After a remarkable 2012 ride to a second World Series title in 3 years, the Giants now will try to do something that their franchise has not done since 1922 – Repeat as World Champions. Here is what I, Giants Hot Corner, would do with the roster if placed in Brian Sabean’s shoes this offseason:
Key Loses: NONE
Key Additions: NONE
OK, this was an easy call given that all 5 starting pitchers from last season’s World Champion GIants are under contract through at least 2013. It would be tempting to toy with the idea of signing another good starting pitcher, like perhaps a Dan Haren, to make Lincecum a full-time 140+ inning super-reliever. I don’t believe that is a realistic option as even though he thrived in that role in the 2012 playoffs, I don’t see him being as willing to throw out of the pen in his final season before hitting the free agent market.
Key Loses: Guillermo Mota, Clay Hensley, Brian Wilson, Jose Mijares (trade)
This is where it gets a little more tricky. First, I would non-tender Brian Wilson, since he would be due around $10-million in 2013, which is his final year of arbitration. I could see a scenario where he would accept a less lucrative deal to come back with the Giants, but coming off of his second Tommy John surgery, I would rather another team take that risk. Affeldt has been lights out for the Giants since they acquired him prior to the 2009 season, and while I would have loved to have him back on a 1 to 2 year deal, I do not like the 3-year/$18 million dollar deal the Giants just signed him to. I personally would not offer any relief pitcher 3+ years, since relievers are often max-effort pitchers who are more prone to injuries. Also, for every Armando Benitez, there are 10 George Kontos types who can be had via trade for a back-up minor league catcher, or dirt cheap on the free agent market. The addition of Mijares certainly would have lessened the blow of losing Affeldt as well. Oh well, he is signed and I am glad he is a Giant for the time being. Needing to free up a roster spot, I would non-tender Hensley, whose 86-MPH fastball is not bullpen material, and opt not to resign Guillermo “Cough Syrup” Mota.
Key Additions: Steve Cishek (Trade – MIA), Francisco Liriano (free agent – CHW), Jeremy Affeldt (resign)
Since there is no need for 3 late-inning left-handed relievers, I would use Mijares in a deal to add to the offense (explained below). I would also take advantage of the recent Marlins firesale and I would send power-hitting 1B prospect, Ricky Orespa (.263/.338/.425 – 2012 in SJ), and cash for the funky, righty reliever, Steve Cishek. Cishek basically adds another Sergio Romo to the fold, as he was practically unhittable during the 2012 season (.230 opponent’s BA – .185 against RHB).
To complete the bullpen, I would sign Francisco Liriano to a 1 year, $6-million dollar deal, with a team option for a second year. Liriano would be used to fill Mota’s long relief/mop-up role, but unlike Mota, Liriano could also be a safety net should one of the Giants’ starting pitcher get injured, and he has major swing-and-miss stuff (9.59 K/9IP in 2012). This signing would add much-needed depth at starting pitcher since the Giants do not have any viable options ready in their high minors to fill-in next year. The Giants do have hard-throwing, Heath Hembre, and Brett Bochy waiting in the wings, but they would have the luxury of not rushing them, and instead, having them work on their command within the strike zone and their secondary pitches.
Key Loses: Ryan Theriot, Freddy Sanchez, Melky Cabrera, Aubrey Huff, Xavier Nady
The losses of Huff and Nady are obvious ones, as both players careers are coming to an end. While I would love to have Melky Cabrera back at his likely bargain price, it probably is not worth the grief from the fan base or the impact on the clubhouse. Ryan Theriot played with massive heart and was a solid hitter in 2012, but his roster spot is one that can be upgraded. I would offer Freddy Sanchez a Spring Training invite to see if his shoulder is capable of playing the field again.
Key Additions: Ryan Ludwick (free agent – CIN), Shin-Soo Choo, Daniel Murphy (trade – NYM) Angel Pagan (re-sign), Marco Scutaro (re-sign)
First things first, I would resign Marco Scutaro to a 2-year, $12 million dollar deal (the Freddy Sanchez special) and Angel Pagan for a 3-year, $30 million dollar deal. The third year on Pagan may be a little dicey, as he will be in his mid-thirties which is usually not too kind on players whose legs are his main asset. To replace Theriot, I would deal RP Jose Mijares and minor-league SP Chris Heston to the Mets for Infielder Daniel Murphy. Murphy, a left-handed batter who also plays 3B and 1B, would be a quality backup for the aging Scutaro and a significant upgrade to Theriot’s roster spot. He is a .292 career hitter, and offers good gap power as shown by his 40 doubles last year.
Blanco was great in the playoffs for the Giants, but in reality he is a good fourth outfielder. To bolster the position, and lineup, I would send prospects Joe Panik (SS), Joan Gregorio (SP), and a third solid prospect, to the cost-cutting Indians for RF Shin-Soo Choo. Choo would add another major threat to the lineup, as his .289/.381/.465 career slashline shows. He also has some wheels (21 SBs in 2012) and a cannon for an arm. This move would allow Pence to be moved to LF where his poor routes would be less costly than in the spacious RF at AT&T Park.
To solve the Giants major need of having a power hitter on the bench, I would sign Ryan Ludwick to a 1 year, $8-million dollar deal. Though I am not the biggest Ludwick fan due to his sub-par defense and poor batter’s eye, he can provide major game-changing power off the bench, or as a spot starter in LF or 1B against certain left-handed pitchers.
Matt Cain RH
Madison Bumgarner LH
Ryan Vogelsong RH
Tim Lincecum RH
Barry Zito LH
Francisco Liriano LH
George Kontos RH
Jeremy Affeldt LH
Javy Lopez LH
Santiago Casilla RH
Steve Cishek RH
Sergio Romo RH
1) Angel Pagan CF (S)
2) Marco Scutaro 2B (R)
3) Buster Posey C (R)
4) Pablo Sandoval 3B (S)
5) Shin-Soo Choo RF (L)
6) Hunter Pence LF (R)
7) Brandon Belt 1B (L)
8) Brandon Crawford SS (L)
Gregor Blanco LF/CF/RF (L)
Ryan Ludwick LF/RF/1B (R)
Daniel Murphy 2B/3B/1B (L)
Juaquin Arias SS/3B/2B (R)
Hector Sanchez C (S)
There you have it! Please share this with your fellow Giants fan friends and feel free to leave comments/replies with your thoughts.