"And it appears Freddy Sanchez is hurt."
You could put pretty solid odds on hearing that quote at least once this upcoming season. Sanchez's games played totals over the last three years paint a pretty clear picture.
2009: 111 games
2010: 111 games
2011: 60 games
For a player who will be 34 at the start of the 2012 season, the Giants can expect Sanchez (even in his contract year) to play somewhere between 90 and 110 games. But for the 90 or so games he gives the Giants, Sanchez should be a viable No. 2 hitter.
Sanchez's Projected Splits: .275/.322/.377
But since no one likes batting average as a stat anymore, let's just assume .275 stands for the percentage of times he would look adorable in a Mickey Mouse costume.
What Not To Do
Nothing. The worst thing the Giants could do is go into the season assuming Sanchez will play 140-plus games. Along these lines, assuming that anyone currently in house is a viable backup would also be short-sighted. Jeff Keppinger and Manny Burriss (both decent bench guys) should not be counted on to fill Sanchez's spot full-time if/when he gets injured.
What To Do
I can't believe I am going to say this—Jerry Hairston.
A multi-use utility player makes more sense here than any in-house option. Additionally, the free-agent second baseman market isn't even worth looking at. Kelly Johnson is likely the best available player. But his Type-A status makes him a foolish risk.
Signing Hairston would also prevent a more serious problem: him signing with another NL West team and spending another season torturing the Giants. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...er...sign 'em...
What Will Happen
Second base for the Giants will depend largely on what happens at shortstop. If Brandon Crawford is given the everyday job at shortstop, expect a veteran backup to be somewhere in that mix. That veteran could be a re-sign of Orlando Cabrera or someone like the aforementioned Hairston—ideally, a player who could spell both positions when needed.
The Giants will make it a priority to shore up the middle infield depth. Depth at both middle infield positions is a high priority right now—higher than the big outfield bat everyone is clamoring for.
Next positional breakdown: First Base