San Francisco Giants Off Season Report
- Updated: January 10, 2009
Season Wrap Up
2008 saw the Bond-less Giants tied for the 6th worst record in baseball at 72-90, but I actually thought they had a chance of reaching 100 losses so they did better than I thought they would. They went into the year without a solid closer, which effects the rest of the bullpen, and supposed Ace of the staff, Barry Zito had another pathetic year and was even sent to the minors briefly to work on his mechanics and jar his memory on how to pitch in the big leagues. What they did well was manufacture runs and pitchers Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum both had good years with Lincecum winning the Cy Young Award. The smartest thing they did last year was to alert aging SS Omar Vizquel that they needed to get younger as a team and were no longer going to play him. After all, he only hit .222 (more than 50 points below his career level) with an OBP of .283, but he can still field better than the average SS. Yet, it had to be done! You just can’t score enough runs when you rely on a cleanup hitter that’s an aging catcher who never hit more than 19 HRs in a season, hence the 90 losses.
Holes to Fill
I’m going to be brutally honest here. They need to upgrade at 1B, 2B, 3B and a closer, but their OF is in decent shape. They filled a hole in the rotation, bullpen and at SS with the signings of Randy Johnson, Jeremy Affeldt, Bob Howry and Edgar Renteria.
The Giants only have two free agents this off season in 1B Rich Aurilia (37) and SS Omar Vizquel (41). Vizquel will not be back and if he doesn’t retire, will probably only be given the chance to play in either Japan or some other Asian professional league. I would; however, bring back Aurilia as he is better than anyone else they have in the infield besides Redteria. Johnson, Renteria and Affeldt were all good pick ups for the Giants and if Zito can remember how he pitched in Oakland, their rotaion will be much improved in 2009.
I just don’t think that the Giants have the offensive ability to compete in even the weak NL West, let alone the rest of the NL. The BIG question is how long will they be able to keep Lincecum and Cain if they keep losing and not spending. They had the 17th highest payroll in 2008 at $76.9M which was over $30M higher than the AL pennant winning Tampa Bay Rays. Look for the Giants to regain their position in last place in 2009.
Off Season Moves Made So Far
In November, they signed free agent RHP Justin Miller and 1B Josh Phelps to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training for them both and LHP Jeremy Affeldt to a two-year contract. They followed that up by signing RHP Bob Howry to a one-year contract,SS Edgar Renteria to a two-year contract and LHP Randy Johnson to a one-year contract. They also selected RHP Luis Perdomo from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Rule 5 Draft.