Baseball is fast approaching and if the offseason symbolizes anything about the actual season itself, the San Francisco Giants are in for yet another disappointing season. For the first time this decade, the Giants have not made the postseason for the past two seasons and many critics around the league believe that they might not even contend for October baseball again.
To recap the last five months, the team’s downfall began with the replacement of General Manager Bobby Evans, who was seen as a scapegoat for the team’s construction down the stretch. In comes Farhan Zaidi, current president of baseball operations, who has previous experience with the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers. Zaidi, 42, is being looked at to help save this team from being “out of touch” from the game — the team is old, mediocre and lack depth, both in the majors and in the farm system.
In doing so, Zaidi has had his hand in a number of moves that have made the Giants a little younger, a step away from the core of guys we all know and love. In the Rule 5 draft, the Giants selected two players that must stay on the 40-man roster all season or they must offer them back to their original club. Draftee Travis Bergen, relief pitcher, might be a lock to make the active roster come Opening Day thanks to his performance so far in spring training. Second is Drew Ferguson who is looking for a spot in a crowded outfield with names that don’t look eye-popping.
Staying with the outfield, Bryce Harper was linked to the Giants, but he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, thus adding him to the ongoing list of superstars who pass on the Bay Area. With that, we are stuck with familiar names like Mac Williamson and Steven Duggar joined by newly signed veterans Cameron Maybin and Gerardo Parra.
Shifting to the bullpen that might be the team’s best asset. With a breakout 2018 season, Reyes Moronta looks to possibly be the closer. Along with Sam Dyson, Will Smith, Tony Watson and Bergen, it’s a pretty strong bunch that offer a lot to opposing hitters.
However, the question surrounding the bullpen will be if Mark Melancon can finally become even a shadow of what he was back as the closer of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Entering his third year, Melancon really has been a bust and his salary seems to be what keeps him around. To put his time into perspective, Melancon has had 73 appearances overall in the past two seasons. In 2013 and 2014 with Pittsburgh, Melancon had 72 outings in both years.
Another concern for the 2019 team is catcher Buster Posey coming off of his season-ending hip surgery. He has stated that he is healthy and ready for at least 100 games behind the plate this season, but does it even matter? You can add up the three titles and individual success that Posey has had but at 32 years old this season, it’s time for him to produce some more power in the batter’s box. His run production has dropped in each of the last three seasons, and at nearly 32 years old, can he still prove to many that he is the top catcher in the National League?
Finally, the biggest storyline will be stretched depending on how the team does early on: the possibility of Madison “MadBum” Bumgarner being traded. This is because trade rumors are swirling over the offseason and the Milwaukee Brewers are showing the most interest. Moving MadBum might be tough for the fan base but with his expiring contract after the upcoming season, it could be best for reshaping the entire team.
Overall, do I think this team can contend deep into the season? No.
The offense can’t hit as they scored the second least amount of runs last season, ahead of the tanking Miami Marlins. As much as the bullpen can open eyes, it tends to be inconsistent. And starting pitching just isn’t up to par with the rest of the National League West. The team is caught up in between contending for a playoff spot and in a complete rebuild of the team, which is a tough spot for the fans. My advice: hope for the best, expect the worse.