The San Francisco Giants' Biggest Offseason Disappointments This Winter
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Have the San Francisco Giants experienced any disappointments this offseason?
For one thing, the Giants are the only team basking in the afterglow of a World Series win. The other 29 teams in MLB don't get to say that—even those teams that have had a flashy offseason like the Los Angeles Angels.
Also, general manager Brian Sabean accomplished his primary offseason objective of keeping his championship team together. Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan and Jeremy Affeldt were all re-signed and will have the chance to help the Giants defend their World Series title.
But has it been a perfect offseason for San Francisco? Is there even such a thing? There are a handful of developments that could be termed disappointing for Sabean and the Giants, though these are letdowns the team can probably live with. We'll find out about that during the upcoming season.
Romo Needs Relief
Though it occurred off the field and was irrelevant from a baseball standpoint, the Giants had to be disappointed with the news that reliever Sergio Romo was arrested at the Las Vegas airport on New Year's Day.
As far as arrests go, this appears to have been rather benign. Romo wasn't caught trying to bring something illegal through a security check, nor did he get into a physical altercation with anyone—especially Las Vegas police.
According to TMZ.com, the Giants closer was detained because he couldn't provide proper identification to get through security. Eventually, Romo became belligerent and began arguing, leading to police being summoned. The report says Romo may also have been "under the influence."
This could have been a "Do you know who I am?" moment for Romo. Following a postseason during which he emerged as a star, both for his personality and performance, maybe Romo thought the rules didn't have to apply to him.
However, it's never a good thing for a sports team—professional or otherwise—when one of its players makes news for getting arrested. As Romo himself said in his public apology, quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, he brought negative attention to the Giants and their fans.
This isn't anything that will keep Romo off the field, nor did he put anyone in danger. But it's an embarrassing incident for a player who is on his way to becoming one of MLB's most recognizable players.
Who's Left in Left?
Following Melky Cabrera's 50-game suspension for a positive PED test, Gregor Blanco did a solid job filling in as the Giants' regular left fielder, batting .283 with above-average defense at the position.
By the time Cabrera was suspended, it was generally too late for Sabean to find a replacement. Besides, the Giants had already dealt for outfielder Hunter Pence before the July 31 trade deadline.
Once the 2012 season ended, however, the market was wide open for San Francisco to upgrade over Blanco in left field. Some fantasized about Josh Hamilton going to the Bay Area and joining the World Series champions. Others believed Nick Swisher could have been a nice fit in the Giants' corner outfield.
Bringing back Cabrera may have been considered, according to CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly. But the Giants had no interest in paying anything like the two-year, $16 million contract Cabrera received from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Perhaps Sabean could have traded for an outfielder. But after giving up Double-A catcher Tommy Joseph and Single-A pitcher Seth Rosin in the Pence trade, the Giants GM was likely reluctant to deal away more pitching prospects. One of them might be needed in 2014, if Tim Lincecum departs as a free agent.
The Giants did re-sign Andres Torres, who was traded to the New York Mets for Pagan just over a year ago. Torres hit .230 with a .664 OPS, leading to the Mets not tendering him a contract following the season. The Mets need help in their outfield and decided Torres wasn't an answer to that.
But as a potential right-handed hitting platoon partner with Blanco, and the bargain (in MLB terms, of course) price of $2 million, Torres is apparently good enough for the Giants. That is, at least for right now.
While San Francisco can go into the regular season with a Blanco-Torres platoon, left field is a position Sabean may have to address at the trade deadline if the Giants aren't getting the production they need.
Yet was that the plan Sabean had for left field going into the offseason?
A Lefty Reliever Is How Much?
Sabean did accomplish the objective of keeping his World Series championship team together. But did he believe it would cost as much as it did to bring back several key contributors?
Given the market for center fielders not named Michael Bourn this offseason, the Giants likely realized they would have to pay a high price to keep Pagan. While his four-year, $40 million deal looks affordable, $10 million per season is probably more than San Francisco thought it would have to give Pagan.
But did Sabean realize Affeldt would cost him $18 million? That's what the left-hander's three-year deal with the Giants ended up being worth.
Affeldt had an excellent season, compiling a 2.70 ERA in 67 appearances with a strikeout rate of 8.1 per nine innings.
Yet was he worth $2 million more per season than Sean Burnett, who had a better 2012 season for the Washington Nationals (2.38 ERA, 9.1 K's per nine) and signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels? Burnett is also three years younger than Affeldt.
Of course, Burnett didn't win the World Series with the Giants. Affeldt did, and perhaps loyalty and trying to maintain team chemistry was worth $2 million per season to San Francisco.
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