2012 World Series: 10 Moves San Francisco Giants Will Make After Winning It All
GM Brian Sabean wants to keep much of his major league roster intact through re-signings and contract extensions. However, it's in San Francisco's best interest that the front office let a few familiar faces leave. Via free agency and trades, the team could address its weaknesses and come back even stronger next fall.
Here's what to expect from the MLB champions this offseason.
Re-Sign Marco Scutaro
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Marco Scutaro has performed brilliantly in orange and black.
His .362/.385/.473 triple-slash line in 61 games to close out the regular season helped the team run away with the NL West. The middle infielder even started at third base for several weeks while Pablo Sandoval nursed a hamstring injury.
Scutaro is thriving in the playoffs as well. He batted .500 during the NLCS to earn MVP honors.
Though his numbers in the previous and subsequent series don't seem as remarkable, his ability to put the ball in play remains an asset.
Mike Axisa of MLB Trade Rumors writes that the soon-to-be 37-year-old will "be in high demand." After all, there's a scarcity of quality middle infielders in the upcoming free-agent class.
Fortunately for the San Francisco Giants, Scutaro is eager to return (via Andrew Baggarly, CSNBayArea.com).
Re-Sign Jeremy Affeldt
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Leaning heavily on southpaw Jeremy Affeldt has paid off for the San Francisco Giants. For the second straight season, he maintained a sub-3.00 ERA over 67 appearances.
Plus, he was an unheralded hero this October (0.00 ERA, 10 SO in 10.1 IP).
Affeldt is an important cog in the team's deep bullpen.
Bring Back Brian Wilson on One-Year, Incentive-Laden Deal
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Brian Wilson underwent his second Tommy John surgery in April. Recovery has progressed, and he started a throwing program earlier this month (via The Sporting News).
Despite the closer's confidence and determination, there's skepticism about whether or not he can return by Opening Day.
Wilson is eligible for arbitration this winter. The process would guarantee him a slight raise after earning $8.5 million in 2012.
Instead, the San Francisco Giants will non-tender their eccentric right-hander and offer him a new deal at a lower base salary. Hefty cash incentives for appearances, saves and games finished will encourage him to re-sign.
A Second Chance for Melky Cabrera
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Initially, the organization seemed prepared to cut ties with Melky Cabrera. His positive test for performance-enhancing drugs came as a major surprise and embarrassment.
However, Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area believes the San Francisco Giants have softened their stance.
Sentiment began to change on September 19, when he asked to be removed from the NL batting race. He confessed that his league-best .346 average was "tainted" and not worthy of recognition.
The Melk Man's suspension ended three weeks later. Rather than releasing him, the San Francisco Giants reinstated him on the 40-man roster. Now, the two parties can exclusively negotiate for several days following the World Series.
It's unclear what sort of ability Cabrera possesses when "clean." Still, the Giants will give him the opportunity to reclaim a starting job.
Contract Extension for Gregor Blanco
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Competition between Gregor Blanco and Melky Cabrera in spring training will hopefully get the best out of both outfielders. But even if relegated to a reserve role, the former shouldn't have to worry about getting paid.
Blanco flaunted his speed and defensive prowess in 2012. He's certainly worthy of multi-year security, though he's too humble to admit it.
An agreement spanning three seasons and totaling $9-10 million should work for both sides.
BIG Contract Extension for Buster Posey
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Ankle injury, shmankle injury.
Bouncing back from a shortened sophomore season, catcher Buster Posey is this year's NL Comeback Player of the Year. In the process, he's emerged as a batting champion and MVP candidate.
There's no time like the present to lock him up.
Mark Polishuk of MLBTradeRumors.com explains how five-year/$47 million and seven-year/$84 million contract extensions might break down. Posey's dominance in August and September puts him in line for the latter.
Trade Hector Sanchez for Chris Archer (TB)
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Backup backstop Hector Sanchez shows a lot of promise. So much, in fact, that needy teams would love to develop him as their primary guy.
The Tampa Bay Rays got minimal production from their catchers in 2012 (.637 OPS). Because of their payroll restrictions, pre-arbitration-eligible players like Sanchez are precious. In return, the Rays would unload an extraneous young pitcher.
Each member of San Francisco's rotation made 30-plus starts this past summer, but that's abnormal. Chris Archer, a hard-throwing right-hander, could fill in seamlessly if someone falters or lands on the disabled list.
Sign Dioner Navarro
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With his age-29 campaign approaching, Dioner Navarro is already in the journeyman phase of his career. Signing him wouldn't require a lengthy or expensive commitment.
Between 2007 and 2009, he perennially caught 100 games. God forbid Buster Posey suffers a serious injury, Navarro could handle the day-to-day duties.
His switch-hitting ability makes him a weapon off the bench against matchup relievers.
Trade Javier Lopez for Leury Garcia (TEX)
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To woo next slide's big-name free agent, the San Francisco Giants must clear a bit of payroll. So why not replenish the farm system at the same time?
They will sacrifice Javier Lopez, a left-handed specialist owed $4.25 million next season. He pitched solidly overall, but posted ugly platoon splits in 2012 (.543 OPS vs. LHB, .979 vs. RHB).
Leury Garcia is the third-best shortstop prospect in the Texas Rangers' system, which speaks to the depth they have at that position. The 21-year-old improved in every facet last summer and is—at most—two years from being big-league ready. Garcia also has experience at second base and could be groomed as Marco Scutaro's successor.
Bleacher Report's Mike Rosenbaum considers him to be among the most tradeable players in Major League Baseball.
Sign Michael Bourn
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Michael Bourn is baseball's quintessential leadoff man/center fielder. He's nearly 18 months younger than fellow free agent Angel Pagan and is more physically gifted.
Bourn's transcendent speed allows him to steal frequently and stretch hits to the gaps for extra bases. His extraordinary defense has earned him two NL Gold Gloves (No. 3 to be announced in November). The All-Star is tailor-made for AT&T Park and its large dimensions.
This Scott Boras client won't come cheap, but the San Francisco Giants could match any offer after parting with Javier Lopez, Aubrey Huff and Freddy Sanchez.