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San Francisco's offensive woes in 2011 were well documented, and the need in this area for Giants General Manager Brian Sabean to address is the most glaring, and perhaps most difficult to approach.
The Giants finished dead-last in the National League in runs scored last season, and even with a pitching staff that finished with better numbers than in the championship 2010 campaign, the impotent offense sank San Francisco's playoff chances down the stretch.
1. Who will hit lead-off?
Andres Torres had a breakout season in 2010, and set the table nicely for the rest of the lineup. But in 2011, his production fell off drastically, as he hit just .221 with four home runs and 19 RBI. That following a season in which he hit .268 with 43 doubles, eight triples, 16 home runs and 63 RBI.
With Torres proving he isn't consistent enough to be relied upon in the ever-important lead-off slot in the lineup, and with the Giants cutting ties with Aaron Rowand, filling the hole in the first batting order position will be of paramount importance this winter.
While Jose Reyes would be the wish-list choice, the more realistic options are Coco Crisp from Oakland, Jimmy Rollins from Philadelphia, or Grady Sizemore from Cleveland.
Crisp hit .264 with eight home runs, 54 RBI, and 49 stolen bases for the A's in 2011. He's a free-agent and at 31, could be a good pickup for the Giants at something like three years, $19 million.
Rollins, at 32, could also be a good short-term signing for the Giants. Rollins hit .268 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI for Philadelphia in 2011. He also swiped 30 bags.
Rollins, given his All-Star credentials and ability to hit for power, would likely cost more, however. He would probably not sign with San Francisco for less than four years, $37 million.
Grady Sizemore is an interesting prospect. Sizemore, the once-great leadoff man for the Cleveland Indians, fell on hard times via injury, and is coming off of a recent reconstructive surgery on his knee.
With question-marks abounding over whether he'll ever again be the 30-homer, 90-RBI, 30-SB player that he was, he may be a risk worth taking. He's only 29, after all, and if he can even approach what he once was, he could be valuable for San Francisco.
With all of the uncertainty surrounding Sizemore, the Giants might be able to bring him over on a discount, say, three years, $18 million.
The most likely answer: Coco Crisp