San Francisco Giants: Is 2011 a Lost Season for Giants?
The Giants are very much in the division race and, in all likelihood, should win the NL West.
But with many Giants fans thinking about winning a repeat championship, the question has to be asked: With everything that has gone on this season, is it really possible for them to repeat?
Simply put, no.
But the long answer is not so simple.
The Giants have had at least a dozen players hit the disabled list and some spending significant time there.
Of course, it's not just how many, but who has landed there.
Can the Giants win a championship without Buster Posey or Freddy Sanchez? No, they can't.
Sanchez and Posey were so crucial in their World Series run last season and to pair that with Brandon Belt being sidetracked with injuries, a player who could have been this years version of Posey, makes it all the more difficult for the team.
2) Development of young players
Belt started the season on the Major League roster only to see himself get sent back to Fresno, then called back up and get injured.
In the meantime, Manny Burriss, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Chris Stewart, Ryan Vogelsong and Darren Ford have gotten a chance to prove their worth and only Vogelsong and Ford have proven to give something consistent in the Majors.
Crawford started hot, but has seen his bat fade over the past few weeks.
Same goes for Burriss.
Stewart hasn't hit since being called up.
Outside of Vogelsong, none of the call-ups have shown consistent growth at the Major League level, which is what the 2010 team received with Posey and Bumgarner.
3) Fading veterans
Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Miguel Tejada.
Each has more than 10 years of Major League service and each has not hit to expectations.
Last year, Huff used the season to resurrect his career. Pat the Bat was picked up off the scrap heap.
As we now see, Tejada is a huge downgrade from Juan Uribe.
4) Where's the chip on the shoulder?
The 2010 Giants were built with a bunch of guys with something to prove and, for many of them, they proved the world wrong.
This could be said of Cody Ross, Burrell, Huff, Sanchez, Lincecum, Cain and so on.
They still have great camaraderie but the team does not have that edge anymore.
5) No big chips to trade to help offense
Well, at least the Giants are willing to give up.
Even if they did trade for something, how would that piece fit in with the long term plan of the Giants?
No point in going out to get a long-term catcher with Posey back next year. Can't get a first baseman if the Giants really believe Belt is the future.
Second base is taken by Sanchez. Pablo Sandoval has third base tied up.
Jose Reyes has been thrown out there as a solution at shortstop but he does not help the Giants drive in runs, which is the team's problem.
Secondly, if the Giants want to really give Crawford time to develop, trading for Reyes hinders this.
In the outfield, what happens to Ross, Andres Torres or Nate Schierholtz? Is there even significant help to be had in the outfield?
Carlos Beltran could fit there but, with his contract expiring after the season, would the Giants keep him past this season?
The Giants offense is historically bad with little hope of bringing in a major fix.
In the history of the franchise, only once have the Giants scored fewer runs per game than this season and in that season the team lost 100 games (1985).
Expectations are at an all-time high and, because of this, 2011 is a lost season, despite a chance to win the worst division in baseball.
Then again, I have been wrong about this team before.
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackFarmerWOTF
Zack Farmer is a freelance reporter who has written for the San Francisco Examiner, Bay Area News Group, Patch.com and CSNBayArea.com.
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