The San Francisco Giants famously won the 2010 World Series by way of dominant pitching and timely, albeit inconsistent, offensive contributions.
This year’s squad has continued the trend and, up until a couple weeks prior to the trade deadline, it’s done so with a roster comprised of players who were all under contract with the storied organization last season.
However, that all changed with the acquisition of then-Astros’ second baseman Jeff Keppinger on July 19th. Keppinger, who’s average sits at .304, immediately became the Giants’ everyday second baseman in the absence of Freddy Sanchez, who was lost to the disabled list in May.
Next came the Mets’ coveted trade chip, Carlos Beltran. At 34, Beltran has shown no signs of slowing down. Despite largely being considered as a rental—Beltran’s contract is up at the end of the season—the Giants reinforced their win-now mentality by trading highly-touted pitching prospect Zach Wheeler to New York in a one-for-one deal.
The third and final piece in what the Giants and generally conservative General Manager Brian Sabean hope will be looked back upon as the Holy Trinity of deadline deals was shortstop Orlando Cabrera. A proven veteran who has seen the postseason in each of the last four seasons —with four different teams, no less—Cabrera looks to provide an immediate offensive upgrade at a previously offensively anemic shortstop position in San Francisco.
What will the San Francisco Giants do in 2011?
With such acquisitions bolstering an offense that doesn’t necessarily need to be “explosive” for what has proven itself to be one of the most dominant pitching staffs in the major leagues, the Giants’ odds to repeat as world champions have increased dramatically.
A club previously comprised of no-name, self-proclaimed “rejects” has put itself on the map in a big way, both collectively and individually. The now-seemingly-capable San Francisco offense has firepower the likes of which haven’t been seen at AT&T Park since the days of Barry Bonds.
Speedy Andres Torres, sure-handed Keppinger, the ever-dangerous Pablo Sandoval, hard-hitting Nate Schierholtz, veterans Carlos Beltran, Orlando Cabrera and Aubrey Huff headline a Giants lineup that suddenly warrants fear around the league. One must also take into account the fact that San Francisco has maintained control of the NL West while Huff, Cody Ross, Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell have yet to play up to their potentials for the year. Should they begin to hit better, the Giants could easily run away with the division.
Just imagine what the lineup will look like when Buster Posey returns.
Posey, who was lost for the year with a broken ankle, has apparently made significant progress and looks to make a return to the field in time for the postseason.
Should the Giants make the postseason, their rotation will obviously also be one to fear; comprised of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, young lefty Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez (who looks to make a comeback from the DL in the near future)—all of whom have proven themselves to be capable of succeeding on the biggest of stages—and anchored by a resurgent Ryan Vogelsong, opposing lineups will be lucky to scratch out runs, as was the case in the 2010 postseason.
Who’s to say lightning doesn’t strike twice? You heard it here first—the San Francisco Giants will face the Phillies in the 2011 NLCS, and will play for a chance to make it to the World Series for the second consecutive season.
Michael Manbert is a reporter for SFGiantsInsider.com.