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2012 NL West Offseason Review: San Francisco Giants

Our offseason tour around the National League West brings us to the hated ones, a look at the San Francisco Giants. Here is a look at the offseason for the Dodgers' heated rivals.

Five Questions

San Francisco Giants
2011 Record: 86-76
Division Finish:
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: McCovey Chronicles
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.

2) Will Madison Bumgarner eventually get a perm and announce Braves games?

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 "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."

Offseason Moves

Giants Trades, Etc. This Winter
Team Traded Acquired
Royals Jonathan Sanchez lhp
Ryan Verdugo lhp
Melky Cabrera of
Mets 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 Clay Hensley
FA 1-year, $750k $750,000
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

In addition, the Giants signed infielder Ryan Theriot and pitcher Guillermo Mota, among others, to minor-league contracts.

Giants Players Lost
Pos Player New Team
OF Carlos Beltran Cardinals
OF Cody Ross Red Sox
IF Jeff Keppinger Rays
IF Mark DeRosa Nationals
OF Darren Ford Mariners*
IF Orlando Cabrera
OF Pat Burrell retirement
*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 Aubrey Huff 35 $10,000,000
2B Freddy Sanchez 34 $6,000,000
3B Pablo Sandoval 25 $3,200,000
SS Mike Fontenot 32 $1,050,000
LF Melky Cabrera 27 $6,000,000
CF Angel Pagan 30 $4,850,000
RF Nate Schierholtz 28 $1,300,000
1B/OF Brandon Belt 24 team control
IF Ryan Theriot 32 $1,250,000^
IF Brandon Crawford 25 team control
OF Justin Christian
32 team control
C Eli Whiteside 32 $600,000
SP Tim Lincecum 28 $18,500,000
SP Matt Cain 27 $15,000,000
SP Madison Bumgarner 22 team control
SP Ryan Vogelsong 34 $3,000,000
SP Barry Zito 34 $19,000,000
CL Brian Wilson 30 $8,500,000
RHP Sergio Romo 29 $1,575,000
LHP Javier Lopez 34 $4,250,000
LHP Jeremy Affeldt 33 $5,000,000
RHP Santiago Casilla 31 $2,200,000
RHP Clay Hensley
RHP Guillermo Mota 38 $1,000,000^
Totals (20 players)
*Age as of June 30, 2012
^minor-league deal

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.

Thanks to and Cot's Baseball Contracts. Barry Zito / Matt Kemp photo courtesy of Getty Images.