Giants Look to Upgrade Offense in Offseason


Angel Pagan better perform for the Giants, or fans will hate him more than Barry Zito.

Trevor Rechnitz, Online EIC

After a disappointing 2011, the San Francisco Giants have work to do in the offseason in order to return to the playoffs in 2012. As one of the few teams in MLB history to win the World Series and then fail to make the playoffs the following year, the Giants, as usual, need a big bat to fill the middle of the lineup.

The Giants traded outfielder Andres Torres and relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez for New York Mets Outfielder Angel Pagan. While this trade may seem like a cop-out for the Giants to pick up an offseason bat, in reality it could actually work out well for the Giants. Torres was not going to start this season. He had a lackluster 2011, which put him in the position of fighting for his job in the outfield heading into next season, if that. Torres brought the Giants was speed and energy. But he was never going to hit over .270 and had a total of 45 stolen bases the past two seasons. Pagan stole 31 bases for the Mets last year and has the capability to hit .280 and drive in somewhere around 70 games. Losing Ramon Ramirez is no problem for the Giants. He is a medicore reliever who can easily be replaced by an in-house prospect.

Giants GM Brian Sabean also traded pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and minor leaguer Ryan Verdugo for Kansas City Royals outfielder Melky Cabrera. This trade, while undoubtedly benefitting the Giants offense, has numerous cons. Although Cabrera hit .305 last year with an average 18 homeruns, run-of-the-mill power hitters are notorious for slumping in pitcher friendly AT&T Park.  In addition, without Sanchez, any injuries to the our pitching staff could cause the Giants to move to a four-man rotation, a dangerous move when pitchers perform best with five days rest.

Cabrera is just an average bat. This is the kind of acquisition that may allow Sabean to say he picked up “his bat” for the offseason, when this clearly isn’t the only bat we need.  Along with the acquisition of Cabrera, Sabean also offered a two year, $4.6 million contract to Willie Bloomquist to fill the gap at shortstop.

There are numerous potential free agents that could benefit the Giants’ offense. Realistically, we can’t ask for a Jose Reyes or Prince Fielder, who would require a multi-year, $100 million contract. The long list of free agents includes Clint Barmes, Yuniesky Betancourt, Aaron Hill, Kelly Johnson, David DeJesus, and Josh Willingham. For the current Giants lineup, Oakland’s utility man, Josh Willingham can fill the defensive holes caused by any injury and is a power threat from the plate.

The 2011 Giants season was plagued by injuries. A fully recovered Buster Posey is indispensable to the Giants offense, and his presence in 2012 will be critical their success. In addition to Posey, a healthy Freddy Sanchez will also be a consistent base runner for power hitters Posey and Sandoval.

Lastly, the Giants’ moves in the offseason depend on the performance of their minor league prospects. Brandon Crawford, Emmanuel Burriss, Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt all need to perform to ensure not only success for the Giants in 2012, but team longevity as well.