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Offseason Predictions for the San Francisco Giants: The Lineup

Brian Sabean sat down with some of the local media yesterday, and he said about 6,230 things that are worthy of some sort of reaction. I'll start with the point that will shape the context of the entire offseason:

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the offseason, but (Fred) Lewis should return to full strength and be our left fielder. Where he hits in the order is debatable. I think at this point we’ll pencil in (Pablo) Sandoval as our first baseman, and (Emmanuel) Burriss showed especially in the second half his ability to play shortstop when called on to play every day.

So that leaves 1B, SS, C, LF, CF, and RF as "filled" positions. Sure, if the price for Mark Teixeira suddenly drops from exorbitant to merely crazy crap expensive, maybe all bets are off. And there's an outside chance that Sabean could be blown away with an offer for Bengie Molina, which could give Sandoval a chance at the starting catcher's job, even if that sure doesn't sound like Sabean. All things being equal, though, the Giants are looking to find starters at second base and third base.

They have a host of options at second base, much in the same way that "Band-Aid", "sucking on it", and "hoping it will go away" are a host of options for a wound caused by blunt-force trauma. Maybe one of them could work out...but an unnamed backup plan will probably be the best option. If the Giants were to obtain a legitimate second baseman -- Henry Schulman mentions Dan Uggla -- I doubt there will be too many objections raised about the Giants blocking Kevin Frandsen or Eugenio Velez.

There aren't any palatable internal options for third base at all. Maybe if Sabean trusted Sandoval at the position full-time, things would be different. I would never blame him for not trusting Sandoval at the hot corner, though.

The free-agent market is mostly barren for both positions, and there's also a relevant quote from Sabean on this point:

If you asked me today, based on the research we’ve done to this point and what we get back from the scouts, I think our best avenue is going to be trade versus a free agent.

Maybe the thought of a 35-year-old Casey Blake clonking around excites you. Somehow, I doubt that very much. And the disintegration of Joe Crede has to have turned off even the most ardent of Credeophiles. Free agency is almost a total bust for the Giants' lineup needs this offseason. If the Giants are looking to trade for a third baseman, one has to wonder how many of these guys are realistic trade options. It doesn't seem like a whole bunch would be on the market.

Few free agent options. A need for power. Two open positions, at least. My guess as to what the Giants will do, presented with little comment:

Angel Villalona and Henry Sosa for Dan Uggla
Nate Schierholtz and Eugenio Velez for Adrian Beltre

Two trades with minimal impact on the present, both shoring up different lineup holes. I think this site would burn to the concrete slab underneath if both of those trades were to go through -- especially when Seattle announces they're going to  try Schierholtz as a third baseman -- but, again, I'm not advocating. I'm just predicting.

Comment starter: Your predictions on what Sabean will do. Both optimism and pessimism are encouraged.