Surprisingly the Giants were in the wild card race well into September and the majority of the team is back for 2010. In addition, the Giants have been busy the past few months trying to fill the offensive holes by signing free agents Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa. Circumventing salary arbitration with ace Tim Lincecum was another key off-season move – both sides were able to come to an agreement, keeping everyone happy and avoiding bad feelings and distractions.
2009 Regular Season Record: 88-74
Avoiding arbitration with Tim Lincecum was key to the Giants off-season
Rank: Third in the NL West
Home Park: AT&T Park
1B Aubrey Huff - Free Agent from Tigers
INF/OF Mark DeRosa - Free Agent from Cardinals
LHP Horacio Ramirez - Minor League free agent from Royals
RHP Guillermo Mota - Minor League free agent from Dodgers
RHP Todd Wellemeyer - Minor League free agent from Cardinals
1B Ryan Garko - non-tendered, signed with Mariners
INF Rich Aurilia - Free Agent, unsigned
OF Randy Winn - Free Agent, signed with Yankees
LHP Randy Johnson - Retired
LHP Noah Lowry - Free Agent, unsigned
RHP Brad Penny - Free Agent signed with Cardinals
RHP Bobby Howry - Free Agent, signed with D’Backs
RHP Merkin Valdez - Traded to Blue Jays
RHP Justin Miller - Free Agent signed minor league deal with Dodgers
I know that you have all heard this before but back to back Cy Young recipient Tim Lincecum, and Matt Cain are arguably the best 1-2 punch in the league. Both are high strikeout pitchers and have the ability to dominate games. After Lincecum and Cain things may be a bit shaky. Barry Zito had an ERA of 4.03 last year but he also had 154 k’s and he finally seems to be settling into the National League. Jonathan Sanchez has talent and potential but tends to lose focus when the opponents start scoring runs. The no-hitter that he threw last July really boosted his confidence and his second half numbers were much improved over the beginning of the season. The fifth man is projected to be Madison Bumgarner, who posted a 1.80 ERA in four games last year. It will be very interesting to see what he can do. If Zito and Sanchez pitch to their full potential this year and Cain and Lincecum continue to dominate then it will be tough to beat the Giants.
Offensively, the Giants are expecting big things from Pablo Sandoval this season and they brought in DeRosa and Huff to protect him in the line-up allowing them to move veteran Bengie Molina down to the sixth spot where he belongs. This is an improvement over last year but are DeRosa and Huff formidable enough? Aaron Rowand, who hit for league average in 2009, will be batting at the top of the order and utility-man Juan Uribe will be keeping Freddy Sanchez’ spot warm while he recovers from off-season surgery.
CF Aaron Rowand
2B Juan Uribe
3B Pablo Sandoval
1B Aubrey Huff
LF Mark DeRosa
C Bengie Molina
RF Nate Schierholtz
SS Edgar Renteria
Questions that Need Answering:
Will the changes to the starting line-up be enough to add much needed run support for the Giants’ aces? Will Freddy Sanchez come back swinging strong after his off-season shoulder surgery and show the fans why the Giants spent 12 million dollars on him last year?
The Giants did a lot to improve in the off-season by adding sorely needed offense but was it enough to win the West? If they stay injury-free and continue to develop their prospects then they will have much success in the future – but probably not this year. I predict that the Giants will finish in second place in the NL West.