I started a website, Bullpen Banter, with a few buddies from Minorleagueball.com, an SBN affiliate. We had a round table chat about the Giants and thought we should share it with you and get your feed back. We think there is some good content here. Enjoy.
JD Sussman: In 2009, the Giants had, by far, the worst offense in Major League Baseball. For the entire season, they had just three hitters who were above average. Of course, you know Pablo Sandoval and Juan Uribe, but the other name is not as familiar, Andres Torres. Despite being on a variety of big and minor league rosters since 2002, Torres has accumulated just 455 plate appearances at the major league level. Most likely, the 32 year old outfielder will not repeat his career best 2009. Frankly, this line up is pretty ugly, the organization's sole offensive bright spot outside of the Panda is Buster Posey. Who for some reason, is blocked by Bengie Molina.
GM Brian Sabean tried to upgrade, but failed. Luckily, they have great pitching, so if they succeed, it will be because they stayed healthy and got a big boost from their top pitching prospect, Madison Bumgarner. I'm the minority, but I've got them coming in second.
Al Skorupa: I really disagree with the way this team is run. The offense is still pathetic. What in the world made Brian Sabean think the corpse of Aubrey Huff could fix the lineup? Probably was the same reason he moved for Ryan Garko last year. Sabean has made a regular habit of overpaying for mediocre players, both in free agency and through trade. Sign 35 year old Mark DeRosa? Not a bad idea. Play him in LF where he's a unexceptional defender and a pretty fringy bat? Wha.... why? This team's roster is littered up and down with bad contracts. Zito. Renteria. Rowand. I really lay it all at the foot of Brian Sabean.
Joe Sheehan had a great line about the Steinbrenner sons... he said "[t]hey don't know what they're doing and they're very aggressive about it. Well, Hank and Hal just won a title - though they had to hand out over half a billion dollars in contracts last offseason to do it. This quote still fits Brian Sabean to a tee. He's done a pretty good job of developing young pitching... and that's about it. What's troublesome isn't that so, so many of his moves have failed as much as so many of them were clearly the result of a flawed thought process and never really had a chance to succeed.
Michael Herrick: The Giants have a few nice pieces here and there, but they're getting close to a point where all the bad moves Sabean has made over the years are going to really hurt them. A good example of this would be the trades last year that netted the Giants Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko. Sanchez is an average hitter who plays above average defense at 2B. They had Juan Uribe who was hitting well and about as good defensively as Sanchez, and while I wouldn't want to rely on Uribe long term, I feel the same way about Sanchez. They gave up Tim Alderson for Freddy, and while Alderson may not be more than a potential #3 starter he was likely to be more valuable to the team than Sanchez. Same thing for Scott Barnes who was traded for Garko. Neither player they received was the missing piece the Giants needed to contend, so they essentially gave away two starting pitchers for nothing.
Pablo Sandoval is the best thing going for this team offensively, though I'm not sure if he's more valuable being a below average 3B or moving to 1B where he might not be more than average. Buster Posey should join him in the heart of the Giants order for years to come, but when Posey gets that chance is a guess at this point. I like Nate Schierholtz a little bit, but he's the only other hitter I can really say anything nice about. There is such an amalgamation of overpaid vets dotting the rest of the roster...I don't get it. Does Sabean think he's wasting the years they have Cain and Lincecum around if he lets some of the younger guys get a real shot at playing time? If they don't start to build something that resembles a future contender, what incentive will there be for Cain and Lincecum to stick around once they have the option to leave?
In the second half last year Jonathan Sanchez seemed to finally make the leap from thrower to pitcher, giving the Giants hope that "Lincecum and Cain, then pray for rain" won't have to be the battle cry any longer. Only four more guaranteed years of Barry Zito! Obviously he's unlikely to ever pitch well enough to earn his money, but he was better last year and is a good #4 starter. I think the Giants are making a mistake if Bumgarner is going to be the 5th starter this year. I'm one of his biggest supporters but I think that he could use some more time in AAA to finish refining his secondary stuff. Seeing as how this team isn't going anywhere anyway, giving the job to Todd Wellemeyer certianly wouldn't hurt too much. The back end of the pen is solid with Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt, Dan Runzler, and Sergio Romo. Waldis Joaquin is a guy to watch, he could be a closer candidate in a few years.
We've also got a review of the team's top moves, worst moves, and two prospects to watch. Stop by and let us know what you think.