Brian Sabean and those in the front office have not been dragging their feet in the offseason. Before the winter meetings the Giants have already made several moves – mostly in keeping some of their existing assets for a few more years. In case you need a summary of all the deals that have happened since the last pitch of 2013 at AT&T Park, here you go:
- Tim Lincecum (RHP) – re-signed for two years, $35M
- Tim Hudson (RHP) – two years, $23M
- Jose De Paula (LHP) – Added to 40-man roster
- Erik Cordier (RHP) – Added to 40-man roster
- Javier Lopez (LHP) – re-signed for three years, $13M
- Francisco Peguero (outfielder) – designated for assignment
- Johnny Monnell (catcher) – designated for assignment, traded to Baltimore for cash
- Jose Mijares – outrighted from 40-man roster
- Ryan Vogelsong (RHP) - re-signed for one year, $5M (plus incentives)
A lot of fans are upset with the Giants for not making many big moves so far, the two biggest gripes being about an upgrade in the starting rotation and filling the hole in left field. I have a couple of small requests as well and since it’s officially December, I thought I’d post my list and hope that Baseball Santa sees it.
Left Field Production
I don’t necessarily need Jacoby Ellsbury or Carlos Beltran. The price tag would be high and the Giants would lose a draft pick, and other than those guys it’s slim pickings. What I do really want is some production out of left field. If that means that Gregor Blanco has a career year — awesome. If it means that Juan Perez kicks up his Bambino-status and figures out the big leagues — wonderful. If Brett Pill shows that he can hit major league secondary pitches AND be a decent defender — YES! Please, just something … anything.
If Brandon Belt can continue to hit the ball the way he did in August and September, I would be beyond thrilled. With his third full season in the majors and plenty of plate appearances under his Belt (see what I did there?), I see no reason why this couldn’t be the year that Belt haters finally quiet down. I’ll go ahead and put my money on a fantastic offensive year for Belt. I also hope he gets some recognition for his defensive skills — I can see his JT Snow potential all the way from Triples Alley.
Pablo Sandoval comes ready to play
It seems likely that the Panda will come to spring training ready to go with his contract year on the line. I’ve also seen plenty of instagram videos from his brother’s twitter account that show a much smaller Sandoval, who seems to be going through a conditioning and exercise regimen similar to what he did during “Camp Panda” in 2011. A lineup card that includes Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, AND a slugging, healthy, Pablo Sandoval? Yes, please. And here’s something to look forward to: NO MORE HAMATE BONES.
Madison Bumgarner contends for a Cy Young
Here are Madison Bumgarner’s ERAs since coming up in the majors:
- 2010 – 3.00
- 2011 – 3.21
- 2012 – 3.37
- 2013 – 2.77
Oh, and did I mention the guy is only 24? With all eyes on Clayton Kershaw in the NL West, I’m really looking forward to Madison Bumgarner pulling ahead in the Cy Young race and becoming a serious contender in 2014. To do that, the southpaw needs to eliminate any extended rough patches in 2014. It would also help if the Giants stay in contention.
Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum silence the critics
These two contracts are as much of a lightening rod topic as Belt, it seems. With Timmy’s salary being seen as an overpayment based on his recent performance and Vogey’s age and 2013 season dampening his one-year deal, I am choosing the optimistic route. Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young and World Series champion who seems to have rededicated himself to the game. And while Ryan Vogelsong may have had a rough season, his contributions to the World Series and the WBC may have greatly skewed his results. And as I like to say, if anyone knows how to pull off a comeback, it’s Vogey. If these two pitchers can straighten out their kinks from 2013, the Giants should have a pretty fantastic rotation.
This is not a “must-have” but a “nice-to-have”/”Please please please, I want to see his fastball.” I saw Hembree in spring training last year and watched him hurl fastballs past hitters with velocity … but no control. His big league debut was pretty impressive: 7.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, and 12 strikeouts. However, his velocity was noticeably lower than what the flame-thrower was previously known for. If he can combine MPH + control, Hembree can become an integral part of the bullpen. Hopefully he can also show endurance and stay injury-free so we can see what a full-year in the majors will do to his game.
There are plenty more “wishes” where those came from but if I had to pick out my top choices, those would be it. I know we can’t be World Series champions every year, but with the roster we have there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t win our division and be serious contenders (although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t 2014 to end with a parade).
What are you guys hoping to see happen next year? I can definitely text Baseball Santa and pass along the message. You’re welcome.