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Blog Entry

R.I.P.: 2011 San Francisco Giants

Posted on: October 12, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 3:51 pm
 
By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: San Francisco Giants
Record: 86-76, second place in NL West, eight games back.
Manager: Bruce Bochy
Best hitter: Pablo Sandoval -- .315/.357/.552, 23 HR, 70 RBI, 55 R, 26 2B
Best pitcher: Tim Lincecum -- 13-14, 2.74 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 220 K, 217 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

The defending World Series champions entered the 2011 season with high expectations and as heavy favorites to win the NL West again. For most of June and July, they held first place, too. But the Diamondbacks played really well down the stretch and the Giants just couldn't get enough offense going to keep up. An eight-game winning streak in the middle of September -- teamed with the Braves' collapse -- got the Giants to within striking distance of the NL wild card, but it wasn't to be.

R.I.P. series
We cannot discount the blow Buster Posey's injury caused to the team. He's a major part of the offense and he was only able to play 45 games this season. Still, the story was the Giants' pitching carrying the team and the offense just not doing its part. Only the Phillies had a better staff ERA than the Giants in the NL, while the Giants ranked dead-last in the NL in runs scored. Yes, they even managed to score fewer runs than the Padres, Pirates and Astros. No matter how good your pitching is, you can't make the playoffs with that large a void in offense.

2012 AUDIT

The Giants don't have a very strong farm system, according to most outlets, but a lot of the good talent on the major-league roster is young. Still, with the Diamondbacks and Rockies -- and maybe even the Dodgers, if they can get through the McCourt nonsense -- set to be strong in the upcoming years, the Giants window of contention with this nucleus won't last much longer. Don't get me wrong, three years from now, the Giants will be freed from some bad contracts and may never even fall below third place in the division, assuming they spend smarter in free agency than they have in the past. But in order to get back to first place in 2012, short-term moves need to be made to shore up the offense.

Getting Posey back will definitely help improve the team, as will full seasons of continued development from the likes of Brandon Belt, Madison Bumgarner and several other young players.

FREE AGENTS

Orlando Cabrera, utility IF
Mark DeRosa, utility
Carlos Beltran, OF
Pat Burrell, OF
Cody Ross, OF
Guillermo Mota, RP
Jeremy Affeldt, RP ($5 million club option)
Javier Lopez, RP

OFFSEASON FOCUS
  • Put Brandon Belt in the lineup and leave him there. The 23 year old has torn up the minors (.343 with a 1.052 OPS in his minor-league career) and all talent evaluators love his bat. He didn't hit well with spotty playing time in the bigs in 2011, so just leave him in the lineup.
  • Lock up Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain long term. Yes, the offense is lacking, but the reason the Giants won last year and were in contention this season was the pitching. You can't risk losing that. I would hold off on Ryan Vogelsong, though. He was good in 2011, but it very well could have been a fluke. He has one more year before hitting free agency, so the Giants can take a wait-and-see approach.
  • Keep Carlos Beltran, if possible. The Giants can't afford to go long-term here or pay a ton for Beltran, but if they can get him at a reasonable price for two years with a club option for a third, he's needed. He hit .323/.369/.551 down the stretch for the Giants and is a good part of the middle of the order along with Posey and Sandoval. That would give the Giants a Belt, Andres Torres and Beltran outfield with Nate Schierholtz as the fourth guy. While we're here, let's point out that they need a much better season from Torres in 2012.
  • Is there enough money to get Jose Reyes? That's a tough call. The Barry Zito contract albatross is still affecting how much the team can spend. They do have money coming off the books (close to $15 million), but there are arbitration raises coming for a few guys and, of course, Cain and Lincecum need to be dealt with. Not to mention re-upping with Beltran, if they so choose. Reyes is certainly a tall order, but if they can backload some deals and increase payroll -- after a record-breaking attendance season -- it's entirely possible. If not Reyes, the Giants could go after Jimmy Rollins. Then they can use Brandon Crawford as a backup at both shortstop and second -- with him maybe even supplanting Freddy Sanchez and Jeff Keppinger at second, eventually. A lineup that looks like this might be productive enough to take back the West: Reyes, Torres, Sandoval, Posey, Beltran, Belt, Huff, Sanchez/Crawford/Keppinger. (For the record, I don't think they can afford both Beltran and Reyes, but you never know. It's worth a try).
  • Grabbing Beltran and Reyes would mean, however, that the Giants have exhausted all possibilities of free agency, so everything else would have to be done internally. The only real hole would seem to be the void left by Lopez and Affeldt, as they need a late-innings lefty. Here, general manager Brian Sabean should finally trade Jonathan Sanchez to shore up the left-handed side of his bullpen and attempt to scrape by with Zito in the rotation, using Dan Runzler or Eric Surkamp as a backup plan. In 2010, Zito gave the Giants 199 1/3 innings with a 4.15 ERA. That isn't horrible for a fifth starter.
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Comments

Since: Nov 7, 2010
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:59 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 San Francisco Giants

rely on Beltran, Huff or big contract-Reyes, it' s too risky...
i like Crisp in CF(saving at least 5mil a year over Beltran)..
youngsters(crawford..) and some veterans(F.Sanchez..Keppinger) are good for depth and buy time for kids to develop
maybe trade Jo.Sanchez for a good 1st/3rd baseman..would be a smart move



Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:13 am
 

Who is this guy?

No really, who is this guy?  Talk about making it up as you go along, well I guess CBS lets anyone puke nonsense across there site, doesn't matter how wrong or bad the commentary is! Hell, they let me on here, so what the f@#k! God Bless the first ammendment! I'm just saying...



Since: Nov 11, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 4:42 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 San Francisco Giants

This guys obviously doesn't follow this team at all. Nate Shierholtz as the 4th outfielder? Not only do I think that's ridiculous, so do the Giants! They've already all but announced he'll be the opening day RF (barring some big aquisitions)! Torres is only a possability to stary because  the Giants are thin, but he's a great option for...the bench! He's not a starter except by default.

Huff should not be starting unless he has a major turn around. At this point it should be assumed he'll be playing a bench role. That would mean either getting a  first baseman or outfielder and starting Belt in the vacant spot. Counting on Huff to start is silly. After the World Series season I said Huff would not put up similar numbers, and he didn't. I  think he'll rebound some, but not enough give him a starting role outright.

This guy should read the Giant's press releases once in a while, and maybe watch more than the highlights.



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 3:42 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 San Francisco Giants

Yea why is a fellow phillies phan coming on here and trolling? As is we didnt have the biggest choking season in franchise history....



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:36 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 San Francisco Giants

I wouldn't pickup Reyes to much money and has hamstings of an 80 yr old.Crisp is available and jetison Torres is a better move.Put Belt in of and back load hugh deal for Albert P.. Beltran would sign in a heart beat if AP is here and by Giants showing pitching staff offense is on the way their contract negotiations should make it  easier to get a good deal for both club and pitchers.




Since: Feb 6, 2007
Posted on: October 12, 2011 9:21 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 San Francisco Giants

Phunny thing to say phollowing such a phantastic phlop by your very own.



Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: October 12, 2011 8:51 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 San Francisco Giants

Sic transit gloria, Midgets.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com