San Francisco Giants: 5 Players Who Should Be Replaced This Offseason
The San Francisco Giants finished the 2013 season with a record of 76-86, ten games under .500.
GM Brian Sabean has already begun the task of rebuilding the roster. He signed Hunter Pence to a five-year $90 million contract and just came to terms with Tim Lincecum on a two-year $35 million contract.
Both Pence and Lincecum are fan favorites. For them to remain in San Francisco is an indication that the Giants' management appreciates what they mean to the franchise.
There are still some holes to fill, namely two additional starting pitchers, a left fielder and a couple of relief pitchers. Sabean will shift his focus to these areas and see who he can bring in from outside the organization to fill these spots.
However, there are also some players who's time has come to move on. Their tenure in San Francisco should come to an end, which in some cases would benefit the player, perhaps more than the team.
In looking at the Giants' 40-man roster at the end of the season, there are five players who should be cut loose. Let's take a look at those five and dive into the reasons why they should be let go.
All stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
All contract data courtesy of baseballprospectus.com.
No. 5: Brett Pill
Brett Pill has always shown the potential to be a good big league hitter. He has excelled at every level in the minors, but has never really received a fair chance in San Francisco.
Manager Bruce Bochy shuffles Pill in and out of the lineup and it's very difficult for him to find any consistency at the plate. Pill has very good power, but his average suffers by being a spot player. In order for Pill to have a chance to reach his potential, it does not appear to be with the Giants.
In sporadic action over three seasons, Pill has 240 career at-bats. He has nine home runs and 32 RBI. His career batting average is only .233, with an OBP of .279 and OPS of .683.
One of the difficulties in giving Pill a lot of playing time is that he plays the same position as Brandon Belt, who is also a better defensive player. Belt made steady improvement in 2013 and had career highs in home runs with 17, RBI with 67 and batting average at .289.
Belt led the team with 39 doubles. He also had the Giants' highest OBP at .371 and OPS at .841. This left little time for Pill to make an impact, especially with Buster Posey playing first base periodically.
The only other position Pill can play at the Major League level is left field, but he is very weak defensively. The Giants are a team that relies on pitching and defense and they cannot afford a defensive liability at any position.
Pill, who is now 29 years of age, will probably never get a long-term opportunity in San Francisco. It would be in his best interest to move on, perhaps to a team that needs a first baseman or an American League team where he could also DH.
It would be sad to see Pill go because he is a good guy, but if the Giants can get anything of value for him, they would be doing themselves and Pill a favor by moving him.
No. 4: Ryan Vogelsong
The Giants should not exercise their $6.5 million option to retain Ryan Vogelsong. That is simply too much money for a player who is the fifth starter coming off a very poor year and is 36 years of age.
The Giants will be much better off giving Vogelsong his $300,000 buyout and trying to sign him to a contract significantly below the $6.5 million.
Expect Brian Sabean to make an effort to sign Vogelsong to a one-year deal in the $3.5 - $4 million range. If Vogelsong would agree to this type of deal, it would be much more palatable for the Giants.
Vogelsong started the 2013 season very poorly and that may have been caused by fatigue. Like all the core Giant pitchers, Vogelsong pitched through the end of October in the 2012 World Series.
Vogelsong then played in the World Baseball Classic. He seemed to have trouble with his mechanics and command virtually all season. One can only speculate whether the lack of rest caught up to him.
Vogelsong looked both physically and mentally fatigued after helping the Giants to the 2012 world championship. The rush to prepare for the WBC did not give Vogelsong enough time to rest for the upcoming season.
In 103.2 innings of work, Vogelsong allowed 124 hits and 38 walks, while striking out only 67 batters. Hie ERA of 5.73 and WHIP of 1.563 were alarmingly high.
Vogelsong also broke a finger while batting and that kept him out for several weeks. When he returned, he had some decent outings, but overall was nowhere near the same pitcher he was in 2011 or 2012.
The question that must be answered is whether Vogelsong can bounce back strongly, or, if at age 36, is he done?
This is not someone Sabean should retain at the $6.5 million price tag. However, if the Giants can sign him for less, he would be worth keeping.
No. 3: Jose Mijares
Jose Mijares came to the Giants midway through the 2012 season and helped the Giants to the playoffs and eventual world championship. He became the third lefty in the Giants' bullpen. This is a luxury that manager Bruce Bochy likes to have.
While with the Giants in 2012, Mijares had an ERA of 2.55 and WHIP of 1.245, in 17.2 innings of work.
Mijares looked like he would be a mainstay in the Giants' 2013 bullpen. However, as the season wore on, Mijares pitched worse and worse.
Mijares lost confidence and Bochy could not trust him in close games. In 49 innings of work, Mijares allowed an alarming 67 hits and 20 walks, while striking out 54. His ERA was 4.22 and his WHIP was a terrible 1.776.
Mijares also did nothing to improve his physical condition as his performance declined. He is very overweight and that could be a factor in his struggles.
In 2013, Mijares made $1.8 million and he is arbitration eligible. However, the Giants should not bother offering him arbitration, it is time to move on from Mijares.
No. 2: Andres Torres
The Giants caught lightning-in-a-bottle in 2010 when Andres Torres helped lead them to their first World Series title in San Francisco. Torres quickly became a fan favorite for his hustle and enthusiasm.
After a down year in 2011, the Giants traded Torres to the Mets in a deal that netted them Angel Pagan.
Torres played poorly in New York and was traded back to the Giants prior to the 2013 season. The plan was to platoon Torres and Gregor Blanco in left field. This plan failed miserably.
Blanco and Torres were supposed to split time, with neither being required to play every day. However, when Angel Pagan was injured and missed several months, Blanco became the starting center fielder and Torres the left fielder.
Torres is a fifth outfielder at best and Blanco a fourth. The need to play them both regularly hurt the Giants immensely. Ultimately, Torres lost his starting job, then was injured, missing the last few weeks of the year.
Torres will be 36 years of age prior to the 2014 season. In 272 at-bats, Torres hit only .250 with two home runs, 21 RBI, 33 runs scored and four steals. His OBP of .302 and WHIP of .644 were far too low.
In addition to his struggles at the plate, Torres' once stellar defense was lacking. He committed five errors and had a fielding percentage of .968, which is very poor for an outfielder.
Torres made $2 million this past season and that money can be better utilized elsewhere. It's painfully clear that Torres' skills have declined and there is no reason for GM Brian Sabean to even think about offering him a contract.
No. 1: Barry Zito
The Barry Zito era as a Giant is over. When former owner Peter McGowan orchestrated the deal to bring Zito to San Francisco with a seven-year $126 million contract, many cringed at the price tag, myself included.
In his seven years with the Giants, Zito only had one year with a record over .500. In 2012, Zito compiled a record of 15-8, and also pitched well in some critical postseason games. Zito was instrumental to the Giants making the playoffs and winning the World Series that year.
Zito pitched poorly for much of the 2013 season. He threw 133.1 innings, allowed 173 hits and 54 walks while striking out 86. What made matters even worse for the Giants was that Zito frequently was knocked out very early in his starts, which killed the Giants' bullpen.
Zito has a $7 million buyout which will certainly be paid, thereby ending his career as a Giant.
Through all the struggles and ups-and-downs Zito endured as a Giant, he handled himself with class, never made excuses and always worked hard. He also was very involved in the community and did a lot of philanthropic work.
After the season, Zito even took out a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle thanking Giants fans for supporting him and the team.
The Giants' fans appreciate Zito for his 2012 performance, as they realize they never would have won that World Series title without him. They also appreciated the professionalism Zito displayed through the good times and the bad.
Zito was a victim of the immense and unrealistic expectations that went with his contract. As a baseball player, it is time for him to move on, but as a man, he will always have a special place in the hearts of Giants' fans everywhere.