Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Let's go, Giants!

Chris Haft at mlb.com has a long interesting post about the outlook for 2013.Here are some key points -- 

First, the Giants must confront free agency. They'll try to sign a handful of their own free agents, including second baseman Marco Scutaro, the NL Championship Series MVP; center fielder Angel Pagan, a catalyst at the leadoff spot; and left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, an integral part of the bullpen. But the lure of lucrative contracts on the open market makes it unlikely that San Francisco can keep all three.

Left field: Of the eight left fielders the Giants used in 2012, five probably will be at Spring Training -- Belt, Blanco, Francisco Peguero, Justin Christian and Brett Pill. If the Giants can't obtain a proven hitter to fill this spot (how would Torii Hunter look in a San Francisco uniform?), they might consider a platoon featuring Blanco and a right-handed batter. Though Christian and Pill have more experience, Peguero, a rookie, will receive every opportunity to win a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Center field: Blanco will provide insurance at this spot if the Giants can't retain Pagan or sign a viable free-agent alternative (Michael Bourn? Shane Victorino?). The possible lack of depth could create a role for Christian, who started 21 games in the outfield during the previous two seasons.

Starting pitching: The contingent of Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum is etched in stone. Because they're either above-average athletes, in top physical condition or both, they should remain injury-free. Still, the lack of Major League-ready reinforcements should concern the Giants, who would be wise to seek a back-of-the-rotation starter via free agency or trade.

Relief pitching: Despite Brian Wilson's insistence that he'll be ready for Opening Day, the Giants can't assume that the three-time All-Star closer will have sufficiently recovered from Tommy John surgery by that time. Wilson's uncertain status, Affeldt's entry into free agency and Guillermo Mota's probable departure will force the Giants to find another reliever or two.


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