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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Season Preview: San Franciso Giants

2008 Record: 72-90  .444

Run differential: -119 (13th)

2008 payroll: $76,594,500

Last season was first without Barry Bonds in a Giant uniform since 1992.  A sans Bonds offense coupled with a young rotation made San Francisco many experts’ mortal lock for 100 losses.  With a surprising performance by the rotation and extreme luck in one run games (31-21), the Giants were happily able to avoid the cellar and give the sportswriters a great big …burger to eat.  The major highlight was Tim Lincecum showing he is the best young hurler in baseball by winning the Cy Young Award in his first full season. Additionally Jonathan Sanchez finally had a defined role and Brian Wilson showed he has the stuff to be a big league closer.  Unfortunately filling Bonds’s shoes proved difficult as the offense was an embarrassment-- only managing 94 home runs and finishing ahead of just San Diego in runs scored.

The 2009 club isn’t much different.  Due to Brian Sabean’s never ending crush on 30+ year old men, San Fran signed a few guys to short deals hoping provide this team with more “leadership” in an effort to help them “go a long way.”  The most famous addition is the Big Unit who agreed to a one-year contract.  Also coming to town are two relievers to help shore up the pen in Affeldt and Howry.  Luckily, the team only signed one geezer to fix the offense. Banking that a return to the NL rejuvenates Edgár Rentería and finally letting rookie Travis Ishikawa as well as top hitting prospect Pablo Sandoval play could allow the offense to creep up to league average. 

This team needs to be cautious though since manager Bruce Bochy pushed his young pitchers so hard last season. We all know what happened to Prior and Wood when Dusty took the reins.  Let’s just hope Lincecum and Cain don’t suffer a similar end.  When you put everything together you get a team where if all things break right could find itself in the playoffs or with some bad luck could end up as one of the worst teams in baseball.  Either way this team has pitching depth that should be the foundation for their next contending teams.  Now to just find a way out of the Zito and Rowand contracts…

Likely opening day roster:

Pos. Name Salary How Acquired
C Bengie Molina $6 M Signed as FA 12/06
C Steve Holm $.39 M Drafted 17th rd 2001
1b Travis Ishikawa $.39 M Drafted 21st rd 2002
2b Emmanuel Burris $.39 M Drafted #33 overall 2006
3b Pablo Sandoval $.39 M Signed as amateur FA from Venezuela 2002
SS Edgar Renteria $7 M Signed as FA 12/4/08
LF Fred Lewis $.392M Drafted 2nd rd 2002
CF Aaron Rowand $8 M Signed as FA 12/12/07
RF Randy Winn $8.25 M Acquired in trade w/ Sea 7/05. Signed extension 2/06
Inf Kevin Frandsen $.398M Drafted 17th rd 2004
Inf Rich Aurilia   Non Roster Invitee
Of Dave Roberts $6.5 M Signed as FA 12/06
UT Eugenio Velez $.39 M Selected in AAA phase of Rule 5 draft '05
SP Tim Lincecum $.65 M Drafted #10 overall 2006
SP Matt Cain $2.65 M Drafted #25 overall 2002. Signed extension 3/07
SP Randy Johnson $8 M Signed as FA 12/26/08
SP Jonathan Sanchez $.395M Drafted 27th rd 2004
SP Barry Zito $18.5 M Signed as FA 12/06
Cl Brian Wilson $.395M Drafted 24th rd 2003
SU Jeremy Affeldt $3 M Signed as FA 11/17/08
RP Bobby Howry $2.75 M Signed as FA 12/3/08
RP Jack Taschner $.83 M Drafted 2nd rd 1999
RP Alex Hinshaw $.39 M Drafted 15th rd 2005
RP Sergio Romo $.39 M Drafted 28th rd 2005
RP Luis Perdomo $.39 M Selected in 2008 Rule 5 draft

Say hello to: Jeremy Affeldt, Bobby Howry, Randy Johnson, Edgár Rentería

Wave goodbye: Tyler Walker, Omar Vizquel

Rookies: Pablo Sandoval, Sergio Romo, Travis Ishikawa

Non-Roster Invitees to Watch: Ramon Ortiz, Buster Posey, Rich Aurilia, Josh Phelps, Juan Uribe

Potential breakout: Jonathan Sanchez, Fred Lewis

Welcome to Earth: Bengie Molina

Likely to rebound: Bobby Howry

Strengths: The rotation is excellent.

Weaknesses: The offense is putrid.  The left side of the infield has the same range as a rose bush.

Payroll obligations to former players: none

Optimal batting lineup (position, name, bats, Avg/OBP/Slg, HR, SB, EqA):

LF Lewis L  .287/.357/.458  9, 21  .281

SS Rentería R  .270/.317/.382  10, 6  .247

RF Winn B  .306/.363/.426  10, 25  .286

C  Molina R  .292/.322/.445  16, 0  .266

3B Sandoval B  .345/.357/490  3, 0  .297

CF Rowand R .271/.339/.410  13, 2  .262

1B Ishikawa L  .274/.337/.432  3, 1  .272

2B Burris R  .243/.333/.486  1, 0  .277

Prediction: 3rd place and a losing record 

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