Shaping up for 2011: The Pitching

Uh, this writes itself mostly, because the Giants pretty much have to do nothing at all. 

Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt are already under contract for 2011 at a cost of $49.5 million. 

The remainder of the pitching staff are mostly arbitration-elgibile players: Jonathan Sánchez, Chris Ray, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Ramon Ramirez. They earned a combined $5.4M in 2010 and using the general rule-of-thumb that should they go to arbitration they'd get a 50% raise, we can expect the cost from this group to be no more than $8.1 million. 

The indispensable man in this group is Sánchez who accounted for the lion's share of this portion of the payroll in 2010, earning $2.1 million. The odd man out if the team needs to economize may be Ramirez, the second highest paid at $1.16M, although his career .597 against right-handed batters probably makes him a bargain.

The Giants are on record via Brian Sabean as not liking the arbitration process. I'd expect them to offer these guys contracts for what they would have gotten anyway. Why wreck unit cohesion over the chump change of a $100,000 or less, especially since the contentious amount is dwarfed by the playoff money they'll get? 

The final group of players are those who aren't yet arbitration eligible: Sergio Romo, Dan Runzler and Madison Bumgarner. Romo and Runzler made a shade over the rookie minimum of $400,000 and will probably be back for under $1 million for both; one of the joys of playoff money is that you don't have to open your wallets as a GM. I have no sources for Bumgarner's contract, but I guess it's the rookie minimum and he's still fat from his signing bonus; his shot at some big paydays is yet to come. So expect all three back for maybe $1.4 million. 

Waldis Joaquin lurks in the background at Fresno and would make the pro-rated rookie minimum if he's called up. I expect Guillermo Mota to try his luck elsewhere, especially if the experiment to stretch Runzler out as a starter is successful in which case he'd be a long man as well as a spot starter. 

I somewhat suspect the Giants will leverage the early part of the 2011 schedule and break camp with 11 pitchers. If that's the case, expect Casilla or Ray to open the campaign at Fresno along with Runzler who could continue to learn the starter's trade at AAA, leaving Lopez and Affeldt to handle the southpaw work from the bullpen until late April. 

Starters: Lincecum, Sánchez, Cain, Bumgarner, Zito

Bullpen: Ray/Casilla, Romo, Ramirez, Lopez, Affeldt, Wilson

Ready when needed: Ray/Casilla, Runzler

Cost: $59 million in 2011. 

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