Let's just call the 2013 season a wash.
The Giants have already moved ahead and are clearly looking to the future. Right fielder Hunter Pence, who would have been one of the more coveted free agent outfielders this offseason, will be a Giant for the next five years to the tune of $90 million.
That pivotal first prediction thankfully taken care of, look forward to a good deal of activity and a few shake-ups for the Giants this offseason. If they want to regain their previous playoff status, changes will have to be made.
And they will.
Giants GM Brian Sabean said it himself: "It just didn’t work for a lot of reasons. It’s safe to say the window for that group at hand is closed. We’ve got to create a new window immediately, and that’s the task at hand” (Henry Schulman, San Francisco Chronicle).
In Schulman's blog, Sabean basically spelled out his strategy going into the offseason. Schulman writes:
"Sabean plans to accomplish that first by attempting to re-sign Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez, because they would be hard to replace in a tight trade and free-agent market. Then, Sabean will seek new blood.
Many fans want a sexy power bat for left field, but Sabean made it clear the top priority will be adding starting pitchers, which has not been a need in San Francisco for a long time. Sabean wants to avoid another 2013, when the organization lacked pitching depth, and he will go after starters even if Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong return."
What's more, Sabean insisted the plan is still to attempt to re-sign starting pitcher Tim Lincecum.
He should have the money to do so. Henry Schulman:
"Giants President Larry Baer said payroll will rise from about $145 million this year, but he is not ready to provide a figure or say if it will go up significantly, even if the Giants are chasing a team in Los Angeles that has a payroll that has skyrocketed above $200 million."
The Giants front office is aware the team needs a new look and some fresh faces. With a bevy of big-name outfielders set to enter the free agent market this offseason, coupled with a decent starting pitching class, the Giants are going to be key players in the coming months.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and Carlos Beltran are all high-caliber options. On the pitching front, which should be Sabean's primary priority, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana are tempting—in addition to Lincecum, of course.
The simple fact of the matter is that the Giants must retool this offseason in order to compete with top-tier teams across the league. And if Sabean is true to his word, Giants fans are in store for a remodeled lineup next season.