The lack of a legitimate roster alternative to Buster Posey after his late-May injury haunted the Giants for the rest of 2011.
The club desperately missed Posey's run production, ability to control opponents' running games and—perhaps most of all—quiet leadership.
Chris Stewart was adequate defensively. Eli Whiteside was simply inadequate. And no one filled the leadership vacuum.
Both are returning from serious injuries; either could need intermittent rest.
Sabean has limited 2012 budget flexibility anticipating a steep raise for Matt Cain (to $15.3 million), a stratospheric arbitration award to Tim Lincecum (assuming there's no multi-year extension) and increases for Sergio Romo, Jonathan Sanchez and other selected arbitration-eligibles.
Not to mention $32.6 million owed in 2012 to Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand.
I've come up with six plausible insurance policies for Posey and Sanchez—three at each position—culled from the Giants' current 40-man roster and farm system and available free agents.
Enjoy. And let's discuss.