Hello dear reader, it’s been a hot minute. Speaking of hot things, how about the hot corner? Losing Pablo Sandoval to the Red Sox can be a huge emotional blow with serious repercussions to the Giants lineup. I actually went through the Kubler-Ross stages of grieving when I found out that Sandoval was leaving San Francisco. First, I didn’t believe the articles, labeling the sources as misinformed or incorrect. Then I became angry with Sandoval—and David Ortiz for wooing him away. I spent a little time bargaining by telling the baseball gods I would never displease them again if they made Sandoval fail his physical. Next, I became depressed. Finally, I accepted it.
In reality, the loss of Sandoval is not about Panda hat sales—thank the baseball gods I shorted Panda hat futures in San Francisco—but it presents a major hole in the Giants lineup. During the better part of 2014, Sandoval and Buster Posey rotated between the three hold and the clean up spot in the order—Sandoval batting clean up against right handers and Posey taking the spot against south paws. With the Kung-Fu Panda’s big bat now in Boston Red, no Big Show ready in-house replacements, and the lack of any superstar free agents, the Giants will have to drop their order—realistically, the best they can do is get a Michael Morse/Aubrey Huff type.
That guy could well be Chase Headley—the man with the name Jon Miller loves to say. Headley’s agent has put out word that one of the interested clubs has put a four year, $65 million offer in front of the 30 year old third baseman and it sounds like the team to offer was the Giants. I very much suggest taking a look at this comparison between Sandoval and Headley and taking a look at all of the offensive categories. If Headley can pull out a 2012-like season, he’d be a major asset to the San Francisco lineup.
The other major off season move that the Giants could potentially make is the signing of left handed ace, Jon Lester. Lester would give the Giants a gnarly south paw 1-2 alongside postseason hero, Madison Bumgarner and while the Giants are very much in the running to sign the highly coveted free agent, the high spending Dodgers and Red Sox are among the other suitors and the final price tag will be very rich.
Michael Morse will likely he’ll end up as a designated hitter somewhere in the American League rather than return to San Francisco in 2015. The Giants will likely only offer him a one year deal whereas there will be more than a couple AL teams willing to negotiate a multi year contract. It makes sense, he’s a great guy with a great bat but a poor glove and the Giants already have a bad fielding left fielder, Travis Ishikawa who they officially resigned to a one year, $1.1 million deal.
The Giants also resigned Hector Sanchez to a one year, $800,000 contract but, depending on how Spring Training pans out, I would imagine that the Giants will go with Posey and Andrew Susac as their catchers to open the season. Susac hit for average and put up similar 2014 numbers as Sanchez who had nearly twice as many at bats and hit below .200. When Sanchez went down with a concussion, Susac came up and proved that he was ready to be a full time catcher in the Big Show. People (myself) have long speculated that Susac is Posey’s heir apparent at catcher and when/if Posey is moved to first base, the young lookalike will take over.
I’ve had a couple Angel Pagan related nightmares already this off season—I really, truly still cannot believe that the Giants A) made the postseason without Pagan and B) won the World Series with Gregor Blanco as their lead off man. Pagan presumably had surgery on September 25 but since it was reported that he would undergo a procedure to shave part of a herniated disc in his back, there has been zero news about how the surgery went or how well his recovery is going. The initial prognosis was that Pagan would be out for three months and when this was reported on September 23, everyone took it to mean that the Giants were DOA when it came to the postseason.
I’m hoping that Pagan is healing well but we all know how the back surgery story line can play out (cue Marco Scutaro). Regardless of Pagan’s health, General Manager Brian Sabean will hopefully look to add some depth in the outfield in the coming weeks. Juan Perez didn’t do so hot in a backup role last season and the jury is still out on whether Gary Brown is Major League ready let alone whether he will ever live up to the expectations. Barring a significant outfield addition, I could see Brown start 2015 in Triple-A Fresno before joining the club early in the season and I’d like to see him succeed—he’s fast and exciting when he’s playing right—and it might be time to give the 26 year old a chance to prove himself.
Marco Scutaro has certainly lost his starting position to Joe Panik and will be lucky to ride the pine for the final year of his $20 million contract. Sadly, the Venezuela simply does not seem to have the longevity of his compatriot, Omar Vizquel.
Minnesota’s Miguel Sano hasn’t played in any of the winter leagues but according the Carl Crawford, another of the rare position players to go through Tommy John, the surgery won’t diminish the powerful youngster’s swing.
The Twins will add another powerful bat to their 2015 lineup after bringing back 39 year old, Torii Hunter for a one year, $10 million contract. Minnesota drafted Hunter in the first round of the 1993 amateur draft (20th overall) and he spent the first nine seasons of his career there. Hunter created a mini-controversy during the off season when he supported an anti-gay marriage candidate for the Arkansas gubernatorial campaign which lead to this weird interaction with a Twins beat reporter. I’ll be honest, I had to google “bad words starting with p” in order to figure out what “p—-k” was. The answer is prick.