|Offense could be Giant Problem|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on March 04, 2010
The Giants have stripped their stadium of many reminders of Barry Bonds, but his impact can still be seen in the most important place - the field. General manager Brian Sabean worked to fill in gaps around his former slugger during Bonds' final years with the team. That left the farm system lacking in top-notch prospects.
For example, the Giants didn't draft a player until the fourth round in 2005. The team didn't have a first-round pick the year before. As the team added the Marquis Grissoms and Aaron Rowands of the baseball world, it would have to sacrifice draft picks.
Ironically enough, while trying to support one of the best hitters in Major League history -- some will say his stats have been steroids-enhanced - the Giants destroyed their farm system, and its ability to produce quality hitters, for years to come. Sabean added second-tier players like Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff in hopes of bolstering his offense.
Sabean was limited in how much money he could spend because he splurged to add Rowand and Barry Zito around Bonds in an attempt to be competitive. With that Tim Lincecum guy performing so well and soon to be a free agent, it's time to save money.
It's going to take quite a bit for that to happen. Pablo Sandoval led the team with 25 home runs last season. He had a remarkable season for a rookie, but Sandoval had no other help offensively. No other Giant played in more than 100 games and reached base 35% of the time. No other player played in more than 130 games and reach base more than 32% of the time.
When your offense is full of that many automatic outs, that makes it quite difficult to score runs. The question of the Giants' 2010 season is going to revolve around how much help Huff and DeRosa can provide Sandoval.
The Orioles traded Huff to Detroit, home of one of the better hitter's park last season, and he hit .189/.265/.302. Think about that for a second: a first base/DH-type who slugged .302 and hit all of four home runs over his last 67 games.
Huff was marginally better (.253/.321/.405) with the Orioles before the trade, but that's not what you're looking for from a corner infielder. The Giants wanted Adam LaRoche last season, and it's best they didn't give him a ridiculous contract. But it's bad they're relying on Huff so much this season.
A strained tendon in his left wrist limited DeRosa last season, but how much remains to be seen. He hit .228/.291/.405 with the Cardinals after being traded by the Indians during the season. He was pretty good the two previous years with the Cubs, but the Friendly Confines are a little friendlier than AT&T Ballpark. It remains to be seen how much DeRosa will improve upon last season's numbers.