|San Francisco Giants|
||Second Place, 8 GB
|2012 at Dodger Stadium:
||May 7-9, Aug 20-22, Oct 1-3
|2012 Dodgers at Kevin Elster Field:||Jun 25-27, Jul 27-29, Sep 7-9
|SB Nation coverage:||
SB Nation Bay Area
1) Where, and how much will Brandon Belt play?
Belt was ranked the 23rd best prospect in MLB by Baseball America coming into the 2011 season, and even made the opening day roster for the Giants last season. But he didn't get a ton of playing time with the Giants, and hit .225/.306/.412 in 209 plate appearances and was optioned to Triple A three times last year.
This year, Aubrey Huff is set to make $10 million in the final year of his contract and could get a lot of time at first base. Manager Bruce Bochy said last week that his likely starting outfield would be Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, and Nate Schierholtz, though both Huff and Belt could see time in the outfield as well, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Belt started 18 games at first base for the Giants last year, made 16 starts in left field, and one more in right field.
Bumgarner quietly had a pretty great season in 2011. He was 13-13 and his 3.21 ERA ranked fourth on his own team, but his peripheral numbers were outstanding. He was fourth in the National League with a 2.67 FIP and sixth in the NL with a 3.10 expected-FIP. And the southpaw was just 21 years old.
With 46 walks and 191 strikeouts, Bumgarner is one of just three pitchers since 1901 at age 21 or younger to have a strikeout-to-walk ratio of at least 4-to-1 while qualifying for the ERA title, joining Bret Saberhagen (1985) and Don Sutton (1966).
|Comforting Thought About The Giants:|
Barry Zito still has $46 million remaining on his contract.
3) Is Buster Posey fully recovered?
The Giants sure hope so.
Posey, the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year, tore three ankle ligaments and broke his leg in a violent home plate collision with Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins on May 25, 2011, is not yet 100% but hopes to be ready and fully healthy by opening day. To protect Posey and to keep his bat in the lineup, he might even play first base once a week or more.
"The work's been done," Giants general manager Brian Sabean told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News last week. "(Trainer Dave) Groeschner has been pleased with where they are. But we'll be very conscious and diligent about what his schedule will be gamewise. At the finish line is to get him ready to be the opening-day catcher and then to figure from there how many games he can catch."
After Posey got hurt last year, the Giants' catching trio of Eli Whiteside, Chris Stewart, and Hector Sanchez combined to hit .199/.268/.298 with 15 doubles and six home runs in 114 games (plus one inning).
4) Did The Panda add muscle or fat?
Pablo Sandoval rebounded from a subpar 2010 by hitting .315/.357/.552 with 23 home runs in 117 games last year, and parlayed that into a three-year, $17.15 million contract that bought out his salary arbitration years and could potentially be a steal for the Giants. After losing 40 pounds before last season to show up at 240 pounds, the Panda showed up to Fan Fest last week somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 pounds.
"Manager Bruce Bochy observed at FanFest that Sandoval needed to shed a few pounds before Spring Training opens. The Giants' initial full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 24. Sandoval insisted that his weight, which is believed to hover in the 250-pound range, was the product of increased muscle, not fat," wrote Chris Haft of MLB.com. "Sabean vouched for Sandoval's diligence by saying that the 25-year-old frequently works out twice daily."
That sounds like the old stories of Hall of Fame Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella showing up to Vero Beach and claiming the bulk around his middle was muscle, not fat. With as good a hitter as Sandoval is, it might not matter.
5) Will Tim Lincecum be appearing in any commercials for The Golden Arches anytime soon?
This seems doubtful.
"You take your first bite of a McDonald's burger and it's like, 'Why did I buy this?' " Lincecum told Gwenn Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday. "You feel instantly sick. That's what ended up happening with all these places. ... I take a bite and I'm like, 'I can't even finish this.' I'm not crushing vegetables by any means, but I'm definitely eating better."
|Giants Trades, Etc. This Winter|
|Royals||Jonathan Sanchez lhp
Ryan Verdugo lhp
|Melky Cabrera of|
Andres Torres of
Ramon Ramirez rhp
|Angel Pagan of|
The Giants shipped an erratic left-hander to the American League Central for an outfielder coming off a career year, then swapped center fielders with the Mets.
|Giants Contracts Signed This Winter|
|Pos||Player||Type||Total Contract||2012 Salary|
|C||Eli Whiteside||FA||1-year, $600k||$600,000|
|RP||Jeremy Affeldt||Opt||$5m option exercise||$5,000,000|
|SP||Tim Lincecum||Arb||2-year, $40.5m||$18,500,000|
|3B||Pablo Sandoval||Arb||3-year, $17.15m||$3,200,000|
|OF||Melky Cabrera||Arb||1-year, $6m||$6,000,000|
|RP||Javier Lopez||Arb||2-year, $8.5m||$4,250,000|
|OF||Angel Pagan||Arb||1-year, $4.85m||$4,850,000|
|SP||Ryan Vogelsong||Arb||2-year, $8.3m||$3,000,000|
|RP||Santiago Casilla||Arb||1-year, $2.2m||$2,200,000|
|RP||Sergio Romo||Arb||1-year, $1.575m||$1,575,000|
|OF||Nate Schierholtz||Arb||1-year, $1.3m||$1,300,000|
|IF||Mike Fontenot||Arb||1-year, $1.05m||$1,050,000|
|Giants Players Lost|
|OF||Cody Ross||Red Sox|
|*Minor league deal|
Here's my guess as to the Giants' 25-man roster, with a few assumptions mixed in:
|2012 Giants Under Contract|
|Pos||Player||2012 Age*||2012 Salary|
|C||Buster Posey||25||team control|
|1B/OF||Brandon Belt||24||team control|
|IF||Brandon Crawford||25||team control|
|SP||Madison Bumgarner||22||team control|
|Totals (20 players)
|*Age as of June 30, 2012
Dan Runzler is another option for the Mota spot in the bullpen, should the Giants choose to have three left-handed relievers. The Giants also will pay $12 million (possibly less the major league minimum salary of $480,000) to Aaron Rowand, who was released in September and signed a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins.