The San Francisco Giants’ offseason hasn’t gone quite as planned: they’ve lost two huge bats from the middle of their lineup, they failed in their quest to add another top of the rotation starter, and their already shaky starting staff was just hit with a major injury. Not the best way to head into a championship defense.
But there’s still time! Not a lot of time, granted, but still time before spring training starts to right their ship. Here’s a list of three things the Giants need to do before pitchers and catchers report to Arizona:
Find a left fielder: Michael Morse wasn’t as bad as nearly everyone predicted he’d be on defense last year, but the Giants let him walk to Miami as a free agent and haven’t found his replacement yet. Gregor Blanco is the de facto starting left fielder, backed up by Travis Ishikawa and Juan Perez. Murderer’s row, it is not. The Giants best hope is to add a right-handed compliment to Blanco and platoon the two, but there aren’t a lot of options left on the free agent market and an addition would likely have to come via trade. It’s too risky to commit to Blanco as the every day left fielder because that would mean they’d be counting on Angel Pagan to stay healthy all year, too. The Giants need another outfielder who can hit.
Bolster the rotation: With news of Tim Hudson‘s ankle surgery hitting this week, the Giants already thin rotation depth took another hit. They’re counting on Matt Cain to make a full recovery from two surgeries, on Madison Bumgarner staying healthy after throwing a ton of innings, on Jake Peavy to keep the form he showed down the stretch, and on Tim Lincecum to regain any kind of form at all. That’s a lot of crossed fingers and prayers. It would make sense if they signed a starter to a one year deal– Ryan Vogelsong comes to mind– and cover themselves in case Hudson isn’t ready by opening day (or if anything happens to any of the other starters). Of course it would be nice to see the Giants spend on a pitcher like Max Scherzer, but they’ve said that isn’t a possibility. So it’s back to the scrap heap for pitching depth.
Figure out how to score more runs: Morse and Pablo Sandoval are gone, replaced by Casey McGehee and… nobody else. Those are two huge bats to lose from the middle of the lineup with no real replacements for them. McGehee won’t make anyone forget about Sandoval, and Morse’s power isn’t easily replicated. The Giants will have to hope they get full, healthy seasons from Pagan and Brandon Belt if they hope to field a competitive offense and both aren’t givens. Getting another outfielder would certainly help, but the lineup still looks like the weakest it’s been in quite some time. It’s going to be a challenge for the Giants to beat teams into submission with offense alone this season.
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