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San Francisco Giants: New Year, New Team
- Updated: January 9, 2017
San Francisco Giants
Even though it was an even year, the San Francisco Giants didn’t win the World Series. Who could have seen that coming? Seriously. It was an even year, what more do you need? Well, a back-end bullpen that doesn’t set a franchise record for blown saves could have been needed.
Despite a leaky bullpen, the Giants moved passed this and beat the New York Mets in the NL Wild Card Game, but came up short; just barely avoiding a sweep at the hands of the soon-to-be world champion Chicago Cubs.
In all seriousness, disregarding that atrocious back-end bullpen problem, the 2016 Giants had a lot going for them.
To a normal eye, a .288 batting average from Buster Posey seems to be foreshadowing the veteran catchers upcoming descent, he had about 18 less at-bats than in 2015 and ‘14. Assuming Posey gets 12 hits in said 18 AB’s, he’s hitting an even .300, which is phenomenal off the bat of any player.
Of course another brilliant season from the southpaw Madison Bumgarner who went 15-9 with a 2.74 ERA, but let’s not overlook the solid performances behind Mad-Bum in the rotation. Beginning with San Fran’s second ace Johnny Cueto, who started for the NL in the All-Star Game, and went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA in 2016. The Giant rotation continues with an arm they acquired in the off-season, Jeff Samardzija, who went 12-11 with a 3.81 ERA last season. Throw the potential of a 27-year-old they acquired at the deadline, Matt Moore, and the depth this Giant rotation has should pay dividends in 2017, even though it’s an odd year.
The Giants, so far, have had a pretty quiet offseason. But in this case, it’s the quality, not the quantity. They acknowledged the back-end bullpen dilemma and did something about it. They agreed to terms with All-star, shut-down closer, Mark Melancon on a four-year, $62 million contract.
Following this, the Giants signed veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins to a minor-league contract.
Many little transactions were made by Giants GM Bobby Evans. LHP Matt Reynolds, utility player Michael Morse, outfielder Justin Ruggiano, catcher Josmil Pinto were all signed to Minor League contracts.
Expectations For 2017:
But wait…2017. That’s an odd year. The Giants can’t possibly make the playoffs.
Hate to pop that Dodger-Pride bubble, but yes, it is still possible the Giants can be good this year.
The addition of Melancon will greatly help that tragedy of a bullpen performance late last year. With another solid season expected from more than half the line-up, and a great season almost guaranteed by two starters who will pitch at least 210 innings, things are looking up for the G-Men of the bay area.
Just as these last few years have panned out, it is expected the Giants will compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West title, and one of them is almost guaranteed a Wild Card spot.
Though the Giants did hold the lead in the NL West in the middle of the season, their choke at the end nearly costed them a playoff spot. Yes they fixed that problem by acquiring reinforcements, compared to the rival Dodgers, they just cannot compete with that Dodger team.
The reason for that is because money to be used for potential upgrades was spent on one guy. Don’t get me wrong, that one guy can and will make a difference in the Bay Area, but the Giants still lack an impactful outfield, one their counterpart Dodgers have.
They also lack great power in the power position, well, just one. The power positions – highly debated but all can agree are at least first and third – in the Giants organization belong to veterans Brandon Belt and Eduardo Nunez. Belt at first is alright, but the 16 home runs off the bat of Nunez just isn’t enough to compete with the Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner combination in LA. The need for a third baseman is at the top of the list, after bullpen, and is sadly not yet filled.
That’s why 88-94 wins with a Wild Card spot for the San Francisco Giants is the expectation for 2017. But, just because they didn’t win the division, doesn’t mean they won’t win it all. Odd year, our year, right?
Nearly losing a playoff spot because of that horrendous back-end bullpen was a problem that was fixed. It seems like that’s all they really needed, except not exactly. They should benefit greatly from a more dependable third baseman, but haven’t pulled the trigger on anything yet. There are rumors about a possible trade for Brian Dozier with the Minnesota Twins, which would shift current second baseman Joe Panik to third, which, in that case, would solve all problems. But, again, no one has pulled the trigger on that. Despite having a hole at third base, a solid season is expected of the San Francisco Giants.