The San Francisco Giants and their fans will have to get accustomed to reminding the Major League Baseball universe that the club is, in fact, the defending 2010 World Series Champion.
That's simply the reality of the situation created by the raucous winters still being enjoyed in Philadelphia and Boston.
First, the Red Sox crashed the Orange and Black victory parade with news regarding their impending acquisition of former San Diego Padres centerpiece Adrian Gonzalez. That clarion call was followed by another—the signing of Carl Crawford—and with it, the New Yankees sufficiently announced their return to prominence for all to hear.
The Phillies were apparently listening and decided to do something about it over in the National League.
So they one-upped everyone in the Show by snatching the prize of the free-agent class, the Cy Young southpaw Cliff Lee, out from under the noses of several bidders.
With the departure of Jayson Werth, the Phightins can still argue that they haven't become the first Evil Empire in the Senior Circuit. However, few teams this side of New York and Boston have mega-deals in place for four players (Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and Chase Utley) in addition to sizable price tags attached to six others (Cole Hamels, Raul Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino).
That's $123.5 million committed to 10 players and it includes a discount of about $7 million that the Houston Astros will contribute toward Oswalt's cost. What's more, Philly has over $100 million devoted to six players for 2012—Halladay, Howard, Lee, Oswalt (though there is a buyout option), Utley and Victorino.
In other words, that's becoming a tougher argument to win.
Regardless of what happens, los Gigantes will never keep pace with that sort of spending. They can, however, keep pace with that sort of talent considering the foundation has already been laid in the Bay Area and has been secured.
Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Aubrey Huff, Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, Jonathan Sanchez, Pablo Sandoval, Andres Torres and Brian Wilson will all be in The City for the immediate future. Additionally, there are some young prospects who should make an impact in 2011 or 2012.
Nevertheless, some of those chips would have to be moved to bring in the kind of talent that would enable the team to compete with the veritable All-Star teams assembled by the abyss-like pockets in the Big Apple, Beantown and the City of Brotherly Love.
The question is, which ones?