It was an exciting offseason for Giants' fans.
Giants' fans that are also 49ers fans—that is.
The baseball front was slow. Small splashes and a few ripples. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Outside of the Yankees, Angels, Marlins, Diamondbacks and whoever signs Prince Fielder, most teams conducted their offseason in relative peace and quiet—making moves here and there.
Not every team in baseball followed up a World Series Championship with one of the worst offensive seasons in team history, while simultaneously possessing the best pitching staff in team history. It's win-now time in San Francisco. Whether the Giants made sufficient progress this winter is up for debate.
That debate can't wait. There will be a few new Giants this upcoming season. Let's take a look at how they shake out.
The Giants sent middle reliever Ramon Ramirez to the Mets for Pagan, a solid defender in a contract year who will try to be a top of the order spark. Middle relievers grow on trees in Fresno, making this a low-risk move.
Angel Pagan projects as the starting center fielder and lead-off hitter. He replaces Andres Torres. If he imitates the 2010 breakout year that Torres produced, then Giants' fans will be happy.
Which of the Giants off-season moves will have the biggest impact in 2012?
Last season, the Giants 8-9-1 batters hit .214. There was no lead-off hitter. We're still not sure where the lineup started last season. Even if Pagan repeated his down year from 2011, his .322 OBP would be a huge improvement at the top of the lineup.
Verdict: This has to be an improvement. Pagan won't get any MVP votes, but should be a nice upgrade.
The Melk Man came over from Kansas City in a trade for the volatile Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez, a home-grown lefty who had the ability to look unhittable and awful at the same time, has become expendable with the rise of Ryan Vogelsong and the ball-in-chain contract of Barry Zito.
Melky is coming off of a career year at the age of 27. He would have been the Giants' offensive MVP last season, which makes this a great move right? Maybe.
Most are skeptical of Cabrera's ability to repeat. However, he could be a major upgrade in the number two spot—allowing Freddy Sanchez to drop down and bail out the bottom of the order.
Melky is also entering a contract year and will be playing for a payday. Like Pagan, he benefits from the fact that he enters a lineup that has set the bar very low last year.
Verdict: Cabrera was not expensive and could solidify an outfield that was in flux all season in 2011.
Well that's all folks. While you were watching football, the Giants also decided to welcome back names like Eli Whiteside, Mike Fontenot, Javier Lopez, Guillermo Mota and Jeremy Affeldt.
Will the Giants be any better in 2012?
Will Melky Cabrera become Miguel Cabrera?
Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain—offseasons are much more fun in theory.