One year ago today, the San Francisco Giants used their offseason to re-sign existing players while making few moves to sign any new faces.
This year, the Giants have been far less dormant—and thank goodness. General manager Brian Sabean went out and found an everyday left fielder in Michael Morse, added a solid veteran arm to the rotation with Tim Hudson and are on the hunt for another reliever for some bullpen support.
Neither appears to be a long-term answer for the Giants. Hudson is 38 years old, and Morse will probably explore free agency next year depending on his 2014 season. However, the Giants have a bevy of possible aces developing in the farm system, and Hudson is the perfect guy to bridge the gap in the meantime.
As far as Morse is concerned, Sabean rarely invests long-term, lucrative deals with bog-name superstars, which is what he would have needed to do for a superstar-type left fielder this offseason. Players such as Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury simply were not options for the conservative, yet creative Giants' GM.
The Giants still need to add another reliever to the bullpen, especially after losing left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp to the Chicago White Sox after placing him on waivers to clear a roster spot for Morse.
Last season, the San Francisco bullpen dealt with middling performances and injury-plagued players. Key arms Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla both spent stretches of time on the DL, and Affeldt in particular struggled throughout the season, going 1-5 with a 3.74 ERA in only 33.2 innings pitched on the year.
Grant Balfour has reportedly spoken with the Giants, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle:
I reported earlier the #sfgiants are not trying to sign fun a closer type, but I can confirm conversations with Grant Balfour. Odds? Meh.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) December 24, 2013
The Giants have a closer in right-hander Sergio Romo, but they still need bullpen support. Sabean needs to find a proven arm with a price tag he feels comfortable with to round out the Giants' offseason.
Overall, Sabean has put the Giants in a more favorable position going into 2014. The starting rotation is improved, and an everyday left fielder has been secured. However, the bullpen needs to be bolstered and because of the short-term nature of the Morse and Hudson deals, the larger future of the Giants is still uncertain.