Okay Giants fans, there you have it: Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff.
They're not Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, but these two new Giants will have to suffice.
It's going to be another season without "the big bat" Giants fans have longed for since the departure of No. 25.
So the question stands: Will it be enough?
The recent signing of Huff most likely means the Giants are finished improving their offense. They have been linked to other left-handed bats, such as Johnny Damon, but all seem unlikely at this point. So to answer the question, only time will tell.
The Giants know what they are getting in DeRosa, who signed to a two-year, $12 million deal. DeRosa, in my opinion, is the most versatile player in baseball. He has experience at third base, shortstop, second base, left field, and right field, giving Bruce Bochy the flexibility to play him at different positions every day.
In addition, DeRosa has batted in many different slots, enabling Bochy to tweak the lineups as he pleases. The Giants have already indicated they plan to play DeRosa at different positions, which sat perfectly well with DeRosa.
Offensively, DeRosa brings a steady, reliable bat. A lifetime .275 hitter, he has topped 70 RBI for four consecutive seasons. He has been a model of consistency, something younger Giants can learn from the 34-year-old. If DeRosa can repeat or come close to his 2009 numbers (.250 BA/23 HR/78 RBI), then expect better offensive output from the Giants.
Huff, on the other hand, is much more of a question mark. Coming off his worst offensive year, he hit a forgettable .241 average with 15 home runs and 85 RBI. As a first baseman, the Giants would gladly accept Huff's 85 RBI, which is more than twice as many as Travis Ishikawa's mere 39.
However, some fear that last year meant the beginning of the end for the lifetime .282 hitter. It's a win-win for Giants, as they signed the veteran slugger to a one-year, $3 million deal. Worst-case scenario: Huff turns out to be another disappointment, and the Giants only wasted $3 million.
In an ideal situation, Huff's average rises to about .270 while hitting 15 to 20 home runs and driving in 80 runs. That would be an immediate improvement over Ishikawa's swing-and-miss tactics. Also, considering Huff has surpassed the 100 RBI mark three times in his career, 80 RBI is not asking for much.
If DeRosa and Huff can provide the Giants with similar performances to their 2009 seasons, then Giants fans can expect an improvement on offense—not a dramatic improvement, but an improvement even with the departure of Bengie Molina. Oftentimes it is forgotten that the Giants have other players looking to rebound from offensively deprived seasons.
It is no secret Edgar Renteria's first year as a Giant was disappointing. The Giants expected more from the decorated veteran who hit .250 and could not even top 50 RBI. The Giants believe his performance was greatly hindered by bone spurs in his arm, a problem that was fixed immediately after last season. Renteria's resurgence would be greatly appreciated by the Giants and their loyal fans.
Resurgent years from Aaron Rowand and Freddy Sanchez would greatly help the Giants, as both were disappointing last year. Rowand lost much support from the fan base as a result of his offensively lacking year. Meanwhile, Sanchez had problems gaining support as his midseason arrival was cut short by injuries.
Once again, the Giants should compete for a playoff spot this year. However, the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs will boil down to the same reason as last year: offense. It's not a revelation. The whole world knows it.
The Giants will live or die by their offense. Period.
If the Giants see their new additions mirror their 2009 performances and other veterans revive their bats, then I fully expect the Giants to play October baseball for the first time in six years. But if the opposite becomes true, just like in 2009, Giants fans may find themselves heartbroken once again in September, looking from the outside in.
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