Giants: more Manute than Andre

After taking a week off to fully enjoy Tucson, I'm back profiling an NL West team.  The feature has somewhat organically migrated to answering "Is this team better than the Rockies?"  The answers have been terrifyingly purple, but maybe Colorado's long-time 2009 sparring partner will change things.   Naaaah....

The Giants let Brad Penny, Rich Aurilia and Randy Winn go this offseason, while Randy Johnson retired.  This from a roster that over-performed in 2009 just about any way you slice it.  Bruce Bochy's offense posted a team OPS+ of 81 , five points worse than any other offense.  The club over-performed their Pythagorean Win Percentage by two games.  Matt Cain had a "career season" despite posting precisely his career FIP, and until it is proven differently, I'll assume Tim Lincecum can't post a third straight 7.5 WAR season.  It's just too rare due to injuries, fatigue, regression, etc.

So to improve upon their 88-win season and third place finish, Brian Sabean was going to have to upgrade his roster, especially the offense, considering there's not much potential for improvement from the youth.

So who did Sabean bring in?

Sabean also retained Juan Uribe as a utility man and backup second sacker (good move), a second baseman in Freddy Sanchez whose shoulder is tattered (questionable), and Bengie Molina to block Buster Posey (uhhh...).

I'll go over the roster after the jump.

Roster Locks

Rotation: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Barry Zito

Bullpen: Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt, Brandon Medders, Sergio Romo, Dan Runzler

Infield: Bengie Molina, Eli Whiteside, Aubrey Huff, Pablo Sandoval, Edgar Renteria, Freddy Sandoval, Juan Uribe

Outfield: Mark DeRosa, Andres Torres, Nate Schierholtz, Aaron Rowand

 

Roster Battles

Fifth Starter: Madison Bumgarner was the in-house hopeful to be in the rotation.  His velocity issues are well-documented, and he didn't strike out a single batter in Spring Training until Saturday in a minor league outing in which he gave up four runs in four innings.  But the Giants are optimistic.  Bumgarner apparently finally hit 90mph for more than one pitch.  Meanwhile, Todd Wellemeyer has a 1.20 ERA in the spring and should be a shoo-in for the spot at this point. 

Two Bullpen Spots:  One bullpen spot is sure to go to a swingman, likely Joe Martinez in the event of Wellemeyer taking the last spot in the rotation.   The Giants selected Steven Johnson from Baltimore in the Rule 5 draft, but he was offered back to the Orioles last Wednesday, so the the last spot is up for grabs between Guillermo MotaTony Pena, Jr., Santiago Casilla, Byung Hyung Kim.

Bench: Eugenio Velez' versatility is likely to put him on the team, while Fred Lewis and John Bowker could make some noise as fifth outfielders.

 

I won't break down the team by position as I did with Arizona, partly because I'm tired and partly because I don't think that acute of analysis is necessary.  I never bought the Giants as a playoff team last year - they just don't have much talent outside of their top five to sustain that kind of success.  Re-signing Bengie Molina and adding Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa, all of whom are decidedly on the back end of their careers, doesn't improve the offense much, if at all.  More importantly, it blocks the remote possibility of a second coming of the Kung Fu Panda unexpectedly blossoming.  The offense just is just flat out terrible, and there's nowhere to be optimistic for improvement (unless you count the clamor of Edgar Renteria being injury-free now...HAR).

The Giants need everything to go right with their pitching staff and a moderate miracle with their offense to be one of the top four teams in the National League.  If something goes wrong with Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum, they might not even be one of the top four teams in the National League West.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker