Are the Giants Dead in the Water?

There is nothing more exciting than watching one of the Giants hit a screamer over that imposing right field wall into the water. Those McCovey Cove splash hits, however, were at a premium in 2011. As a matter of fact, even seeing-eye nubbers and swinging bunts were at a premium. Too often the Giant’s box scores were littered with strike outs, pop ups, routine ground balls, and rally killing double plays. It was painful and frustrating to watch one of the top pitching staffs in baseball struggle for run support. Even a well-timed single now and then could have turned some of those gut-wrenching losses into victories.

The crippling injuries are well documented — Buster Posey, Freddie Sanchez, and even Pablo Sandoval for about 3 weeks. The late arrival of Carlos Beltran was put on hold by a freak check swing wrist injury that put him out for a couple of weeks at a time when the Giants had an opportunity to gain some ground. By the time Beltran got back into the lineup the Giants were already toast.

Holding back a good deal of money to keep the pitching intact is a no-brainer, but GM Brian Sabean has been characterized lately as the village idiot for doing so. Why didn’t he address the power outage by going after Albert Pujols, or why didn’t he at least try to get Carlos Beltran back into orange and black? The Angels will indeed benefit with Pujols hammering shots in Anaheim, but those massive paychecks to Pujols will no doubt persist long after his star has faded. The Giants already have too many of those contracts. Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito immediately come to mind. ( If Zito does indeed become a decent 5th starter, he at least will have yet another chance to earn some of that money). As for Beltran, kicking his tires a little too hard just might put him back on the disabled list. His asking price if far too high for a brittle guy with bad knees nearing the end of his career. It amazes me, too, that letting Cody Ross walk has caused so much of a stir. He is an average player at best. He got hot in the 2010 playoffs, but since then he has done little of note.

Are the Giants dead in the water? No way. Even with all the injuries and a serious lack of run support, the 2011 Giants still had enough talent to finish 10 games over .500, only 8 games behind the Arizona Snakes. When spring training 2012 rolls around, we’ll still have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Posey and Freddie Sanchez will be back and the Panda will pick up where he left off. Brandons Belt and Crawford, along with Nate Shierholtz, will have gained more consistency at the plate. Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan are definite upgrades and Aubrey Huff will have a bounce back year with Brett Pill in the wings. That adds up to a lot more than 8 additional wins.

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