The San Francisco Giants were the underdogs all of 2010 and nobody ever thought they would be World Series Champions.
The Giants not only won the World Series, they dominated throughout the season and postseason as well.
The Giants should basically have the same team that they had this year, with just a few exceptions. Many of the players who were with us this year deserve contract extensions.
In order for the Giants to stay on top and win another World Series, they must continue to have great team chemistry, teamwork and make some key off-season moves.
The Giants have a handful of players who they could lose in Free Agency and through arbitration: Denny Bautista, Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Aubrey Huff, Brandon Medders, Guillermo Mota, Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, Todd Wellemeyer and Dontrelle Willis are those who are now free agents and those who are eligible for arbitration are Cody Ross, Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez, Jonathan Sanchez, Mike Fontenot, Chris Ray and Santiago Casilla.
Bautista, Guillen, Medders, Wellemeyer and Willis are as good as gone in San Francisco, as the Giants can live without them. However, San Francisco would be very dumb to not re-sign Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe and Pat Burrell.
Nobody thought Huff was going to have such a good season for the Giants. Uribe had another great year. After picking up Burrell basically for free, he came out of nowhere and was one of our best hitters once we acquired him.
Renteria could return as long as we don't give him anything larger than $3 million. We have to wait and see what Renteria does as he is getting old and is very injury prone and is contemplating retirement.
All of our arbitration guys should be back. Javier Lopez was one of the best pick-ups the Giants made this season and Andres Torres came out of nowhere and took over in Center Field as our lead-off guy.
Free agents: OF Pat Burrell, OF Jose Guillen, 1B Aubrey Huff, RHP Guillermo Mota and SS Juan Uribe.
Eligible for arbitration: RHP Santiago Casilla, INF Mike Fontenot, LHP Javier Lopez, RHP Ramon Ramirez, RHP Chris Ray, OF Cody Ross, LHP Jonathan Sanchez, and OF Andres Torres.
Player options: None.
Club options: Edgar Renteria, SS, $10.5 million ($500,000 buyout).
Mutual options: None.
Non-tender possibilities: Fontenot, Ramirez, Ray.
If Renteria comes back, we should give him nothing more than a 1 year at $3 million. Since we just declined his option, that is another $10 million we have to spend. Since we are World Series Champions, we now also have more money to spend, as we can now make a big move or two if necessary.
Other than Guillen, Bautista, Wellemeyer, Willis and Medders, everyone most likely will return. Mota, Casilla, Ramirez, and Ray are likely to be the least the Giants are worried about.
If SF doesn't resign Renteria, it is fine because the Giants have Fontenot. Torres, Sanchez and Ross will get hefty raises this off-season, but they deserve them and should even be offered extensions. Uribe and Huff must be re-signed.
The Giants will face competition from the open market regarding their two best free agents, but in the end, I see the Giants giving them both three year contracts for about $20-30 million. Pat Burrell also deserves an extension like Huff and Uribe, but he might be more expensive. I still think Burrell will end up returning. Everyone has said that they would like to return to San Francisco.
I don't see the Giants letting Barry Zito or Aaron Rowand go, as we are stuck with their huge contracts. Zito can just be moved down in the pitching order and if we can't re-sign anyone, we might end up moving Torres to left, Rowand in center and Ross in right.
I don't think the Giants are going to try and mess with the core of this team too much, especially the pitching, but I'm sure the Giants will make some moves to improve.
Don't look for pitching moves, look for offensive help. With Burrell and Huff being best friends, I would imagine that Burrell will stay. Players will also sign for less in order to stay in San Francisco because the Giants have a great thing going for them for the next couple of years.
If the Giants are unable to re-sign some of their key guys from this year like Burrell, Huff or Uribe, then the Giants can test the free agent market, and this year has a lot of good options. Even if the Giants re-sign everyone, they can still test the free agent market to get even better.
Don't forget the Giants will be getting utility-man Mark DeRosa back this year and if healthy, he will provide San Francisco with a lot of offensive help. The Giants will already be much better because they will have Torres, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Lopez, Sanchez, Casilla, Burrell (if he re-signs) and Cody Ross (if we retain him) for an entire year, rather than half a year or so. Just having them return is a huge boost for the SF Giants and will make them even better.
The Giants should look at OF Carl Crawford, OF Jayson Werth, 1B Adam Dunn, 1B Adam LaRoche, 3B Adrian Beltre and C/1B Victor Martinez. All will be very expensive, but we can afford to sign one of them on top of re-signing everyone else.
Signing Werth is risky because I think he might end up being the next Aaron Rowand and the Giants don't need another terrible contract. Werth, Dunn, LaRoche, Beltre and Martinez would provide a lot of power and Crawford would provide runs, speed and defense.
The Giants are more than capable of signing one of these type A free agents. The Giants need to make sure they don't overpay or acquire an inadequate player.
The Giants won the World Series and proved that they are the best team in baseball, so why not try to re-sign everyone, which won't be that hard or expensive, and try and win another World Series? If they won in 2010, then they can do it again. If the Giants want to acquire another bat or make them even better, then by all means do it.
The most important thing for the Giants is to try and retain as many players as they can and to make sure that they don't ruin their great clubhouse chemistry and teamwork.
The Giants will again have some of the best pitching in all of baseball, along with average offense.
But with the right moves, the Giants will have even better pitching and/or offense and again be one of the best teams in baseball and possibly win another World Series.