Well, if it isn't a "hitters" park, then how come Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval hit a blistering .361 at AT&T, and just .301 on the road?
How come the entire Giants offense fared much better at home then on the road this past season?
AT&T Park is a great place to hit, just not for home runs. However, the aforementioned Sandoval did hit 13 of his 25 home runs in San Francisco, one more than he hit on the road.
Therefore, AT&T park as nothing but a mere "pitcher's park" is far from the truth. In all honesty, if you've attended more than a handful of games at the most gorgeous stadium in baseball, you would know that AT&T park is a pretty fair yard.
The only spot in which true home runs don't go out of the ball park is right-center field. From center field to the left field foul pole, the outfield wall at AT&T park is pretty average in distance and right-handed hitters can knock out home-runs at a pretty decent clip.
Just see Pedro Feliz who had four straight 20-plus home run seasons with the Giants and has averaged just 13 homers in his first two years with the Phillies in what is considered a much more "hitter-friendly" ballpark.
Furthermore, right-handed batters, who are strong gap-to-gap hitters, benefit quite well from "triple's alley" in San Francisco, where balls that would be doubles in most parks' right-center field gaps usually go as triples.
In fact, there is so much room in right-center field that right fielders often have to cheat way off the right-field line, leaving more room for doubles down in the right-field corner and bloop hits that would be cans of corn in most yards.
In any case, free-agent hitters who aren't familiar with the surroundings in San Francisco shouldn't be as worried about their offensive numbers as it appears they have been in the past.
Furthermore, this year's crop of free-agent hitters should want to sign in San Francisco.
Why you may ask?
Well let's put the Giants in perspective if we're Jason Bay.
If I sign with San Francisco, I have immediate protection in the lineup with superstar Pablo Sandoval.
I have arguably the best starting rotation in baseball with a projected rotation of Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner, and a bullpen that is also arguably the best in baseball with the likes of Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Brian Wilson, and Dan Runzler.
If I sign with the Giants, I have an easier route to the World Series, and with an easier route, a better chance to win.
And I almost forgot, it doesn't hurt that my old Pirates buddy Freddy Sanchez has just inked an extension with the Giants. It'd be nice to reunite with a former teammate in a new atmosphere.
How bout a recap? As a member of the Giants, I would be playing on a team with arguably the best pitching staff in baseball (both rotation and bullpen), I would have a 23-year-old superstar protecting me in the lineup, I would be able to follow my old buddy Freddy Sanchez in the lineup, and I would have a better chance at a World Series.
Sounds good to me.
However, as good as San Francisco sounds to Jason Bay, Bay means much more to San Francisco.
The Giants' lineup needs a premiere hitter as badly as the Minnesota Vikings needed Brett Favre this season.
There are some options out there other than Bay, but talent-wise and money-wise, Bay is the best option.
Matt Holliday is also an option, but as a free agent with a representative named Scott Boras, the Giants won't want to throw out the money necessary to sign him, even if they could match an offer a team like the Mets, Yankees, or Red Sox would be offering.
Considering Holliday is bound to be overpaid by whoever signs him, the Giants are better off staying away.
Therefore, of the top two free agents available, the only one that makes sense is Bay.
Granted, there is always the trade route. But then again, who are we kidding? Brian Sabean is no Doug Wilson (GM of the San Jose Sharks).
Even Sabean's greatest trades, the Jason Schmidt trade, and the Jeff Kent trade weren't moves that acquired premiere talent already in their prime. These moves worked out as both players went on to have their best years with the Giants.
However, what Sabean would need to pull off in the trade market in order to acquire a hitter as talented as Bay is to trade for a hitter who is already in his prime.
Can you imagine what San Francisco would have to give up in order make a move for that type of player? Like I said, Sabean is no Wilson. He can't trade for premiere players by giving up mediocre players like Wilson did by acquiring players like Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, and Dan Boyle and giving up guys like Jonathan Cheechoo, Wayne Primeau, and Brad Stuart.
Sabean would have to part ways with at least a top starter and a top reliever. In a sense, that means Sabean would have to give up Matt Cain and perhaps Jeremy Affeldt. Is any hitter not named Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez worth it? Without Cain and Affeldt, the pitching staff (the team's strength) would go from top-notch to mediocre.
Affeldt was the best reliever in baseball last season and Cain was an All-Star. The Giants aren't in a position of power (pun intended) when it comes to a trade. Everyone and their mother knows the Giants need a middle-of-the-order bat, and teams would require a hefty amount in return.
Solution: Sign Jason Bay as a free agent.
If the Giants fail to sign All-Star outfielder, the Orange & Black faithful can forget about the playoffs as the offense will once again cause them to fall out of the race in September.
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