Last year, the San Francisco Giants defied all odds and did what very few people thought they could by winning 88 games and staying in the playoff race until late September.
This year, by the looks of it, should be even better.
In what was perhaps his best off-season in recent memory, Sabean managed to do everything he was supposed to.
First of all, he purchased two decent bats to complement Sandoval, and at a good price. Mark DeRosa will be a solid hitting utility man for the next two seasons, and Aubrey Huff will either return to his '08 form, which saw 30-plus homers, 100-plus RBI, and a .300 odd batting average, or be the next Garko and only cost the team $3 million. (No worries—they still have Ishikawa as a backup.)
Another thing he did good was re-signing Freddy Sanchez and Juan Uribe. Much like DeRosa, Uribe is another one of those "anywhere you put me" guys who can play all around the infield. And Sanchez, who hit .293 in 111 games last season with Pittsburgh and San Francisco, could hit close to .300 this year again if he stays healthy.
So far, I am liking this lineup.
However, as good as it was, until today it lacked a true catcher who provided stable offense and would allow catcher Buster Posey another year of seasoning in Fresno. Yorvit Torrealba, the former Giant who enjoyed success as a Rockie last season, seemed like the ideal candidate.
Well, it looks like that idea is about as dead as Bonds playing again in the majors.
Bengie 'Big Money" Molina, who played with the club last season and was thought to be moved on, has agreed to a one year deal worth $4.5 million with San Francisco, pending a physical.
Of all Sabean's signing's, I like this one the best. Bengie is one of the top offensive catchers in baseball, a fan favorite, and familiar with the Giants pitchers. His '09 stats are way better than Torrealba's, (20 homers and 80 RBI's versus one dinger and 31 RBI's) and he signed him at an amazing value, $4.5 million is less than half of what Renteria will collect this season, and you can expect at least double, if not triple the offensive production out of Molina.
So here is what we now have. An outfield with a couple of competent veterans who know what they are doing and can hit well plus a young star who could have a breakout year, a star studded infield led by the likes of Sanchez and Sandoval, a catcher who is experienced and will allow Posey to develop in the minors for another year, the best rotation in baseball, a solid bullpen, and an all around decent lineup that can deliver in clutch hitting situations.
As much as I hate Sabean, I will have to give him credit for putting together what looks like the best Giants team since the '03 season. If all goes as planned, the G-Men should find themselves playing ball late into October this year.