow him to stay successful as he hasn't posted an ERA above 4.46 since '09. If you put either Lackey or Dickey on this team last year, they'd have been the teams second best, most consistent starter after Samardzija.Those are the two I'm looking at mostly because their age won't require any long-term, high salaried contract, and they showed last season they still have some strong innings left in those right arms. I know the Giants seem to be prioritizing more bullpen help at this point, but as I've said in recent posts after they seemed to have shored up their lineup, they cannot neglect their rotation. Yes, their front-3, barring a return to health by Cueto and Bum, are as strong as most i[...]



Few questions remain, but offseason has sprung optimism

2018-02-05T00:59:28.187-08:00

We're just a couple weeks away from spring training kicking off, and with the Giants fanfest coming up next weekend, things are really starting to heat up and the expectations for this team will be as high as ever. Fans are excited about the makeover the team went through over the winter, and to see the new faces making up 3/8 of the teams starting lineup (including potential all-stars Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria in particular).While the team wasn't quite able to fill every single one of their needs (or at least haven't yet), they still made three huge additions that have most fans, including myself; optimistic that this team should be right back in the playoff mix in 2018. That said, they'll still need a lot of things to go right, even with their three big adds, in order to overtake the Rockies, D-Backs and/or Dodgers in attempt to birth another postseason appearance. Just getting into the tournament is so important to them because they don't always have the best regular season record, but something about this core, and their leader Bruce Bochy just clicks in October. Look no further as their 3 tittles in 4 postseason appearances since 2010 as evidence!But I digress back to the areas they weren't quite able to shore up, or at least haven't been able to do so yet. When you consider them on the doorstep of the CBT which they don't want to go over though, it's really left them with limited options in terms of trying to add depth to their pitching staff. Ideally, they could use a serviceable veteran starter who could take the 5th starter spot and allow Blach to slide back into a role I think he's most comfortable in and that's doing a little bit of everything out of the pen, from coming in to pitch 3-4 innings in mop-up duty, coming in to get a tough situational lefty out and also filling in as a spot starter as needed throughout the year. I just don't like him starting every fifth day because I don't think he has to stuff to really fool lineups on a regular basis more than maybe one-time around. However, due to their financial standing, the only way the Giants would be able to bring in another veteran arm to add to the mix would most likely be via a minor league deal (much like the one they inked with Gregor Blanco a few days ago), and I just don't know what pitchers would be willing to take that.If I'm Bobby Evans/Brian Sabean and Co., I'd be convincing guys like R.A. Dickey, Hector Santiago, Francisco Liriano and John Lackey to come aboard a potential contender at a discounted price with possible incentives. Any of those would all be welcome additions in my mind but the savvy vet Lackey probably has another decent season and I'd rate him atop the third-tiere starting pitchers. Francisco Liriano still has that nasty stuff that can win him 12-15 games while he strikes out a batter an inning but showed last season that he's just as likely to go wild and have a down season (5.66 ERA, 1.64 WHIP in just under 100 IP) but he obviously wasn't 100%. Only question with him is whether or not he can stay in the zone consistently. I'm just still not super keen on the idea of rolling into 2018 with two relatively big question marks filling out 2/5 of the rotation on a team that just made drastic attempts to their everyday bunch in order to get back to contending. I'd hate to see them treat the rotation/bullpen this year like they treated the outfield last year and just hoped and prayed that someone would step up and take left field, which obviously never happened.So, Liriano and Lackey would be my two top choices because they've been the most consistent in previous years and Lackey knows how to win and has a tittle under his belt. Sure, he's about[...]



Giants sign Austin Jackson to complete outfield

2018-01-23T00:38:20.400-08:00

No, he's not an earth shattering talent, but on Monday the Giants finally found the guy they expect to be their everyday center fielder, at least to start 2018, and that is veteran Austin Jackson. The Giants signed the soon-to-be 31 year old to a 2 year deal worth $6M guaranteed but has clauses in it that could bring the total value up around $8.5M. The deal doesn't come as a shock to me whatsoever, as the Giants made it clear after the McCutchen trade last week that they were still in on center fielders and that McCutchen would in fact move into right field to improve the outfield defense as a whole. I talked in our last post about how Jackson really has the best bat/glove combo out of the handful of center fielders the team was looking at. That group included Cameron Maybin, John Jay and Jarrod Dyson but none of those guys present the offensive upside that Jackson does. However, of the bunch, Jackson is at the bottom of the list in terms of defensive rating in center field. He's basically a league average defender there, which is a big improvement over Denard Span from a year ago, plus the arrival of Cutch in right and moving Pence over to left should result in a much better defensive lineup in the outfield than fans were forced to watch the last couple of seasons. What got him signed though, in my opinion, is his bat. Although he was injured for much of 2017, he appeared in 88 games, hit well over .300 and sported an OPS of .869, which would have led the Giants a year ago. It's still unclear on where exactly he'll slot into the lineup though. The logical choice would be to have him leadoff, but I saw a lineup posted today on one outlet that has Joe Panik sliding into the leadoff spot and Jackson down in the 8th spot. Wherever he hits, he is expected to be out there on opening day, as the signing leaves the Giants with maybe a million or so dollars left over to possibly throw at a veteran starting pitcher or reliever.Right now, they have Chris Stratton and Ty Blach penciled in as their 4th and 5th starters, but they may want to at least add some competition into that mix. Stratton looked strong, but Blach was pretty abysmal last season, especially in the second half, so banking on him as the fifth man may be asking a lot. Their payroll situation though doesn't allow them much breathing room and the most they could possibly offer someone at this point would be about $1M/season without going over the CBT. This is an area they probably will just wait out though and see what veteran arms are still looking for work after spring training kicks off next month and hopefully they can bring in someone halfway decent to lock down the fifth spot so Blach isn't forced into big innings. Jeremy Hellickson, Jaime Garcia or possibly R.A. Dickey may find themselves in that category looking for work when camps start up, but who knows if those guys would take the 1 year, $1M deal? I think all three would be interesting candidates to battle it out with Blach and Stratton for the two spots and create some real competition rather than forcing guys into the rotation because they simply have no other options.So, assuming this is the last move the Giants will make this offseason, do you think they've done enough to turn a 98-loss team into contenders in 2018? I think the answer is yes, although how serious of contenders will depend on how their returning guys like Pence, Cueto, Belt and Crawford perform after a lackluster 2017. I'll tell you this though, I'm excited about spring training starting and I look forward to seeing what this squad does once the bell rings on opening day. The Giants haven't had this much turnover to their s[...]



Giants trade for McCutchen, still have $4.4M to spend

2018-01-20T04:24:38.128-08:00

*Update added to bottom of post*With the clock ticking on the MLB offseason, the Giants finally made that big addition to their outfield we've been waiting for by obtaining Andrew McCutchen from Pittsburgh and likely ending their work for the winter. Whether they've done enough to fix the problems that cost the team just shy of 100 losses though remains to be seen.Early Monday morning, the Giants and Pirates struck the deal that brings the all-star outfielder to the bay area in exchange for Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds. Upon hearing this news, I wasn't surprised at all, the Giants have been linked to the outfielder all winter and after losing out on Giancarlo Stanton then Jay Bruce, it became apparent that McCutchen had moved atop the their wish-list. Although I know he's not the ideal, young stud outfielder the Giants can build around into the next decade or so, McCutchen's still an impact player and I really do like this trade. Much more so than the Evan Longoria trade, that's for sure. McCuthen's defense has slipped a little the last couple of seasons, but he's still a halfway decent center fielder. His bat, however, is clearly a strength, as he's coming off a nice rebound season at the plate (.279/.363/.486 with 28 HR, 88 RBI and 11 swipes) and he immediately becomes the teams second most valuable offensive weapon. The only questions that lie ahead for the newest Giant is where exactly in the outfield and in the lineup he'll slot in at.As of now, he's likely the teams opening day center fielder and leadoff man and with the team so close to the luxury tax penalty line, it's unlikely they'll be able to make any other noteworthy moves unless they somehow unload some more payroll in the process. I would really still like to see them bring in a more defensive minded center fielder, especially now that they appear to have upgraded the offense pretty significantly (as long as everybody doesn't fall off a cliff next season). Carlos Gomez and Jarrod Dyson, among others, still remain on the free agent market, but I don't think either guy will have to settle for a minor league deal and that's pretty much all the Giants are able to offer free agents at this point. I'm most intrigued by Gomez's dynamic abilities at the plate, and think he could be a 20-20 threat but patrolling center may be an issue for him on a day to day basis and the Giants have made it clear they want defense in center. Jarrod Dyson would look pretty good right about now, as he's sort of a Gregor Blanco-type with a little more bat though. Jon Jay is similar to Dyson, with more bat but not the speed or quite the defense but nice splits. Cameron Maybin really seems like the guy who's the most attainable though. Solid defender, but coming off terrible year at the plate.If the Giants can somehow finagle another starting caliber outfielder onto the roster to play center and leadoff, it would allow the Giants to run out a heart of the order containing McCutchen, Posey, Longoria and Brandon Belt. It's not necessarily the most intimidating middle-of-the-order in the league, but I think they have to be pretty pleased with where they are now compared to what they were trotting out there last summer. I know we all were hoping for Giancarlo Stanton heading into the winter, Longoria and McCutchen are nice fallback additions in the short term. I'm much more intrigued with McCutchen than I would have been with Jay Bruce and the Giants will have some options regarding McCuthen after the year rather than being tied to him for the next three-plus seasons like they would have been had they wound up with Bruce. In fact, with money [...]



Giants ink all arb. players, full focus now on OF

2018-01-15T02:31:27.686-08:00

On Friday, one day after it was announced that Jay Bruce, the outfielder seemingly destined for San Francisco instead wound up back with the Mets on a three-year deal, the team made progress in a different way, as they came to terms with all their arbitration eligible players. While that is a nice step for the team, avoiding any nasty arbitration hearings and getting all five guys taken care of well before spring training, it still leaves them with a couple of gaping holes in their outfield, as well as lesser needs in other areas. On Thursday though, it was announced that the one free agent outfielder most closely linked to the club and the one who's agent said "he'd be thrilled to join the Giants" actually inked with the New York Mets, taking away one of the Giants limited options for their corner outfield vacancy. Jay Bruce was considered the most likely of the free agent outfielders to join the Giants after his agent said those things about the Giants and after Bruce apparently realized he was going to have to settle for the three year deal rather than his preferred four-year pact. However, The Giants must have been offering him much less than the Mets were if he decided to take their 3 yr./$39M deal instead of joining the team that was supposedly at the top of his wish list heading into the winter. I gotta say, I was a bit surprised at the number Bruce got and it makes me wonder what the Giants were offering because if you would have told me the Giants could have gotten Bruce for three years for a total of less than $40M I probably would have gone forward with that move. My guess is the Giants' offer was closer to the $10-12/year range as Bruce's agent said that the Mets offered the slugger more money than any other potential suitor.So with the Bruce news, if I'm Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean, I would really try and woo Carlos Gonzalez at this point. He's not going to get as much as Bruce, and I would absolutely take the 32 year-old on a 1 or 2 year deal worth $12M per and I'd even throw in some incentives to make that deal potentially larger. Bruce's signing could end up working in the Giants favor if they are indeed able to pull off a deal like that with CarGo, but my guess is he'll wind up in Houston on a short-term deal where he'll not only have a chance to win, but also hit in a park similar to Coors Field and potentially boost his number from last season for another free agent run next winter. If I'm the Giants though, I'm doing all I can to get Gonzalez to come aboard, as he's the last corner outfielder on the market in their price range who can bring in the power they desperately need.I've been hearing more and more about Lorenzo Cain, but I just don't see him as a good fit for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he'd cost the team a few high-end draft picks in Junes amateur draft and this is not the winter the Giants want to forfeit draft picks if they can help it. Secondly, Cain is a nice hitter, but he's not great in any one area. In an average 162-game season, he's slashed .290/.342/.421 with 12 HR, 69 RBI and 27 steals over his career. He made the all-star team in 2015 and was third in the AL MVP voting that year, but aside from that one season he's been above average at best. I saw an article today about how "SF should set their sights on Cain" and if they somehow could get for a deal that Bruce just signed then maybe I'd consider giving up the picks, but I personally don't think Cain is the middle of the order bat that this team needs. Best case, he'd be the player Melky Cabrera was with the squad in 2012 (minus the PEDS and probably wit[...]



Giants' fans still waiting on next move

2018-01-12T00:19:09.504-08:00

We're now about a week into the new year and baseball business is beginning to pick up a little bit of steam, at least rumor wise. J.D. Martinez seems destined for Boston, and that should kick things into gear a bit on the free agency front and it appears all of the Giants potential options have now come to the forefront and it shouldn't be much longer before we see the next addition for the 2018 roster.So far, the names linked to the Giants have included about a half-dozen outfielders, as the team still has two gaping holes in left and center, and they're going to hope like heck they can land two of those 6-8 guys that have been linked to them or have been discussed by the team. The primary names linked to the team have been Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzalez, Jackie Bradley Jr., Billy Hamilton, Andrew McCutchen, Christian Yellich (although a long shot) and Jarrod Dyson. If I were to bet right this second on the most likely of the six to join the squad, I'd go with either CarGo or Bruce taking over a corner spot and Jarrod Dyson signed to play center. However, if they could somehow figure out a way to land both CarGo/Bruce for left and McCutchen for center, it would completely revamp their lineup and set theme up to be a force in 2018. The thing is, if they indeed brought in a Gonzalez on a new deal and absorbed most of McCutchen's $16M salary for 2018, it would put them well over the luxury tax threshold. So unless they get creative and defer some money, or maybe drop another big contract (which doesn't seem likely unless they found someone to take Belt and felt like Chris Shaw could take over 1B in 2018), they probably are only settling for one bigger budget signing or trade and a much smaller budget signing/trade for their outfield. With whatever may be leftover after that, they could look into pitching depth, but that does not seem high on their priority list.I really want to be optimistic about 2018, and be able to truly consider the Giants much improved from 2017 and a playoff contender next season, but I just don't see how they're going to be able to make the additions they absolutely need without getting into collective bargaining luxury tax penalty range. I mean, let's say they do finagle a trade for McCuthchen, or sign Bruce/CarGo and Dyson, it would still leave the Giants with question marks in right field, their bench, and the back-end of their rotation. In an ideal world, they could use another reliable late-reliever to throw in the mix, preferably left-handed, but two outfielders and a back-end starter completely outweigh any bullpen needs.The Giants' pen, if healthy, should be improved significantly in 2018. Mark Melancon should be back in top-end closer form and hopefully Will Smith will be back in his Milwaukee Brewer form after his major surgery last spring. If that's the case, then they'd be set at the back-end of the pen with Melancon closing and Hunter Strickland and Smith being the primary set-up guys. The mid-relief isn't terrible, but they need Derek Law back closer to his 2016 form rather than last years 5.00+ ERA and ridiculous 1.57 WHIP output. Cory Gearin is coming off a solid season and should have his spot locked in either as a  long reliever or in mid-relief and Sam Dyson, who thrived for the most part as the Giants closer in the seasons final two months, should find himself in some sort of role in the '18 pen.Sam Dyson's situation is tricky to predict though as he could settle in anywhere from being a set-up man to Melancon to being in middle relief or ending up not earning a job out of spring at all. I [...]



Slow moving market may help Giants in the end

2017-12-31T23:45:48.904-08:00

Back in October, after the Astros destroyed the Giants' arch nemesis LA Dodgers to win the '17 World Series, I was anticipating the Giants to be active early on in their attempt to upgrade their roster. However that simply has not been the case, not only with the Giants but with all of baseball as 9 of the top-10 ranked free-agents still unemployed as we enter 2018.Although it's become a bit of a trend in recent years for free agents/GM's and owner to wait things out a little more rather than rushing to sign players right away in November, usually things pick up significantly in December and certainly after the winter meetings and GM meetings pass. This year though, there really isn't a consensus top ranked free agent which usually sets the tone for the rest of the pack.So it's been a very bizarre offseason to say the least. It started off with all eyes on Giancarlo Stanton, as the reigning NL MVP held the keys as to what team he wanted to be dealt to, which led to him blocking a deal in place that would have sent the slugger to San Francisco while the Cardinals were right there with the Giants in the Stanton sweepstakes. Although not a free agent, Stanton was the biggest name on the market this winter and he thought to be sort of that market setter, or starter once his situation was resolved. The slugger ended up choosing to waive his no-trade to join the New York Yankees, spurning the Giants who were thought to be the favorites to land the slugger. It's now been a month since the trade though, and thins are still moving very slowly on the player movement front. Only five of the top-20 ranked free agents have found themselves homes, signifying that owners are simply not wanting to throw big money at players that aren't superstars just because they happen to be one of the better free agent options this winter. The Giants, for example, would probably have signed Jay Bruce within days of missing out on Stanton in years past, and given him the four-year deal he's still holding out for. This winter, they're in no rush to get anything done and they're not alone.Only a small percentage of The Sporting News' top 101 free agents for this offseason have found homes thus far. Something will eventually give though, and guys will start to sign, but I'm not quite sure what that thing that gets this offseason going will be. As I said, most people thought it would have been the Stanton trade, but that was resolved weeks ago and things have been as quiet as ever (free-agency wise). Maybe it won't be until J.D. Martinez and Yu Darvish sign but they don't seem close to landing anywhere from what I'm hearing. There have, however, been a few big trades, including the Giants landing Evan Longoria and Cardinals trading for Marcel Ozuna with both players being considered "consolation prizes" in the Stanton sweepstakes. The Giants and Cardinals, from all accounts, were the two teams that the Marlins had deals in line with only to have Stanton decline, instead holding out for New York.The question Giant's fans, as well as fans from most ball clubs, are now waiting on an answer for now is what happens next? When are we going to see thin another move made and things sort of shake up atop the free agency pool. For the Giants, they need to figure out how many more moves they're in position to make in order to improve the 2018 roster and not go over the luxury tax threshold? I firmly expect them to still bring in two outfielders, whether that's a trade and a signing or two signings. We know about Bruce being linked to the team. We know [...]



Evan Longoria joins Giants, but still plenty to do

2017-12-24T00:10:52.287-08:00

The Giants finally made their first big splash of the offseason, and while it was a far cry from a Giancarlo Stanton or Manny Machado trade, the move does makes them a better team then they were prior (how much so remains to be seen). The club doesn't appear to be stopping with just Evan Longoria either.With numerous holes remaining, especially in the outfield, the Giants now appear as if they're ready to go all out in attempt to compete again in 2018 and turn around, in one offseason, a team that was two losses shy of 100 in 2017.On Tuesday night the attempt officially began with the Giants and Rays striking the deal for Longoria. The trade sent Denard Span and Christian Arroyo as well as lower level minor league pitchers Stephen Woods and Matt Krook to Tampa for the star third basemen. Although still young players with upside, neither pitcher was very highly ranked in the Giants minor league system, so losing those two doesn't sting too badly. Losing Christian Arroyo, however, was a big one as he was one of the organizations most bright young players with a ton of potential and still just 22 years of age. The issue with Arroyo though, is that he;s much more valuable as a shortstop or second basemen at the major league level, and the Giants have those spots covered for years to come. He had more than a cup of coffee with the Giants in '17 and had a decent couple of weeks after his call-up, but his average started to plummet over time and then he got hurt and never really was much of a factor after that. In 124 at-bats, the 22 year-old hit just .192 with 3 jacks, 14 RBI and just 9 runs scored with the big club. Sure it was his first cup of coffee in the show but I just don't think the Giants were confident in him being their third basemen of the future and that made him expendable in a trade. He was one of the teams biggest trade chips so that tells me that a package headlining him wasn't going to fetch a talent higher than Longoria.Enough about the guys the Giants sent away, lets talk about the guy we'll be watching man the hot corner for the club for multiple seasons to come. Since coming into the league in 2008, Evan Longoria has been one of the best, most consistent all-around third basemen in all of baseball. The 32 year-old is a 3-time all-star, former rookie of the year, 3-time gold-glover and has finished within the top-10 of AL MVP voting four times in his 10-year career. That being said, he hasn't made the all-star team since 2010, but that can be attributed in large part to the AL being stocked with a lot of high end third basemen over the last 6-7 years. Looking at his most recent bodies of work though, Longoria has shown he's still got a lot of punch in that bat and his 2017 gold glove award proves he's still at the top of the game on the defensive end. His full season average slash line over his career is a very respectable .270/29/101/.823 with 38 doubles but I believe the defensive aspect of his game is what pushed the Giants over on him. If they signed Todd Frazier, the Giants would have gotten their 20-30 home run threat, but would not be getting the average that Longoria will hopefully provide nor the gold-glove caliber defense.Now, while the newest Giant has had a remarkably consistent career, some people are worried he's in the middle of his offensive decline, as he's sported an OPS over .800 just once in the last 4 seasons. That season, however, was the 2016 season which he blasted a career-high 36 big flies, drove in 98 and rocked 41 doubles to get to a .840 OPS[...]



What's next for SF after Matt Moore trade?

2017-12-17T01:44:28.615-08:00

The Giants dealt away their projected number 4 starter to the Texas Rangers on Friday afternoon for a couple of prospects that probably won't ever see the light of day on a major league roster. However, according to many sources throughout the league, this deal was primarily about clearing payroll for what many are speculating could be bigger move on the horizon for the club.The fact that they got some pretty pedestrian prospects in return tell me that this wasn't necessarily a move that suggests they're leaning toward rebuilding this offseason. Instead, the consensus is that the Giants made this move to clear some payroll, as we know they were approaching the luxury tax limit and another high-priced free agent, such as J.D. Martinez, would put them over the threshold and cost them a nice chunk of money in fines as a result. By dealing Moore, they do free up roughly $7M for 2018 and if I remember correctly from what was said on KNBR Friday, that leaves the Giants roughly $25M below the luxury tax threshold, meaning they could have wiggle room to sign someone like Martinez as well as another piece if they so choose. Aside from Martinez, the upper-echelon free-agents they've looked at are outfielders Jay Bruce and Lorenzo Cain as well as third basemen Mike Moustakas.The trade does take away a guy who, aside from a dreadful 2017 season which many are writing off as an aberration than the start of a decline for the 29 year-old lefty who was nails down the stretch and in the playoffs for the Giants after acquiring him the previous summer. I do think Moore will bounce back and return to the pitcher we saw in '16 rather than the guy we saw throughout 2017, so I'm hoping the Giants have a good plan in motion as a result of the deal aside from the acquisition of two mediocre-at-best pitching prospects. (Although one of the pitchers the Giants got, Israel Cruz, is still just 20 years old and has a lively arm, the kid was rocked in the majority of his 9 outings in the Arizona League leading to an ERA less than a tenth of a point below 6)The reason why this deal will hopefully lead to a bigger addition for the Giants is because of the timing. Moore is coming off his worst year in the big leagues and his trade value is at an all-time low. If the intention was to deal him in order to get the most value for him, they would have been better off waiting until the season started and allowed Moore some starts to show last season was a fluke. So essentially, if the Giants don't make another move this winter to counteract this trade, I would mark this one down as a big L for the organization just because trade values are higher in season and there would most certainly have been a desperate contender that maybe suffered an injury or realized they were an arm short and would have offered up significantly more than two "throw in" type of prospects. I guessSo, with that being said, this move certainly will now pose a question for the Giants management aside from what to do with the saved $9M and that is who will take Moore's spot in the rotation. Now Chris Stratton had a very solid finish to 2017 and appears to have the upper hand in terms of the fifth spot in the rotation, but now the Giants need to fill another slot in their five-man starting staff. They do have some internal options but all of them come with question marks. Ty Blach would appear to be the lead candidate at the moment, but after an impressive showing down the stretch in 2016, he was just about as bad as Moore was [...]



Giants hit winter meetings eager and open to deal

2017-12-12T03:26:04.093-08:00

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 [...]



Giants moving forward without Stanton, Ohtani

2017-12-10T00:33:22.283-08:00

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 Gon[...]



Giants still in on Stanton, though hurdles remain

2017-12-01T22:30:09.309-08:00

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[...]