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The first question of the offseason

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The people coming back to the Giants for sure:

 

C – Posey
2B – Sanchez
CF – Torres
OF – Ross
LB – Sandoval

There are so, so many movable parts and uncertainties with this lineup and the pending free agents. Makes it hard to rosterbate effectively, it does. Aubrey Huff can kind of play a couple of positions, so can Sandoval, and the one majors-ready prospect in the system shares a position with both of them, and it all might be contingent on if the Giants re-sign their shortstop to play third base in the event that a second baseman from Japan is signed to play short, as the third baseman would be at first, but only if he loses weight. Obviously.

One question, then, that needs to be answered before any rosterbation:

  • Is Pablo Sandoval the starting third baseman? 

Figure it out now, and send a team of Navy SEALs to escort him through the offseason if you need to. If Pablo starts at third, it closes a lineup opening. If Sandoval isn’t starting, the offseason is a free-for-all that can include anyone from Uribe to Adrian Beltre. But if the Giants go to great lengths to put someone else at third base, that could leave a McCovey/Cepeda-sized mess at first if Sandoval impresses the Giants with his return to form and Brandon Belt performs as expected in AAA.

Well, the Giants could always put Sandoval in left, like they did with Cepeda. That would be one way to boost ticket sales.

The Giants can’t afford to have Sandoval be a pleasant surprise after the rest of the lineup is settled, and then try to figure out how he’s going to get at-bats. They also can’t afford to count on him, ignore all sorts of different roster permutations, and have him roll into town speaking Huttese. He was one of the worst third basemen in the NL last year, even if it was a strong collection of players with which he was competing. Still, he was only 23 last year, and you’d think that sitting and watching his team win the World Series without him would be good motivation to get a little more fit and prepared.

Heck, I don’t have an answer. But the Giants should. The wait-and-see game would be a great way for the organization to be left with moldy offseason leftovers.