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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Out of Bounds: The 2011 San Francisco Giants

Editor in Chief Jonathan Roisman (Chris Corbin/The Inquirer 2010)

I’m still in a state of disbelief that the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. They always put an exciting product on the field, but the 2010 season was filled with so many improbable moments that it almost seemed magical. The Giants earned their championship, and they did so in their usual torturous fashion. Alas, the season is over, and while the memories of the celebrations and parades will live on forever, it’s time to look at the 2011 club.

Starting pitching: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner, and Barry Zito will once again give the Giants one of the strongest rotations in the entire league. General manger Brian Sabean said current reliever Dan Runzler could be converted to a starter for the upcoming season, which casts some doubts on Zito’s future. His contract would be nearly impossible to move, but if the Giants ate most of the money, I’m sure they could find a trade partner. Still, I think Zito will keep his job and have even less pressure on him as the No. 5 starter.

I think it would be crazy not to listen to offers for Sanchez, considering many teams would overpay in a trade for him. Sanchez is very good, but I think he’s peaked as a No. 3 starter and if the team can get a lot in return for him, they should take it. Odds are, the rotation is identical to last season, however. There’s nothing wrong with that, though.

Relief pitching: Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, and Jeremy Affeldt are all locks to come back next year, and both Santiago Casilla and Ramon Ramirez have a good chance of coming back. San Francisco has plenty of depth in their farm system to fill out their bullpen, assuming Runzler is either traded or moved into the rotation. Minor-leaguers Waldis Joaquin and Henry Sosa have decent shots at making the big league club this year.

The Giants are fortunate they don’t have to trade or sign overpriced pitching free agents; their pitching budget can be focused just on raises due to their current players. Few teams have such a luxury.

Catcher: Buster Posey will start 120+ games behind the plate, and current backup Eli Whiteside could come back, considering he’s not arbitration-eligible yet, meaning he’ll make close to the league minimum. Whiteside isn’t much of a hitter, but he’s good defensively and a positive force in the clubhouse.

1st base: I think most people would be shocked if Aubrey Huff didn’t come back. While I’d love him to return, he’ll probably be overpaid on a two-year deal, something the Giants should avoid. As good as Huff was in 2010, it’s doubtful he’ll return to the same form next season. Carlos Pena is a smarter option, but sentiment will play a big role in determining first base. Travis Ishikawa should return as a backup, unless he’s traded, which seems doubtful. Top prospect Brandon Belt might also get a look sometime in 2011, and he should be the starter in 2012.

2nd base: Freddy Sanchez is near-lock to be the starter. Mike Fontenot will most likely be tendered a contract to backup a number of infield positions, but you never know. He’s a decent player with decent pop. Can we trade for Dan Uggla, please?

3rd base: Pablo Sandoval is the Giant’s best option at the hot corner, but Sabean said earlier that if he doesn’t get into shape he’ll be sent to the minors. Hopefully that’ll light a fire under him so he doesn’t become a DH-type at age 28. He’s proved that he can be a legitimate power hitter, but he’s going to have to be serious about his weight and conditioning. Juan Uribe could take over if Sandoval is demoted.

Shortstop: Personally, I don’t see World Series MVP Edgar Renteria coming back. Yes, he was a hero for the team, but he’s old and hurt and there are some better options at short on the trade market (Marco Scutaro, anyone?). Prospect Brandon Crawford could also take over if Uribe leaves through free agency. As much as I like Uribe, is he really worth a two-year commitment that will surpass $10 million total? Hard to say, I suppose. I expect Uribe to return, but if he leaves, the Giants won’t suffer too much.

Left field: This is completely up in the air at this point. I don’t think Pat Burrell will come back, and Mark DeRosa is under contract and will be back from injury next season. Free agent Carl Crawford would be a wonderful addition, but it’ll never happen thanks to budgetary reasons. Prospect Thomas Neal might get a look, but don’t be surprised to see a trade happen for a left fielder. Josh Willingham, possibly? The Giants farm system is deep enough to get a decent hitter without giving up any of their top prospects (Belt, Zack Wheeler, etc.).

Center field: Andres Torres earned his job in center, and Aaron Rowand will probably be moved to another team or released. The team will have to eat his contract either way, so why let him waste away on the bench? Darren Ford might be one of the backups in the outfield this year, keeping costs down for the team.

Right field: Cody Ross tore up the place during the playoffs and has pretty much guaranteed himself a starting gig in right. I think Nate Schierholtz’s days by the Bay are numbered, and I think he’ll be traded. He needs a change of scenery, and the team has plenty of depth in their minor league system to have one of them take over as a backup. Schierholtz would be a good reserve, however, who has a rocket arm, at an affordable price. Still, a bench bat with some power would be preferable.

Management: Manager Bruce Bochy and Sabean deserve extensions, so look to see a couple of years tacked onto their current contracts. The 2011 Giants shouldn’t look too much different than last year’s team, especially considering they won the World Series with that club, and they won’t cost too much. The moves that are made, however, will be subtle, but will most likely be slight upgrades. They may not see a Crawford or a Jayson Werth join the squad, but they proved they don’t need an overpaid star. 


Contact Jonathan Roisman at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Roisman
Jonathan Roisman, Editor-in-chief
Co-editor-in-chief, fall 2010.

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Out of Bounds: The 2011 San Francisco Giants