San Francisco Giants: Five Things They Must Do If They Wish To Repeat As Champs
It's official- the San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions.
Yes, the wait is finally over. For those of you who are fellow Giants fans, you know what I am talking about.
We have been waiting for this day since 1954, the last time our beloved franchise won it all. Anyone born after that, including myself, had never seen the Giants win a World Series. Hell, come to think of it, I was born a full five months after the 49ers won Super Bowl XXIX, so this is the first time I have seen any of my teams win a title.
Let's put this into perspective for a minute. The last time the Giants did what they did last night was on October 2, 1954. Gas was a mere 20 cents a gallon, baseball had yet to expand westward, and the greatest threat to American democracy was communism, not terrorism.
Still, any Giants fan is lying if he tells you he would not enjoy a repeat. Since the World Series era (1903- present) there have been a total of 106 World Series played, with the Giants winning six of them and losing twelve. Of the 105 previous winners, only 21 have defended their title the next season, with twelve of those repeaters dressed in pinstripes. Here is what the Giants must do this off-season if they hope to join this illustrious club of the Yankees and some other teams too.
5. Keep The Magic Going
I know this sounds purely cliche, but there is something unreal about the Giants late season run.
Something spectacular. Something amazing. Something... wait for it... magical.
If the Giants wish to repeat this season's success in 2011, they must keep the momentum of this year alive, especially early in the season when good teams are taking the contenders test.
How do they do that? Simple. By keeping the same group of guys around and playing the same way that got them to the trophy, the Giants will deliver the same results. Sure, it may be torture, but hey, it's all worth it when you got a winner.
4. Add Some Pop to The Plate
Look, I like Aubrey Huff. I really do. He is a great guy and a true asset to the Giants organization.
That being said, there is no telling whether Huff found lightning in a bottle for a year or is a legitimate hitter for years to come. The Giants have nearly $77 million to spend this off-season, and establishing a legitimate 3-4-5 is right up there with keeping the rotation intact.
However, they may not need to look into free agency all that much. Ross and Burrell seem to have found homes in San Francisco, and longtime minor leaguer Andres Torres may also prove worthwhile in the long run. They also have another guy whose offensive production slacked this year. Getting him back on track is so important that I have devoted the entire next slide to it...
3. Get Panda Back On Track
In 2009, Pablo Sandoval hit .330 to go along with 25 homers and 90 RBI's.
This year, it was more like .268, 13 homers, and 68 RBI's.
The Panda has lost all confidence in his swing and himself. He checked into Spring Training in worse shape than he ended the season, despite the fitness program the Giants put in place for him. Getting him into better shape and back to his old form is crucial if the Giants hope to get any production out of him in 2011.
2. Keep Posey Sharp
Let me say it right here and right now: Buster Posey is a STUD. Seriously, I don't think many people outside of San Francisco realize how good he is or can be in the near future.
Just to give you an idea, if Posey had played the entire season, he would be on pace to lead the team in home runs, RBI's, and batting average.
Yeah, did I mention he is a rookie?
Keeping Posey sharp and ensuring he continues to develop his game while avoiding the ever famous "sophomore slump" that Sandoval seemed to suffer this year is crucial to the Giants success for years to come. Even more important however, are the guys that are throwing to Posey, which leads into my next slide...
1. Lock Up Their Arms
If there is any one thing on this list the Giants absolutely MUST DO, it is this. Their pitching won them the division. Their pitching got them to the Series. Their pitching, although aided this time, helped them win the Series.
Their pitching could not get much better than it is. A rotation featuring a 2 time NL Cy Young winner, a guy who didn't give up a single run in the postseason, a blazing 21 year old rookie, and the tosser of a no hitter just a couple of years ago combines with a solid pen and the best young closer in baseball to produce splendid results. Pitching definitely wins championships, and the Giants much reach long term deals with guys like Lincecum, Cain, and Wilson if they hope to make it a dynasty.
This means resisting the temptation to trade Cain or Sanchez for a big bat. As an earlier slide explained, there are other ways to add power to the lineup, and it may not be all that necessary after all with pitching like theirs.