San Francisco Giants 2011 Season Preview
You can find your SF Giants tickets for the 2011 season on SeatGeek.
San Francisco Giants 2011 Season Preview
The 2010 San Francisco Giants campaign was one black and orange fans will never, ever, forget. From the historic pitching staff to clinching the NL West title on the final day of the season, the Giants season was full of moments you dream of as a young child watching your favorite team. When the season began, the Giants official team motto was “It’s Magic Inside”. And while at times, it was replaced by the Duane Kuiper coined “torture”, little did we know just how magical it would end up being. So how will it all shake out this coming season!?
Departures (as of 1/3/11): Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, Chris Ray, Eugenio Velez
Well, in my humble (but most awesome) opinion, the Giants really didn’t lose that much to free agency. The biggest blow is obviously Juan Uribe, but even then, the blow is completely sustainable. Yes, Uribe was a key cog in the Giants late season and playoff runs – there is no denying that. And while I’m certainly not attempting to degrade his contributions (because he had many heroic and clutch moments), he still was a .248 hitter last year and had some of the most horrendous and ugly funks during the season you’ll ever witness. Yes, I would have preferred for him to stay in San Francisco but at the price tag and his age, it wasn’t worth it. As for the other departing Giants, both Chris Ray and Eugenio Velez were nothing more than roster fodder that can easily be replaced and while Edgar Renteria had his heroic moments much like Uribe, he too is a player you can afford to lose. With the addition of Miguel Tejada (who should post similar, if not a touch better offensive numbers and provide similar adequate defense), losing Renteria (assuming he doesn’t return to the Giants) isn’t a very crushing blow at all. In all sincerity, the Giants might have actually upgraded – a very slight upgrade, but, a small one never the less. So when all is said and done, the Giants really didn’t lose much from their core.
Re-signed: Aubrey Huff, Mike Fontenot, Pat Burrell, Guillermo Mota, Waldis Joaquin
Signed: Miguel Tejada
The Giants clearly got on the ball quickly and brought back their most important free agent Aubrey Huff, even though the rival Dodgers did their best to snag the valuable first baseman. Huff was obviously the Giants most important off-season priority and they got that out of the way soon as possible. The Giants also made sure to replace Juan Uribe and/or Edgar Renteria with the addition of Miguel Tejada. Tejada should provide adequate power numbers to Uribe and a better batting average. The defensive range (which wasn’t anything special with Uribe anyway) might be a bit worse, but that’s the lump you take. I’d much rather be paying Tejada one million dollars for a single season than Uribe 7+ for the next three and I’m sure most Giant fans feel the same way. In addition to reinforcing their starting lineup, the Giants also kept the depth that proved so valuable last year. Both Mike Fontenot and Pat Burrell were brought back on extremely team friendly deals and both Mota and Joaquin were brought back on minor league deals. I wouldn’t expect to see Joaquin much on the Major League level, barring injury, but I’d assume Mota would make the Giants final big league roster out of camp.
The Giants aren’t expected to many any further big moves in free agency this year nor were they really ever expected to as the Giants had a number of players who were due for some considerable pay increases, much like Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, and Matt Cain.
Biggest Questions Of 2011?
Well, the biggest question in my mind is the pitching. Can they repeat their 2010 performance? The answer? Yes, and no. The Giants pitching staff (especially the starting pitching) went on a historic run to end the season and throughout the playoffs. But, they were continually one of the premier pitching staffs through the year and have been for consecutive seasons. Buster Posey will only continue to improve behind the plate calling games (ironically, nor not ironically, depending on your view point, the staff really began their historic run after Molina was moved to Texas and Posey overtook the starting job), so it’s reasonable to think the Giants pitching can continue to be extremely dominant.
The other big question will be the patch-work offense that the Giants continue to roll out. No, they didn’t make a big splash in free agency to improve the offense, and they lost 24 home runs and 85 RBI in Juan Uribe. Now, as mentioned above, Miguel Tejada will soften that blow a bit (16-20 HR’s isn’t out of the question) and improve greatly on batting average, so the loss is manageable. One other thing the general media doesn’t look at was how improved the Giants offense was when Posey overtook the starting job. The Giants certainly wouldn’t be confused with Murderer’s Row anytime soon, but, they were average which clearly was good enough to push them into a dominating playoff run. To put it into perspective, they were on par with the Phillies offense (outside of HR’s) in almost every major offensive statistical category.
Going into last year, Giant fans were just hoping for a playoff berth and when the team began to struggle in May-June, you could hear the groans from the Central Valley to the Bay. But the season swung and did a complete 180 once Pat Burrell and Buster Posey came into the mix. The pitching staff took off with Posey behind the dish, the struggling offense became much improved, and the defense improved with the addition of Cody Ross late in the year. In short, the 2010 San Francisco Giants campaign was a three part story and the team that started the year wasn’t the team you say compete in the playoffs, which I think many outside fans overlook. Yes, the Giants certainly had a stretch of hotness come October, but this team is built to compete for the long haul. Can they repeat as World Champions? Well, we’ll all aware of just how difficult that is. But with the Padres loss of Adrian Gonzales, the Dodgers floundering in mediocrity, the Rockies pitching woes, and the D’Backs continued re-build, you’d have to think the Giants have a great chance at capturing a second consecutive NL West title and making attempts at defending their crown. I hear Philly is waiting.