Offseason Predictions for the San Francisco Giants: The Pitching Staff

More from the State of the Sabean address:

Q: Is the rotation a concern?

A: It could be, especially with Noah having the second surgery. Hopefully that’s the last thing to get him ready for the spring, but I think you have to put him off to the side. After what’s happened the last couple years moving (minor league) pitchers, without naming names, we’ve got some guys who are pretty darn good who could be up here in a hurry next year. We might have more depth than we think. We don’t have the experience you’d want, but from a talent standpoint, we should have some choices.

…and…

Q: Would you at least dip your toe in the free-agent market for starters?

A: We’ll look heavily in the market for relief help. Whether we decide to do that with a starting pitcher remains to be seen, because I think the price is going to be exorbitant.

Let’s run this through the Wild-Speculatron 3200 and try to translate what Sabean was implying:

  • "With Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, and, ugh, Barry Zito in the fold for next year, the rotation could still use a fifth starter. Kevin Correia fumbled his opportunity, Brad Hennessey is, has been, and always will be just filler in any decent pitching staff, and Lowry isn’t someone to count on until he throws a pitch in a regular-season game.

    But, cripes, nothing there suggests that we should pay $130M for CC Sabathia, $60M for Derek Lowe, or even $30M for Pedro Martinez. We’ll figure something out. We don’t want to do what the Mariners did last year with Carlos Silva, and we don’t want to tie up 40% of the payroll in two pitchers, especially if one isn’t pitching well."
  • "Madison Bumgarner or Tim Alderson might be in the majors next year. Crazy, I know, but I’m pretty confident that they could learn at the major-league level without getting slapped around."
  • "The bullpen this year was a lonely fortnight at sea, fraught with peril, isolation and scurvy. The free agent market for relievers is a moderately well maintained brothel in a port of call. So we’re going to spend our money. Oh, you’d better believe we’re going to spend our money. We might not like what we end up contracting, but we’ll at least feel good for a short time."

The offseason pitching priority is on the bullpen. Fair enough. Brian Wilson isn’t going anywhere, and Sergio Romo certainly pitched himself onto the staff. Alex Hinshaw will probably be back, which leaves three or four spots open for some of these contenders:

Jack Taschner
Tyler Walker
Keiichi Yabu
Billy Sadler
Geno Espeneli
Merkin Valdez
Brad Hennessey
Kevin Correia

My predictions: Still here, gone, gone, still here, minors, hurt, gone, fifth starter. I’d say the Giants are going to sign just one reliever, but it isn’t going to be a closer like Kerry Wood or Francisco Rodriguez. Like, duh. But that doesn’t leave a whole bunch of options. The full list of free agents is here, and here’s my best guess as what the staff will look like next year:

1. Zito!
2. Lincecum
3. Cain
4. Sanchez
5. Correia

CL – Wilson
SU – A surprisingly expensive Juan Cruz
SU – Taschner
MR – Romo
MR – Sadler
MR – Hinshaw
Mop-up – Other

Bonus prediction: Correia is replaced by Tim Alderson in June.

Your turn. Give your best guess at what the Giants will do, not what you want them to do.

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