Whenever it is that the Giants enter the off-season, they will need to carefully consider the annual crop of free agents to decide who can best give them a chance to win in 2013.
Here are three candidates worthy of San Francisco's attention.
Yes, in all likelihood, Robinson Cano will be rejoining his Yankee teammates. But just as they did in 2010 with Derek Jeter, the Giants would be wise to express interest in the second baseman before he re-ups with the Bronx Bombers.
The Giants will shed Freddy Sanchez's contact at the end of this season, which gives them the chance to pursue a legitimate second baseman. They may be content to arrange a new deal with the man currently holding the position, Marco Scutaro, but they'd be remiss not to even inquire into Cano, who could add a much-needed power bat to the middle of San Francisco's batting order.
While Broxton is currently known in San Francisco as the guy who used to close for the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, his resurgence with the Cincinnati Reds has made him a viable replacement for a team in need of a closer. Brian Wilson's future remains very uncertain: the Giants could tender him a contract or decline his option for 2013. Which way they'll go will be based on how Wilson looks when he finally starts throwing the ball after having undergone his second Tommy John surgery this past spring.
Broxton turns 29 next year and his numbers in 2012 show a relief pitcher coming into his own. He owned a 3-3 record with a 2.82 ERA and 6.67 K/BB ratio this season. Those numbers are definitely good enough for San Francisco to consider him if Wilson does not return as their ninth-inning guy.
After San Francisco improbably and historically overtook the Cincinnati Reds to win the NLDS, they were obligated to revisit a matter they'd already discussed. Melky Cabrera's 50-game suspension ended with Sergio Romo's strikeout of Scott Rolen, and per MLB procedure, Cabrera was reinstated to the Giants 40-man roster. More telling was Cabrera's absence on San Francisco's active NLCS roster a few days later.
In short, the Giants appear very hesitant to continue their relationship with Melky. Coincidentally, the Texas Rangers may be harboring similar feelings about Josh Hamilton. There are some major question marks that come with considering Hamilton: how much he'll cost, how many years he's willing to take given his numerous health issues and his interest in playing somewhere outside of the Ballpark in Arlington.
Even with these notable issues in the equation, expect the Giants to extend some feelers to the slugging outfielder. If Cabrera isn't in the cards, San Francisco may be interested in a high-cost, low-year contract that puts Hamilton in the middle of a win-now lineup.