Following the most remarkable season in the San Francisco Giants history, the team's expectations will be set higher than ever before, as expected. The misfits and castoffs of last season probably won't be able to pull off the same heroics twice in a row. And even if they could, Giants managment has already made it clear that with multiple expiring contracts, and a lot of money to spend, changes will be made.
First and foremost, what to do with the expiring contracts?
- Edgar Renteria
This man's name will live forever in the hearts of Giants fans. He'll rank right up there with Bobby Thompson for greatest moments in franchise history. However, the Giants have already announced he won't be returning next season. And to the dismay of Giants fans, Renteria says he will return for another season, whether it be in SF or not. Point is though, he won't be a Giant next season, creating a hole in the infield, but also giving the Giants 9 million more to spend.
2. Pat Burrell
Honestly, I have no idea what the Giants intend to do with Burrell. I've heard rumors that the front office wants to keep him, but why? Sure his bat was vital to the Giants success down the stretch, but he's a liability in the field, has no range or speed, and is getting up there in years. There are multiple other options on the market to take Burrell's place in the Giants outfield, but we'll get to that later.
3. Aubrey Huff
This one's obvious, keep him. Huff was the Giants best hitter this season from start to finish. He lead the team in BA, HR, and RBI. In addition to that, he played 1B well and also can play the outfield. No reason to let him walk, sign him at any cost.
4. Juan Uribe
I've heard the Giants aren't going to keep him, but I don't understand why. Uribe was arguably the Giants most clutch hitter all season, highlighted by a solo shot in Game 6 of the NLCS that put the Giants in the World Series. But throughout the season as well, Uribe was a huge contributor to the team. He played SS, 3B, and 2B very well. With Renteria walking, and the uncertainty of where Pablo Sandoval will start the season next year (AAA or MLB?), I think you need to bring back Uribe.
5. Javier Lopez
This guy might be the best left handed reliever in baseball. He had a 0.75 ERA with the Giants after the acquired him at the trade deadline. But in the playoffs is where he really shined, he dominated the Phillies left hand heavy lineup including limiting Utley and Howard to just 1 hit. Giants have to resign him to keep the best bullpen in the MLB intact.
Other Notables: Jose Guillen- Release, Santiago Casilla- Release
Now for the Free Agency.
Jayson Werth seems to be the name most commonly associated with the Giants when talking about who they will sign this offseason. I disagree for multiple reasons.
- Werth is a right handed hitter. The Giants don't need anymore of those as their starting lineup on most nights had 7 righties, plus Andres Torres who switch hits.
- Werth will be 32 next season. It has been proven before, that aging right handed hitters go to San Francisco to die (I.E. Aaron Rowand, Mark DeRosa, etc)
- Werth's got a cannon in the outfield which is a big plus, but he's not exactly the fastest guy out there. The Giants NEED speed more than anything and Werth doesn't bring that.
Instead of pursuing Jayson Werth, I think the Giants should go all out. And by that I mean, SIGN CARL CRAWFORD! Crawford is literally everything the Giants need at the moment. He's fast as lightning, has great range, is very good in the outfield, a left handed bat, and he can bat in multiple spots in the order.
- Given that AT&T Park is one of the most spacious in baseball, having speed like Crawford's would be huge. He'd be a tremendous upgrade over Pat Burrell in the field, and even at the plate as well.
- As mentioned earlier, the Giants need a left handed bat. Crawford brings just that, making the Giants lineup significantly harder to pitch to.
- Bruce Bochy likes to mix up the lineup. So much so, that in Game 5 of the World Series, he sent out a lineup that he hadn't put out all season long. Crawford can hit effectively at multiple spots in the order. He's got the speed to bat 1st or 2nd and the power to bat 3rd or 4th.
Crawford is going to want top dollar, but the Giants have that, especially after their World Series run. And from Crawford's perspective, wouldn't he be willing to take a small pay cut if it meant he got to play for the World Series Champions? I mean if the Giants were to get into a bidding war with the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, or any of the other usual contenders, if the Giants gave him anything near the other offers, I dont see why he wouldn't be willing to take a little less money if it meant playing for one of the most promising teams in the league.
Overall, I feel the above is what should be the focus of the Giants early on in this offseason. Although, coming off a season as magical as 2010, I'll trust that whatever Brian Sabean has in store is for the better.