The Giants held their end-of-the-year press conference about a month earlier than they held last year's. Nobody was happy about that. There are things to do, folks. Things to do.
You can read full recaps from Alex Pavlovic and Andrew Baggarly, but there weren't any major developments. Angel Pagan is getting his knee flushed, but they expect him to return as the starter in center field. They like Leake, but they aren't sure they like-like Leake at market prices. Norichika Aoki's $5.5 million isn't a given, and neither is a contract for Yusmeiro Petit, who would be in his second year of arbitration. Bobby Evans is high on Clayton Blackburn, and the entire coaching staff is returning.
Something that I noticed on Twitter, though, was people snarking about how Larry Baer and Bobby Evans tap-danced around the question of pitcher quality vs. pitcher quality. That question, paraphrased, would be something like "Do you prefer an ace like David Price, or would you prefer two mid-rotation guys?"
This is the answer we would have liked to hear:
An ace. No question. If David Price doesn't accept our offer, we'll offer it to Zack Greinke. If neither of them accept that offer, we'll double it. We are coming home with an ace, my friends. We are coming home with an ace. You see this shoe? I will literally eat it, from the heel to the aglets, if we don't get either Price or Greinke. That's how focused we are. Now get the hell out of here. This press conference is over.
That is not an answer they could have possibly given, even if it's one we would have enjoyed. Watching the press conference, it was clear that the Giants are focused, focused, focused on the rotation. What's the plan for the bullpen? Osich in for Affeldt, bring back the rest of the crew, NEXT. What's the plan for the lineup? Get everyone healthy, maybe bring back Aoki, talk to a fourth/fifth outfielder or two, NEXT. When it came to the rotation, though, it was a bit more nuanced.
The first step of the offseason is for the front office to decide on a quality vs. quantity strategy. That's just me speculating, but it seems pretty obvious. Go for the Lesters and settle for the Peavys, or go for the Peavys from the start, and maybe the Lesters will drop in price? The second step of the offseason is to see how much the offseason has been drinking. As much as I like Zack Greinke, what if he wants a seven-year, $220 million contract, and the Dodgers and Yankees are fighting each other to give it to him? A monomaniacal focus on one player doesn't seem like the greatest way to end up happy with your offseason.
My gut: The Giants are going to do their dangedest to get Greinke, knowing the consolation prize would be to jack up the cost for the Dodgers. The fallback plan would be the second- and third-tier pitchers, though their affinity for Blackburn (and early contributions from Chris Heston) will allow them to favor quality over quantity. They might feel like they already have depth and contingency plans.
My prediction: We'll probably complain a lot about whatever happens because they aren't getting Price or Greinke.
So, no, the Giants didn't reveal their offseason strategy was PRICE OR BUST, but then they never were. The aren't going to back away from them, though, which means the rumors will be hot and/or heavy.
We have five months of this.
Come back, baseball. And when you do, pick up a co-ace at the store.