The Blueprint for the 2015 San Francisco Giants

After another impressive season for the Giants, which resulted in them hoisting up the Commissioner’s Trophy yet again, it is time for their front office to get back to work in hopes of winning yet another title.  Here is what I would do, in a realistic world, if I were given the keys to the San Francisco Giants this off-season in hopes of a 2015 repeat:

STARTING PITCHING:

KEY LOSSES:  Ryan Vogelsong (Free Agent) 

Ryan Vogelsong

The time has come to cut ties with Ryan Vogelsong, age 37, despite a solid bounce-back season in 2014 (4.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP).  Vogelsong has been very inconsistent over the last couple of seasons, often battling with either poor stuff, or command, from start-to-start.  He was hammered in the playoffs this season, giving up 9 runs and 22 base-runners in only 12.1 innings.

KEY ADDITIONS:  Jake Peavy (Resign)

Jake Peavy

Brian Sabean made a very under-the-radar move last July when he brought in veteran SP Jake Peavy.  That move happened to pan out as possibly the best trade of the season in the MLB.  After coming to San Francisco, Peavy posted a 2.17 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 78.2 IP.  A small sample-size, yes, but it seemed like pairing up with his old manager, Bruce Bochy, and returning to the familiar NL West was just what Peavy needed to turn his career back around.  With Peavy being 4-years younger than Vogelsong, he would be my choice to retain of the two.  I’d give him something in the area of a 2-year, $20 million deal with the second year being a mutual option.

I would also keep Yusmeiro Petit in the starting rotation next year due to his ability to throw strikes (133 K, 22 BB in 117 IP in 2014) and avoid hard contact.  The Giants have a solid defense, and running out 5 starting pitchers who rarely walk batters would be a huge advantage, especially in their home ballpark.  Getting a healthy Matt Cain back should be a nice boost to the Giants rotation as well.

BULLPEN:

KEY LOSSES:  Sergio Romo (Free Agent)

Letting Sergio Romo walk is a tough call.  While he is a very popular player in San Francisco, he seemed to lose feel of his slider a lot last year which resulted in a career high 9 home runs allowed in only 58 IP.  Was it simply a fluke season or are years of throwing all those sliders finally starting to catch up to him?  I’m not certain, but I would not match the likely 3-year deals he will be offered elsewhere to find out.

KEY ADDITIONS:  Jared Hughes (Trade)

Jared Hughes

To obtain a right handed pitcher to replace Sergio Romo, I would trade catcher Hector Sanchez (and possibly a low level prospect) to the Pirates for RHP Jared Hughes.  Hughes would be able to fill Romo’s void, as he is tough on right handed hitters and has had success working the 7th and 8th innings in the past.  He still has 3 years of team control (arbitration), and is coming off his best season in 2014 in which he posted a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.  The Pirates would be interested in this deal because they have a TON of quality relievers with more following in their pipeline, and it looks like they could be losing their All-Star catcher, Russell Martin, to free agency.  At the very worst, Sanchez would be a big replacement over the Pirates current backup, Chris Stewart.

Tim Lincecum would take over as the full-time long reliever in hope that he could regain some of his magic throwing harder for shorter stints, and RHP Hunter Strickland would start the year in Sacramento (AAA), working on a 2-seam fastball and slider command.  Strickland could be a force during the second half of 2015 if he continues to develop.  The Giants also should have Kyle Crick ready to join the big league club at some point next season, with the bullpen being the likely landing spot for the short term.  While the Giants wait for Crick or Strickland to be ready, George Kontos (2.78 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) will serve as a solid place holder.

POSITION PLAYERS:

KEY LOSSES:  Michael Morse (Free Agent), Hector Sanchez (Trade), Travis Ishikawa (Free Agent)

MLB: NLCS-St. Louis Cardinals at San Francisco Giants

Michael Morse had a solid 2014 season while he was on the field, posting a .279/.336/.475 slash-line.  Morse also came through with a HUGE pinch-hit home run vs the Cardinals in the NLCS and the game-winning RBI in game 7 of the World Series.  The problem is that Morse will likely be looking for a multi-year deal at this stage of his career, and that is a lot to offer for a player who has played over 105 games only twice in his career.

KEY ADDITIONS: Pablo Sandoval (Resign), Colby Rasmus (Free Agent), Rickie Weeks (Free Agent)

pablo-sandoval

At the beginning of the 2014 season, I wrote that the maximum contract that the Giants should offer to Pablo Sandoval should be in the 3-year, $50 million range (read that post here).  I since have changed my tune after watching Sandoval destroy postseason pitching, yet again, and noticeably improve his defense at third base.  I would sign Sandoval to a 5-year, $100-million dollar deal, which would sign him through his age 33 season.  While there is a little bit of risk involved with giving a hefty player such as Sandoval a long term deal (see Ryan Howard), I feel that Sandoval is an exception to the rule.  At age 28, he should be entering his prime seasons and is athletic enough to play an above-average 3B now so he should be able to stick there for a few more years.  He also has more to give offensively, especially if he scraps hitting right-handed (hit .199/.244/.319 in 2014) and becomes a full-time left-handed hitter (.317/.363/.461 in 2014).

To address the ever-revolving-door in left field, I would slide Angel Pagan over there and sign OF Colby Rasmus to a 2-year, $15 million dollar deal to play CF.  Rasmus was a can’t-miss prospect who hasn’t fully lived up to his potential, but I’d be willing to pay and see if Bochy and company could get more out of him.  As-is, he plays an above-average center field and has averaged 20-home runs a year during his 6-year career.  At age 28, if he can improve his contact rate he could be a boarder-line all-star.  Another reason why I like this signing is that it would move an aging Pagan to left field where he would now be a plus defender.  He would have less ground to cover as well which would go a long way towards keeping him healthy and on the field.  On top of that, it also moves Gregor Blanco to his more natural role as the team’s 4th outfielder.

To add some much needed pop to the bench, I would sign 2B Rickie Weeks to a 1-year, 2.5 million dollar deal.  Weeks had a bounce-back season in which he hit .274/.357/.452 and slugged 28 extra-base hits in only 252 at-bat.  Weeks would be a nice fit in that on top of adding pop off the bench, he could also occasionally spell Joe Panik against tough lefties.

2015 OPENING DAY ROSTER:

STARTING PITCHERS:

1) Madison Bumgarner

2) Matt Cain

3) Jake Peavy

4) Tim Hudson

5) Yusmeiro Petit

BULLPEN:

Tim Lincecum

George Kontos

Jean Machi

Jeremy Affeldt

Javier Lopez

Jared Hughes

Santiago Casilla

STARTING LINEUP:

1) Angel Pagan LF

2) Joe Panik 2B

3) Buster Posey C

4) Pablo Sandoval 3B

5) Hunter Pence RF

6) Brandon Belt 1B

7) Colby Rasmus CF

8) Brandon Crawford SS

BENCH:

Andrew Susac C

Gregor Blanco OF

Juan Perez OF

Rickie Weeks 2B/1B

Joaquin Arias SS/3B/2B/1B

Please feel free to include your thoughts in the comment section

Side-By-Sides of the Giants World Series Rosters

SF_THROPHIES_RINGOLSBY_1280_110114_c1nqxxtu_ec3k9ppk2010   (Beat Texas in 5)               2012   (Beat Detroit in 4)          2014 (Beat KC in 7)

PITCHING STAFF

STARTING PITCHERS:

Madison Bumgarner                    Madison Bumgarner               Madison Bumgarner 

Matt Cain                                       Matt Cain                                  Tim Hudson

Tim Lincecum                               Ryan Vogelsong                      Jake Peavy

Jonathan Sanchez                       Barry Zito                                  Ryan Vogelsong

BULLPEN:

Jeremy Affeldt                              Jeremy Affeldt                          Jeremy Affeldt

Santiago Casilla                           Santiago Casilla                       Santiago Casilla (Cl)

Javier Lopez                                 George Kontos                         Tim Lincecum

Guillermo Mota                            Tim Lincecum                            Javier Lopez

Ramon Ramirez                           Javier Lopez                              Jean Machi

Sergio Romo                                Jose Mijares                               Yusmeiro Petit

Brian Wilson (Cl)                         Guillermo Mota                          Sergio Romo

                                                       Sergio Romo (Cl)                      Hunter Strickland

                                                       

POSITION PLAYERS

STARTING LINE-UPS IN CLINCHING GAME:

1) Andres Torres RF                    Angel Pagan CF                     Gregor Blanco CF

2) Freddy Sanchez 2B                 Marco Scutaro 2B                   Joe Panik 2B

3) Buster Posey C                        Pablo Sandoval 3B                 Buster Posey C

4) Cody Ross LF                           Buster Posey C                      Pablo Sandoval 3B

5) Juan Uribe 3B                           Hunter Pence RF                    Hunter Pence RF

6) Aubrey Huff 1B                         Brandon Belt 1B                     Brandon Belt 1B

7) Pat Burrell DH                           Gregor Blanco LF                  Michael Morse DH

8) Edgar Renteria SS                    Ryan Theriot DH                    Brandon Crawford SS

9) Aaron Rowand CF                    Brandon Crawford SS          Juan Perez LF

BENCH:                                                  

Mike Fontenot INF                          Juaquin Arias INF                Juaquin Arias INF

Travis Ishikawa  1B                        Aubrey Huff 1B                     Matt Duffy INF

Pablo Sandoval 3B                        Xaiver Nady LF                      Travis Ishikawa 1B/LF

Nate Schierholtz RF                      Hector Sanchez C                 Andrew Susac C

Eli Whiteside C

* ORANGE indicates a player was on all 3 World Series Rosters

* CREAM indicates a player was on 2 World Series Rosters

* GREY indicates a player was on 1 World Series Roster

Giants Hot Corner Presents: 2014 Mid-Year Giants Top Prospects List

Here is my list of the Giants top prospects (must still have rookie status) based on who has the highest ceiling:

Tyler Beede Giants

1) TYLER BEEDE, Age 21 – RHP, AZL Giants (Rookie)

Ceiling:  #1/#2 Starter 

Estimated Time of Arrival: 2016

2)  KYLE CRICK, Age 21 – RHP, Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA)

Ceiling:  #2 Starter (or Closer)

Estimated Time of Arrival: 2015

3)  ANDREW SUSAC, Age 24 – C, San Francisco Giants (MLB)

Ceiling:  Starting Catcher (league average)

ETA: 2014

4) ADALBERTO MEJIA, Age 21 – LHP, Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA)

Ceiling:  #3/4 Starter

ETA: 2015

5)  KEURY MELLA, Age 20- RHP, Augusta Green Jackets (A-)

Ceiling:  #4 Starter

ETA: 2017

6)  CHRIS STRATTON, Age 23 – RHP, Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA)

Ceiling: #4 Starter

ETA: 2015

7)  CHRISTIAN ARROYO, Age 19 – SS, Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (A Short)

Ceiling:  Starting SS (solid bat, weak glove) or Starting 3B (solid glove, weak bat)

ETA:  2017

8)  CLAYTON BLACKBURN, Age 21 – RHP, Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA)

Ceiling:  #3/4 Starter with plus command

ETA: 2016

9) ARAMIS GARCIA, Age 21 – C, AZL Giants (Rookie)

Ceiling:  Starting Catcher

ETA: 2017

10)  TY BLACH, Age 23 – LHP, Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA)

Ceiling:  #4/5 Starter

ETA: 2015

11) LUIS YSLA, Age 22 – LHP, Augusta Green Jackets (A-)

Ceiling:  #4 Starter

ETA: 2016

12)  MARTIN AGOSTA, Age 23 – RHP, San Jose Giants (A+)

Ceiling:  #4 Starter

ETA: 2016

13)  MAC WILLIAMSON, Age 24 – RF, San Jose Giants (A+)

Ceiling: Average everyday RF with good power

ETA: 2015

14)  JOE PANIK, Age 23 – 2B, San Francisco Giants (MLB)

Ceiling:  Utility guy

ETA: 2014

15) MATT DUFFY, Age 23 – SS, San Francisco Giants (MLB)

Ceiling:  Utility guy

ETA: 2014

16)  GARY BROWN, Age 25 – CF, Fresno Grizzlies (AAA)

Ceiling:  4th/5th OF

ETA: 2014 (Sept)

17) STEVEN OKERT, Age 23 – LHP, Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA)

Ceiling:  Set-up man

ETA: 2015

18) RYDER JONES, Age 20 – 3B, Augusta Green Jackets (A-)

Ceiling:  Slightly below league average 3B

ETA: 2017

19) KENDRY FLORES, Age 22 – RHP, San Jose Giants (A+)

Ceiling:  #5 Starter/Long Relief

ETA: 2016

20) RAY BLACK, Age 24 – RHP, Augusta Green Jackets (A-)

Ceiling:  Set-up man, or closer with improved control (throws 102 MPH!)

ETA: 2016

JUST MISSED: Joan Gregorio RHP (A-), Cody Hall RHP (AA), Derek Law RHP (AA)

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.