What Every Fan Needs to Know About the 2013 San Francisco Giants
We're 30 days out from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, which means it's time to shake the dust off your Buster Posey jersey, pull the Panda hat out of your closet and get ready for Giants baseball. As Opening Day approaches, San Francisco fans will want to be up on all the latest news. Here's a rundown on everything you need to know about the 2013 San Francisco Giants.
1. Brian Wilson Probably Isn't Coming Back
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MLB.com reported yesterday that Wilson worked out in private for the New York Mets.This doesn't mean The Beard has a loft in Brooklyn on hold, but it's the latest sign that the former All-Star closer may be headed elsewhere for the 2013 season. As a fan, I'd hate to see B-Weezy in the opposing bullpen, but as far as the team's needs are concerned, losing Wilson doesn't really affect our reliever corps.
2. The Biggest Question Going into Scottsdale Will Be The Starting Rotation Order
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Barry Zito beat Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series. Tim Lincecum joined the bullpen. Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner overcame late-season struggles to pitch mightily on baseball's biggest stage. Matt Cain was Matt Cain.
In the postseason, you can get away with a lot of strange matchups and pitching schedules, but Bruce Bochy will have to name his one through five guys before April. Some may point out that the order of the staff is fairly irrelevant a month into the season. That's true. But you can count on the media to make the most out of the situation as spring training unfolds.
3. The Giants Are a Few Injuries Away from Big Trouble
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I like Marco Scutaro quite a bit. He was a pretty important player for the Giants down the stretch. But no matter how much you like the guy, it doesn't change the fact that he's 38, and 38-year-old players tend to get injured. Joaquin Arias is the presumptive fill-in should Scutaro miss any time, but the infield depth is lacking overall. Look for recently-signed infielder Kensuke Tanaka to make a bid for a spot on the roster as a reserve infielder. Tanaka is 31 and has played his last two seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Another area of interest is starting pitching. With Eric Surkamp still recovering from Tommy John surgery, San Francisco's options to replace an injured starting pitcher are limited to signing a jobless veteran or calling upon the farm system for an unripe rookie. Of course the most appealing option remains hoping that everyone stays healthy.
4. No New Kids in Town
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The Giants were active during the offseason, but the players they signed will sound familiar. Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro are all returning to AT&T Park with fresh deals. Joining them is former Giant Andres Torres, who will take on a platoon role with Gregor Blanco in left field. While names like Nick Swisher, Shane Victorino and Ichiro Suzuki were all linked to the Giants this winter, General Manager Brian Sabean opted instead to bring back the guys that won it all in 2012.
5. Watch Out for Los Angeles
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What do Skip Schumaker, Zack Greinke and Ryu Hyun-Jin have in common? They all joined the Los Angeles Dodgers during the offseason. They join recent transplants Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford in the City of Angel's recent attempt to create a baseball version of the Super Friends.
Considering the Dodgers already had Andre Either, Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw at their disposal, it's hard to find a player on their 40-man roster you haven't heard of. Now the sports world is fond of reminding us that putting a bunch of talent onto a single team doesn't always equate to a championship, but we'd be foolish to pretend Los Angeles isn't a big threat in the race for N.L. West.
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