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NL West offseason in review: San Francisco Giants

After winning the World Series in 2012, the Giants didn't do a lot this offseason outside of retaining a couple of key free agents. Will that strategy pay off in 2013?

Thearon W. Henderson

Much to the chagrin of the people around these parts, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series for the second time in three seasons in 2012, and will return basically return the exact same team that went a combined 49-26 during the final two months of the regular season and the postseason.

For more on the San Francisco Giants, head over to McCOVEY CHRONICLES.

This is a club that didn't do a whole lot this offseason in terms of trades or bringing in new players, but sometimes -- SOMETIMES -- standing pat is the correct move. I can't help but think that's the case for the Giants, who should be favored to repeat as division champions despite the Los Angeles Dodgers' enormous payroll.

That doesn't mean that everything came to San Francisco on a silver platter this offseason. The Giants did have a few tough decisions to make on key players who reached free agency. Here's how it all turned out:

San Francisco Giants Free Agents, 2012-13 Offseason

Jeremy Affeldt Y 3 years, $18 million
Guillermo Mota
N -
Brad Penny
N -
Aubrey Huff
N -
Freddy Sanchez
N -
Marco Scutaro
Y 3 years, $20 million
Ryan Theriot
N -
Melky Cabrera
N 2 years, $16 million (Blue Jays)
Xavier Nady
N Minor league (Royals)
Angel Pagan Y 4 years, $40 million

Cabrera represents the Giants' biggest loss through free agency, and there's no doubt they'll miss his production. In 113 games, Cabrera hit .346/.390/.516. However, after he was banned 50 games for a positive PED test, the Giants went 30-15 to close out the regular season. Whether or not they'll be able to play to that level without an impact bat such as Cabrera's over the course of a full season remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Giants kept Affeldt, Scutaro and Pagan aboard for a combined cost of $78 million. Scutaro was annoyingly good for San Francisco in 2012 after scuffling through the first four months of the season with the Colorado Rockies. Scutaro hit .362/.385/.473 with the Giants in the regular season and starred in the playoffs, posting a .328/.377/.391 line for the champs.

Affeldt has been a key cog in the Giants' bullpen for four seasons mixing a bad season in with three pretty good ones, and the team rewarded him with a pretty questionable deal. Who knows how good the 33-year-old Affeldt will be going forward, but it seems San Francisco could have saved some money here by going with a younger option. At any rate, it's not like Giants are killing themselves with this deal.

Pagan set the tone for the free agent market for outfielders by pulling in big money from the Giants early in the offseason. His career numbers look pedestrian, but he has spent most of his time in pretty serious pitchers parks, thus the reason he has three seasons of an OPS+ of 108 or higher under his belt. Last year, Pagan hit .288/.338/.440, good for an OPS+ of 121, and stole 29 bases while playing a terrific center field. The downside of this deal? Pagan will be in his mid-30s when the contract is up.

San Francisco also had some choices to make with arbitration-eligible players, and decided to part ways with some familiar names.

San Francisco Giants Arbitration-Eligibles, 2012-13 Offseason

Santiago Casilla
Y 3 years, $15 million
Clay Hensley
N -
Jose Mijares
1 year, 1.8 million
Sergio Romo
Y 2 years, $9 million
Brian Wilson
Buster Posey
Y 1 year, $8 million
Eli Whiteside
- Claimed on waivers by Yankees
Joaquin Arias
Y 1 year, $925,000
Emmanuel Burriss
N Minor league (Reds)
Gregor Blanco
Y 1 year, $1.35 million
Hunter Pence
Y 1 year, $13.8 million

Brian Wilson, who was estimated to make more than $8 million in 2013, was non-tendered by the Giants in December. The 30-year-old closer with 171 career saves under his belt is still in negotiations with the team, but he and Giants GM Brian Sabean don't appear to be on the same page, according to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The team reportedly wants to give Wilson a deal based heavily on incentives, while baseball's worst gimmick would like more guaranteed money.

The Giants also non-tendered reliever Clay Hensley, who has been almost exactly league average in parts of seven seasons with three teams, and infielder Emmanuel Burriss, who went on to sign a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds. In addition, the team lost catcher Eli Whiteside on waivers to the New York Yankees.

Finally, the Giants brought a familiar face back into the fold and claimed a couple of players off of waivers to add to the squad.

San Francisco Giants New Acquisitions, 2012-13 Offseason

pitchers How? CONTRACT
Sandy Rosario
Waivers (Cubs) Pre-arb
infielders How? CONTRACT
Tony Abreu
Waivers (Royals) Arbitration-eligible
outfielders How? CONTRACT
Andres Torres
FA 1 year, $2 million

The Giants brought back Torres, who performed well for the club in 2009 and 2010 but has struggled in every other one of his eight big league seasons. Torres is a career .241/.320/.388 hitter who will likely serve as a fourth outfielder.

Overall, the Giants didn't make a huge splash during the offseason, but they didn't really need to. This is a team that still possesses Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum in its rotation and has one of the best players in baseball behind the plate in Buster Posey.

While the team does have some questions offensively (Can Hunter Pence fill the void left by Melky Cabrera? Will Brandon Belt finally break out? How much does Marco Scutaro have left in the tank? Which version of Pablo Sandoval will show up?), it's also not a club that needs to do a whole lot to win, as we've witnessed first hand over the years.