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Bronson Arroyo is a free-agent pitcher worthy of consideration.
The San Francisco Giants have been a team built on pitching and defense. Add in just enough offense and you have the formula for winning the world championship in two of the past three seasons.
The Giants made no measurable changes to the pitching staff, heading into 2013. The starting rotation of Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong remained intact.
The Giants also stuck with their core group of relievers, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Jose Mijares and George Kontos. The only pitcher they added was journeyman Chad Gaudin, who would replace Guillermo Mota.
The Giants hoped that this group of pitchers would once again lead them to the promised land. It didn't happen.
Unfortunately, the Giants' pitching staff fell apart. The only starting pitcher who has consistently pitched well was Madison Bumgarner. In the bullpen, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez have had good seasons, but the rest of the relief corps has fought injuries or ineffectiveness.
Looking ahead to 2014, the Giants only have two starting pitchers that will be returning, for sure. Cain and Bumgarner are under contract, The Giants will pay Zito $7 million to go away. They will most likely exercise their option to retain Vogelsong, so the only real wild card is Lincecum.
The Giants would like to sign Lincecum, if the price is not excessive. A two-year deal in the $28 million range is plausible, but don't look for the Giants to go much more than that.
At a minimum the Giants will need one additional starting pitcher. Some of the names floating around include Bronson Arroyo, Matt Garza, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Jon Lester.
The Giants will also attempt to retain Gaudin, who pitched well until a carpal tunnel ailment sidelined him. In addition, Yusmeiro Petit, who came within one strike of a perfect game only one start ago, deserves a serious look next spring.
The Giants can go into the season with six starting pitchers and allow someone like Vogelsong or Petit to pitch out of the bullpen.
The Giants kept the same cast of characters heading into this season, but that approach proved to be quite flawed. Injuries to Affeldt and Casilla hampered the bullpen. In addition Mijares has lost velocity and command as the season has progressed. Kontos has also been ineffective.
In addition to signing Javier Lopez, the Giants need someone else to step up. Heath Hembree will likely be one of the new additions to the bullpen, when the 2014 season begins.
This leaves two or three open jobs. It would be wise for the Giants to acquire additional bullpen depth this winter, as they attempt to build a top caliber roster. In addition to Hembree, one more youngster would be okay, but the remaining spots need to go to a proven veteran.
The biggest regret the Giants had in 2013 revolves around their lack of quality depth in the pitching staff. It will be up the Giants' ownership group just how aggressive they want to be.
Giants' GM Brian Sabean is tasked with upgrading the roster. In order for him to do that, the ownership group must go into their wallets and be willing to increase payroll.