It's time to make the cuts. Spring training is over, the contracts have been signed. Now it's time to play some ball.
But who should actually play? There have been a lot of great players in San Francisco Giants history.
Bonds, Mays, McCovey, Cepeda.
The list goes on endlessly. But let's cut it down to the best 25. How would you put a roster together?
How many pitchers do you carry? How many lefties?
I need a backup catcher, don't I?
No matter how you build a team, you need to have a solid base and a pitching staff that will carry you the distance.
This will illustrate the entire pitching staff, bench, and starting lineup.
Let's see what it looks like.
He may never have won a Cy Young but he was just as dominant as anybody in baseball history.
Juan Marichal had six seasons where he won 20 or more games. He had five seasons of 20 or more complete games.
He took part in nine All-Star games.
Probably most famous for his high leg kick, most knew from the beginning that he was something special.
In his first start in 1960, he one-hit the Philadelphia Phillies while striking out 12 batters.
He never looked back.
Master of the spitball, Gaylord Perry is one of the greats.
The saying goes, "If you're not cheating, you're not trying." No truer words were spoken, especially when referring to Gaylord Perry.
Infamous for the spitball, Perry was one of the more creative guys on the mound.
Spit, Vaseline, dirt, anything he could get his hands on were probably used on the baseball. Though umpires never found anything. Huh, go figure.
It was his style and it was a style that worked. He had a career 2.96 ERA and was an All-Star twice while in San Francisco.
His breakout season was in 1966 when he finished 21-8 with a 2.99 ERA.
Two Cy Youngs? Hard to argue.
Though he is still building his legacy, it is hard to argue with two straight Cy Young Awards.
Tim Lincecum has awed baseball fans everywhere with his diminutive frame and electric stuff. During his first full season, Sports Illustrated dubbed him "The Freak."
Those in San Francisco had already started to label him, "The Franchise."
Not since Juan Marichal had Giants fans seen a pitcher become this dominant this quickly.
He has a career 3.09 ERA.
One of the best lefties in history: Vida Blue.
In two different stints with the Giants, Vida Blue went 72-58 with a 3.52 ERA.
His total numbers are misleading, though. During his first stint with the team, he was that Hall of Fame pitcher.
In his first stint, he spent four seasons with the Giants from 1978-1981. In that first season, he went 18-10 with a 2.79 ERA.
He made the All-Star team three times.
His second tour of duty were the final two seasons of his career. He went 18-18 with a 3.81 ERA.
As dominant as anybody in the game while in San Francisco.
Jason Schmidt's time in San Francisco was short but it was very memorable.
First memory that comes to mind is Schmidt walking into Yankee Stadium and shutting down that lineup. He turned so many heads that day, many of them were getting dizzy.
He threw eight innings allowing three earned runs while striking out 13.
His best season was in 2003 when he finished 17-5 with a 2.34 ERA. He even collected 18 wins in the 2004 season when the Giants were one game out of the playoffs.
As crafty as anybody: Kirk Rueter.
There is nothing flashy about "Woody."
He doesn't throw hard. He doesn't have a top-notch pitch of any kind.
Kirk Rueter is the crafty lefty. He is the winningest left-handed pitcher in San Francisco history.
But where he made his name was not in the regular season. He was, oddly enough, better in the postseason.
Rueter has a career 4.27 ERA in the regular season. His postseason ERA? 3.79.
He also has a 2.70 ERA in the World Series.
Woody came up big when it mattered most.
He was the last Giants pitcher to win the Cy Young before Tim Lincecum did it twice.
Mike McCormick pitched 11 seasons for the Giants but only nine of them in San Francisco. He was the San Francisco Giants winningest left-handed pitcher before Kirk Rueter passed him.
In San Francisco, he went 104-94 with a 3.68 ERA.
His best season, obviously, was his Cy Young year in 1967. He finished with a NL-best 22 wins and a 2.85 ERA. McCormick also threw five shutouts that season.
It was a banner year for McCormick.
Only twice did McCormick finish with an ERA higher than 4.00.
Cain has been a consistent performer for the Giants since his call-up five years ago.
Young and strong. Country strong.
Matt Cain has gotten better every year he has been in the majors. He, too, is still working on his career but he has been one of the more consistent pitchers over the past three seasons.
His win-loss record does not tell the story.
He has a 3.47 career ERA. With that ERA, you would think the person would have a winning record. Cain is 55-61. But, like I said, there is still lots of time to change that.
When I look at the Giants right now, if I had to win one game, I'd put Cain on the mound.
Rod Beck was the best closer in Giants history, that is, until Robb Nen arrived.
Rod Beck was the best closer in Giants history until Robb Nen showed up. But that does not take away the memories of "Shooter."
In 1997, his three innings of work during the Brian Johnson game possibly saved the Giants season.
He had 37 saves that season with a 3.47 ERA.
His best with Giants was in 1993 when he set a team record with 48 saves and a 2.16 ERA. That saves record still stands today.
Few more dominant in the game right now than Brian Wilson.
Brian Wilson has very quickly become one of the more dominant closers in the game. Scary thing is he's still learning how to really pitch.
He is just now learning how to control his pitches. Wilson is coming into his own before our eyes and the prospects look very good.
It might be a bit premature to add him to this roster but he is one I would not doubt when the game is on the line.
His ERA has dropped each of the last three seasons, from 4.62 to 2.74 to 1.85. Already a two-time All-Star, Wilson will be very good for a long time.
Unfortunately, this was one of the last times we saw Robb Nen throw.
Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" blaring out of the speakers meant one thing.
Robb Nen is the best closer in the team's history. He has the record for most saves by a Giant and literally gave his arm to help the team win a World Series.
The upper-90s fastball and low-90s slider made him almost unhittable.
He also carried a presence on the mound. Many times hitters knew what was coming but couldn't do anything about it.
Nen's slider wasn't quite Hoffman's changeup but it was more than effective.
He averaged just over 41 saves per season as a Giant with a 2.43 ERA.
Good middle infielders are hard to come by. Especially middle infielders who help turn the franchise around.
Robby Thompson, along with Will Clark and Matt Williams, helped the Giants fans remember the glory years. They gave them hope.
He spent all of his 11 seasons with the Giants and would do whatever was needed.
He was not afraid to be hit and was hit often.
Steal a base? He could to that.
His best season came in the 1993 season when he hit .312 with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs. His OPS that year? .870.
Benito Santiago resurrected his career in San Francisco.
The Giants have not had any great catchers. With that said, the backup is Benito Santiago.
Not many catchers are able to throw runners out from their knees.
There are not many catchers who have been the MVP of a league championship series.
Though his time in San Francisco was brief, he had a much-needed impact on a team that reached the World Series.
"The Thrill" made baseball relevant again in San Francisco.
Will Clark is one of the biggest reasons for the Giants resurrection in the late 1980s.
He brought energy to a team that desperately needed a kick in the you know where. In only his second season, Clark had the Giants in the playoffs.
His 35 home runs and 91 RBIs got the Giants franchise back on track. He did have help from a few other people on this list, but the energy came from this guy.
The Thrill had as smooth a swing as a person would ever see. His career .303 batting average is a testament to that.
Brute strength = Kevin Mitchell.
Power, speed, and a guy who will barehand a fly ball for ya'. That's Kevin Mitchell.
In 1989, Mitchell was everything the Giants could hope for and more.
He hit 47 home runs and drove in 125 runs. His 1.023 OPS led the league and it was good enough to get the MVP.
The MVP of a World Series team has to be pretty good.
Felipe Alou may not have the flash or numbers of some of the other guys on this list but he was just as crucial to the Giants' success.
His best season was in 1962 and helped the Giants make it to the World Series. Alou posted 25 home runs and a career-high 98 RBIs.
Alou would do anything to help the team out. Whether it was moving runners over, stealing a base, or hitting a home run, Felipe wanted to win.
"The Baby Bull" was otherworldly at the plate.
Orlando Cepeda burst onto the scene in San Francisco and lit the town of fire.
He was the Rookie of the Year and then followed that performance by being selected to the All-Star team six straight times.
His best season came in 1962 when he hit 46 home runs and drove in 142 runs. He led the league in both categories but somehow did not win the MVP.
How do you put a Hall of Famer on the bench?
He would be the type of player to give relief to anybody who needed it. Much like the way the Giants currently use Juan Uribe.
He is always in the game but at a different position. Orlando's versatility plays to that.
Rich Aurilia is the best offensive option at the position the team has ever had.
San Francisco has not seen a more offensively gifted shortstop than Rich Aurilia.
Between 1999 and 2003, Aurilia averaged 21.4 home runs and 75 RBIs. This earned him a spot on the 2001 All-Star team.
He always hit the ball hard and even harder whenever a pitcher threw the ball up and in.
When the ball came up and in, he would glare back at the pitcher as if to say, "The next pitch you throw, I am hitting through the fence."
Yes, I said through the fence.
Many times he would absolutely pound the ball after that.
The most offensively consistent shortstop the Giants have ever had.
Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter of his generation.
PEDs aside, Barry Bonds is the greatest player of this generation.
Eight Gold Gloves.
Single-season and all-time home run king.
Seven MVP awards. 11 Silver Sluggers.
762 home runs, over 500 stolen bases. The only member of the 400-400 and 500-500 club.
And the list goes on.
Bonds was more feared by opposing pitchers and managers than anybody in baseball history. Never before had I seen a single player change another player's career so significantly. Without Bonds, I do not think Giants fans have the conversation about Jeff Kent and his place in history.
Years later, Willie Mays still deemed one of the best five players of all-time.
The greatest five-tool player in history.
A dynamic center fielder, perennial All-Star, and a game changer.
He could hit a home run, give your team the lead. He might steal a base to get in scoring position. Or he would make an amazing catch and then throw out the runner trying to advance.
That is who Willie Mays was.
660 home runs, over 3,000 hits, more than 300 stolen bases. 24 All-Star appearances.
The Giants had many players who had a great combination of speed and power but none greater than Mays.
This man was the most feared player in baseball history until Barry Bonds stepped onto the field.
When people heard the sound of the ball come off of Willie Mac's bat, they ducked and feared for their life. He hit the ball that hard.
He caused the loudest out in World Series history. His liner to end the 1962 World Series is still talked about.
521 home runs and 1555 RBIs between San Francisco and San Diego.
The most prolific hitter at his position: Jeff Kent.
Second basemen shouldn't hit like this. There hadn't been a offensive threat at this position like Kent since Joe Morgan.
His hard-nosed and standoffish approach did rub some people the wrong way but you could never argue with the results.
In his six seasons with the Giants, he totaled six seasons of 100 or more RBIs, three seasons of 30 or more home runs, won a MVP, and became the greatest hitting second baseman of all time.
He was the model of consistency in San Francisco and will drive in runs behind Willie Mac.
The guy the Giants traded for Jeff Kent is in the six-hole.
When Matt Williams was good, there was not a better hitter in the majors. Most fans think about what could have been in the 1994 season when the strike cut Williams's season short.
He had 43 home runs and was on pace to catch Roger Maris.
His glove was just as smooth. He collected four Gold Gloves over his 17-year career.
He helped the Giants reach the postseason twice and win 103 games in 1993.
378 HR and 1,218 RBIs. Pretty good.
Versatile, fast, powerful. All these words could describe Bobby Bonds.
He is one of only four players in the 300 HR, 300 SB club. Two of the others are in this lineup.
Bonds hit 30 or more home runs six times and had 30 or more stolen bases 10 times.
Arguably, his best season as a Giant was the 1973 season when he had 39 home runs, 96 RBIs, and 43 stolen bases. He came in third in the MVP voting and won a Gold Glove.
The only downside to Bonds were his strikeout numbers. He averaged over 150 strikeouts per season.
Once again, the Giants have never had a great catcher. But no catcher in Giants history was as good for as long as Bob Brenly.
If he had played all 162 games in a season, his average numbers would have been 17 home runs and 62 RBIs. From the catcher, I'd take that.
He also handled pitching staffs that included the likes of Mike Krukow, Atlee Hammaker, and Dave Dravecky.
Handle the staff and have some pop with the bat. That's what your catcher should do and Brenly did just that.