While no new stories emerged from the Rockies camp over the Thanksgiving holiday, the radio silence does give us an opportunity to dive into the dealings of our division rials, particularly the one by the bay.
Yesterday, news broke that San Francisco signed Ryan Volgelsong to a one year $5 million deal with incentives that could push it beyond the $6.5 million number the Giants decided to pass on when they declined his 2014 option earlier this Fall. In other words, it's as if the Giants actually picked up that option, only they'll save a million and change if he's as terrible as he was in 2013 again (fingers crossed).
This is interesting for a few reasons. First, we can start to size up the competition here. The Volgelsong signing puts him at the back of a Giants a rotation that already includes Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Tim Hudson; and with the San Francisco payroll already approaching the $150 million mark, what you see is likely what you're going to get when April rolls around.
It's not just the rotation though, it's the vast majority of the team, which brings us to a very compelling and ultimately comforting realization.
If you've read Purple Row for more than a year (specifically the comments section), then you're well aware that for a long while, there was a group of posters who were quick and constant in pointing out how unusual and unlikely San Francisco's path to the 2012 World Series was in just about every possible way. Without mincing words, the general feeling from this group was that the 2012 Giants won the World Series because they were luckier than a guy married to a supermodel who found two winning power-ball tickets in his gutter.
"The team was a fraud" they cried.
"A paper tiger!"
More importantly though, this group felt that the Giants wouldn't be able to repeat their 2012 success once the magic voodoo pixie dust ran out and the golden horseshoe finally fell out of their rear end. Well, here we are a year later, and not only is it starting to look like this group may have been on the money, but it's also starting to look like the Giants are willing to double down on this bet.
For more detail on what I'm talking about, here's the Giants 2012 World Series roster.
Rotation (Assuming it was the regular season as all of these pitchers obviously did not start in the series)
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Okay, now I'm going to list the 22 players who I currently think are extremely likely to be on the San Francisco roster come opening day. (The players who were NOT on the 2012 World Series roster will be listed in bold.)
Jean Machi (Pitched for the team in September 2012, but was not on the World Series roster)
Yusmeiro Petit (Pitched for the team in September 2012, but was not on the World Series roster)
November 14, 2012
Signed Jeremy Affeldt back as a free agent for $18 million over three years.
December 6, 2012
Signed Marco Scutaro back as a free agent for $20 million over three years.
December 7, 2012
Signed Angel Pagan back as a free agent for $40 million over four years.
March 29, 2013
Extended Buster Posey for $167 million over eight additional years.
September 28, 2013
Extended Hunter Pence (as he was on the verge of free agency) to a $90 million deal over five years.
October 23, 2013
Signed Tim Lincecum to a $35 million deal over two years.
November 18, 2013
Signed Tim Hudson as a free agent for $23 million over two years.
November 26, 2013
Signed Javier Lopez for $13 million over three years.
Signed Ryan Vogelsong back as a free agent for a one year, $5 million deal with incentives that could push it higher.
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If you're looking for trades, the only one this team has made since October of 2012 was last February when they sent Conor Gillaspie to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor leaguer Jeff Soptic. Does that even count?
Other than the Tim Hudson signing to replace and upgrade Barry Zito's spot on the roster, this is essentially still the same team that won the World Series.
This fact has been largely ignored by most of the national media however, because pointing it out requires some work in explaining how a team with essentially the same roster can win 94 games and a World Series one year and then then turn around and win just 76 games the next. There's several little reasons for this, but the biggest one that encompasses them all is a baseball truth that directly opposes a lazy narrative many fans like to dabble in.
Albert Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, I'm not one to argue with Mr. Einstein, so I'll just say that baseball must equal insanity, because the truth is that in baseball you can bring back the same roster over and over again and get a different result. The Giants just proved it.
It's the same group of guys, but maybe this time there's more injuries, maybe a couple of guys came down off career years, maybe a couple of guys are starting to get too old and regressed, maybe a couple of pitchers lost a little velocity on their fastball, and maybe you just didn't have the ball bounce your way as much late in close games. Or better yet, maybe your MVP catcher from the previous season closes out the final 56 games hitting just one home run while batting .238 with a .618 OPS for no explicable reason other than the fact that yeah, baseball is insanity.