The Giants outplayed the Dodgers down the stretch last season, and never said die throughout the postseason, on their way to a second title in three years. Here's a look at their offseason, which consisted mostly of bringing back familiar faces.
|San Francisco Giants|
||First place; World Series champs
|2013 at Dodger Stadium:
||Apr. 1-3, June 24-26, Sept. 12-15|
|2013 Dodgers at AT&T Park:||May 3-5, July 5-7, Sept. 24-26|
|SB Nation coverage:||McCovey Chronicles|
1) What the hell happened to Lincecum?
When thinking of the Giants' rotation in 2013 and wondering which $20 million plus starter might falter, I was much expecting to be writing about Barry Zito. But here we are, wondering just how $22 million man Tim Lincecum will rebound from what by far was his worst season. Lincecum in 2012 was a far cry from the form that won two Cy Young Awards, as he set career lows in ERA (5.18), FIP (4.18), xFIP (3.82), strikeout rate (23.0%), and walk rate (10.9%).
Lincecum was even pushed out of the postseason rotation in favor of Zito. Lincecum seemed to find new life in the bullpen in the postseason, as he allowed one run in 13 relief innings, with two walks and 17 strikeouts. In his one playoff start, Lincecum allowed four runs in 4⅔ innings to lose Game 4 of the NLCS against the Cardinals, which gave St. Louis an unfortunately surmountable 3-1 series lead.
In 2008, Lincecum's average fastball was 94.1 mph, and declined all the way to 90.4 mph last season. Whether or not he rebounds will be big for the Giants in 2013, but considering they just won a World Series with a relatively terrible Lincecum for most of the year it would be foolish to say his performance will make or break them.
2) Will Scutaro outhit Gonzalez and Ramirez again?
The Dodgers were in first place as late as Aug. 19, and they added over $300 million in future salaries in in-season trades, with Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez chief among the lineup additions. But none of those deals made as much difference as Marco Scutaro did for the Giants. Scutaro, acquired from the Rockies on July 27, took over second base and hit a robust .362/.385/.473 in the regular season, then hit an even .500 (14-for-28) in the NLCS to win series MVP honors.
Scutaro was so big for the Giants that his teammates took to calling him "Blockbuster" in the clubhouse. He parlayed that into a three-year, $20 million contract to return to San Francisco for his ages 37-39 years.
3) Is it troubling that the Giants have three solid lefties in their bullpen?
Yes. Adjust all projections for Andre Ethier accordingly downward, knowing that a decent percentage of his plate appearances against the Giants will be against southpaws Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, or Jose Mijares.
4) Up 2-0 in a best-of-five series, with three home games left, especially when your Game 3 starter allows one hit in seven innings with 10 strikeouts, you should win that series, right?
5) Who had a busier offseason, Rosario or Whiteside?
Whiteside, who had one hit in his 12 games in 2012, was a backup catcher for the Giants for four years, but was placed on waivers after the World Series. Whiteside was claimed by the Yankees on Nov. 5, but his time on the New York 40-man roster lasted just over three weeks. On Nov. 28, the Yankees signed Andy Pettitte and designated Whiteside for assignment. Five days later, the Blue Jays claimed Whiteside, but his time on the Toronto roster was even shorter. The Blue Jays put Whiteside on waivers a week later, and on Dec. 12 he was claimed by the Rangers. To top it all, the Rangers designated Whiteside for assignment as well, on Jan. 3, but this time the catcher cleared waivers and he remains with Texas, headed to Surprise, Arizona as a non-roster invitee.
Rosario's offseason maneuverings were even more prolific, as his route from Miami to San Francisco was anything but linear. Rosario, 27, has pitched a parts of the last three seasons, a total of 7⅔ innings, for the Marlins, but he was put on waivers a few weeks after the season. On Oct. 17, the Red Sox claimed Rosario, but a month later, on Nov. 20, he was one of five players designated for assignment by Boston. Eight days later the Red Sox found a taker for the right-hander and traded him to the Athletics for pitcher Graham Godfrey.
But on Nov. 30 the A's acquired Chris Resop from the Pirates and needed a spot on the 40-man roster, which meant Rosario was designated for assignment just two days after joining Oakland's roster. On Dec. 10 Rosario was claimed again, by the Red Sox, rejoining his old team from the previous month. This time though Rosario lasted just two days with Boston, as they tried to pass him through waivers almost immediately. On Dec. 12, the Cubs swooped in and claimed Rosario, but as you may have guessed, his time on Chicago's roster was also brief. The Cubs tried to pass him through waivers about a week later, and the Giants claimed the pitcher on Dec. 21. So far, he has stuck.
For those keeping track, that's three new teams and four transactions this offseason for Whiteside, with four new teams and five transactions for Rosario.
|Giants Waiver Wire This Winter|
|Yankees||Eli Whiteside c|
|Cubs||Sandy Rosario rhp|
|Royals||Tony Abreu if|
The old friend Abreu just joined the Giants last week after Kansas City designated him for assignment.
|Giants Contracts Signed This Winter|
|Pos||Player||Type||Total Contract||2013 Salary|
|OF||Angel Pagan||FA||4 yrs, $40m||$12,000,000*|
|IF||FA||3 yrs, $20m||$8,000,000*|
|RP||Jeremy Affeldt||FA||3 yrs, $18m||$8,000,000*|
|RP||Santiago Casilla||arb||3 yrs, $15m||$4,500,000|
|OF||Andres Torres||arb||1 yr, $2m||$2,000,000|
|C||Buster Posey||arb||1 yr, $8m||$8,000,000|
|OF||Hunter Pence||arb||1 yr, $13.8m||$13,800,000|
|OF||Gregor Blanco||arb||1 yr, $1.35m||$1,350,000|
|RP||Sergio Romo||arb||2 yrs, $9m||$3,500,000|
|IF||Joaquin Arias||arb||1 yr, $925k||$925,000|
|RP||Jose Mijares||arb||1 yr, $1.8m||$1,800,000|
|*including signing bonus; #estimated
|Giants Players Lost|
|OF||Melky Cabrera||Blue Jays|
|RP||Brian Wilson||free agent|
|RP||Guillermo Mota||free agent|
|2B||Freddy Sanchez||free agent|
|1B/OF||Aubrey Huff||free agent|
|P||Brad Penny||free agent|
|2B||Ryan Theriot||free agent|
|P||Clay Hensley||free agent|
|*Minor league deal|
Here's my guess as to the Giants' 25-man roster, with a few assumptions mixed in:
|2013 Giants Under Contract|
|Pos||Player||2013 Age*||2012 Salary|
|1B||Brandon Belt||25||team control|
|SS||Brandon Crawford||26||team control|
|IF/OF||Brett Pill||28||team control|
|IF||Tony Abreu||28||team control|
|C||Hector Sanchez||23||team control|
|RHP||George Kontos||28||team control|
|Totals (19 players, incl Gaudin)
|*Age as of June 30, 2013; ^NRI