San Francisco Giants: Grading the Team's Offseason Moves so Far
With not a lot of money to spend this offseason, the Giants acquired players via trade like Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan to boost their offense.
The question will be if those two players will be enough to improve the 29th ranked offense in MLB last season. On top of that, trading Jonathan Sanchez will hurt the pitching staff, which is what the Giants depend on to keep them in games.
Here's a grade for each move the Giants made this offseason.
1. Trade for Melky Cabrera
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While I do like the acquisition of Melky Cabrera, it was the timing of the trade that made it less appealing.
One of the fundamental rules of business is to buy low and sell high, and Brian Sabean, general manager of the San Francisco Giants, did the exact opposite.
Melky Cabrera had a career year in 2011, but he was only one year removed from a disappointing season in 2010.
He batted just .255 with the Atlanta Braves in 2010 and hit only four home runs in over 500 at-bats. However, he turned it around in 2011 with the Kansas City Royals by hitting .305 with 18 home runs and 20 stolen bases. It was by far his best season as a professional, hence the reason Cabrera was bought at a high value.
Jonathan Sanchez, on the other hand, had a down year in 2011 which was plagued with injuries. For the past few years prior to 2011, Sanchez's numbers were getting progressively better. His WHIP, ERA and strikeout total had improved since 2007, but that pattern came to a halt in 2011. This is the reason why Sanchez was sold at a low value.
Acquiring Cabrera was a decent move by Sabean, but he could've gotten a lot more bang for his buck if he traded Sanchez last year.
2. Trade for Angel Pagan
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The Angel Pagan trade was by far Sabean's best acquisition this offseason.
Not only did he acquire a legitimate leadoff hitter who can wreak havoc on the base paths, but he did it by surrendering a couple of veteran journeyman.
Yes, Andres Torres was probably the nicest guy in baseball, and his season in 2010 was one of the biggest reasons why the Giants won the World Series.
However, the Giants likely caught lightning in a bottle that year with Torres and he's unlikely to duplicate his success from that year.
Pagan is the leadoff hitter that the Giants desperately needed. He's arguably another Torres without the defense, but can steal more bases and put the ball in play more often.
3. Re-Signed Mike Fontenot
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It was simple: The Giants were going to bring back either Mike Fontenot or Jeff Keppinger to be the utility infielder in 2012.
Many thought that Jeff Keppinger would be the guy, but Sabean opted to go with Fontenot. It was a head-scratching move since the Giants front office stated that they wanted a right-handed hitter to spell Brandon Crawford at shortstop, but Fontenot is a left-handed hitter.
Either way, Fontenot can play every infield position besides first base, and he'll be a serviceable backup on days that Freddy Sanchez or Pablo Sandoval rest.
4. Re-Signed Guillermo Mota
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Re-signing Guillermo Mota was a solid move for the San Francisco Giants.
He wasn't the best middle reliever in 2011, but he certainly was one of the best long relievers.
Mota was called in to pitch more than three innings on seven separate occasions (21.3 innings pitched) and only gave up four total runs. When the Giants needed a reliever to eat up innings to save the bullpen, Mota was the man and he excelled in his role.
His 3.81 ERA to finish the year wasn't bad either.
5. Re-Signed Eli Whiteside
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Even though the Giants only re-signed Eli Whiteside to a minor league contract, the move makes no sense to me.
Whiteside was exposed last year when Buster Posey went down with a season-ending ankle injury.
Not only did he bat under .200, but his defense was suspect and he couldn't throw out base runners to save his life. Yes, that is a little harsh, but Whiteside only gunned out 25 percent of the runners who were trying to steal off of him.
To top it off, Whiteside also continually had mental lapses on the field that could've cost his pitcher the game.
Eli Whiteside will be battling with Chris Stewart for the backup catcher role, but I believe Stewart would be a much better candidate to step in for Posey on days that he rests.