San Francisco Giants: 5 Big Moves the Giants Need to Repeat
The high of a World Championship has worn off in San Francisco and the Giants are full-force into the 2011 season.
The reigning champions are hoping for a couple things to go right...and they need to make a few things happen themselves.
These are the main things the Giants need to do in order to repeat.
If Karma is what people say it is, it's getting the Giants back for all their magical torture last year.
Read: Buster Posey.
I'd mention the only guys to avoid the disabled list this season but jinxes are intimidating.
Hopefully Andres Torres, Cody Ross and Brian Wilson got their injuries out of the way for the year, and Pablo Sandoval could start a rehab stint in Triple-A Fresno as soon as this weekend.
But, with one return seems to come another bruise and Brandon Belt got one on his wrist in yesterday's game. X-Rays after the game came back negative but it had been enough for Burriss to pinch-hit in the ninth inning.
The Giants have had nine players on the disabled list so far this season and the injuries need to stop for the team to be able to gel together the way they did last season.
Keep That Pitching Solid
The Giants pitchers are among the best in the entire MLB.
Last year the Giants played 52 one-run games, winning 28 of those. It's hard to imagine them winning so many if they didn't have the likes of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and then-rookie Madison Bumgarner on the hill.
Giants fans are able to debate their starting rotation among other front-runners like the Phillies, and this staff is the main reason San Francisco was able to raise that World Champions banner on Opening Day this year.
The bullpen was unbelievable, as well. With a 2.99 season ERA, the Giants' relievers ranked second and the entire pitching staff held the Phillies and Braves to a .216 and .175 postseason batting average, respectively.
If they can get back on track and the starting pitchers can continue to be the work horses Giants fans all know and love, San Francisco has a shot at getting back to the postseason the same way they got there last year.
Get a Bat (or Two)
While the Giants' pitching can push the team towards the Fall Classic, you can't win a game without runs.
The Giants have only scored over three runs in their last 12 of 37 games. Their team batting average is .239, the fourth lowest in the National League.
Management needs to pick up a few power hitters.
Rumors have linked The Giants to Jose Reyes, who could replace the weak link Tejada at shortstop, as well as providing better batting, shown by his .335/.382/.493 stat line this season.
San Francisco needs a few guys to step up in their lineup, and if that doesn't happen, there needs to be some new bats to help offset the loss of Posey.
The Rookies Come Through
The Giants have done extremely well in their past drafts.
Namely: Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Posey.
Their prospects have served them well, and the organization is hoping this year is no different, with guys like Brandon Belt flying through the minors to join the team for Opening Day this season.
If Belt can produce, we're looking at a power hitter who can play both first base and the outfield.
Brandon Crawford has joined the team momentarily while Pablo Sandoval and Mike Fontenot are on the DL.
He's already done more than expected, tying Miguel Tejada's home run count with his second at-bat grand slam.
Crawford has also been solid in the field but his prowess is hard to count on. He was brought up from Single-A San Jose and it may do him some good to get some more practice in the minors before he is up for good.
However, I have no problem keeping the kid up for as long as he's doing well. When Sandoval comes back, he and Crawford could potentially be the solid young left side of the Giants' infield for years to come.
Other rookies and new guys: Darren Ford looks promising and I wouldn't choose anyone over him as a base runner. The dude can fly.
Emmanuel Burriss is another guy who goes back and forth between San Francisco and the minors but he may be the best backup the Giants can get for Freddy Sanchez right now.
Buster Posey was an irreplaceable part of the Giants.
It's rare to find a backstop with his professionalism and natural talent and it will be impossible to truly replace his presence both behind and at the plate during his at-bats.
The fact that he is currently leading the National League in all-star votes is just another reason for Giants fans to grieve.
However, the detrimental loss of Buster Posey should not mean a death sentence to San Francisco.
For now, Eli Whiteside is holding his own but management has been rumored to be talking to Ivan Rodriguez. Bengie Molina has been mentioned too, but it's hard to see how he would really be a good addition to the team. Regardless, the catcher position will be sorted out, and if the Giants can get going offensively, they will be okay.
Another thing to remember is that, in spite of all the injuries and close losses we may have ingrained in our brains, the Giants are still only half a game out of first place in the NL West.
Rankings may change throughout the season but the Giants and Diamondbacks are out in front of the division.
It's going to be a long four months until October baseball and it's hard to tell who will be a part of it right now.
However, if the Giants are able to make a few changes and stay calm, they've got a good chance of bringing a second parade to the City by the Bay.