Saturday, March 29, 2008

Know Thy Enemy: San Francisco Giants

Today on Me and Pedro, we rip through much of the NL West, previewing four of the five teams. We begin at the bottom, with the San Francisco Giants. We are pleased to be joined today by Andrew Patterson, about whom it can be said without any hyperbole, he is the best baseball player of all our Know Thy Enemy contributors. Sorry, Posnanski.

The “Sleeping” Giants

For the past 15 years, Barry Bonds has been the face of the San Francisco Giants. Barry Lamar Bonds signed as a free agent with the Giants in December of 1992. During that time, the Giants finished 2nd or better 10 times. The 103 win – 2nd place ’93 Giants sparked MLB to create the Wild Card. Life was good!

The best of the 15 years, however, had to be the 2002 Season. On Opening Day 2002, I was sitting in my dorm room watching the Giants face the Dodgers on the internet. I spent 3 hours watching play by play and pouring my heart into every pitch. Ben (Blog Editor) walked by the door during this time and said to me, “You realize the season is 162 games and you can’t stay this intense the entire year.” Although true, I looked at him and said, “Of course I can.” That year ended in a World Series appearance and if not for a jinx by a roommate, a World Championship for my beloved team (I will never forget, Mike).

Over the last ten years, Brian Sabean has traded most of his young, raw resources for old, “refined” veterans to mix and “deal with” Barry’s antics. These trades have depleted the farm system and left the Giants a muddle of young and old “talent”. Maybe the most perplexing of the trades was our one year stab at A.J. Pierzynski. Sabean felt A.J. was going to be such a vital part of our 2004 team, he traded Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser. Nathan has saved 160 games for the Twins with an ERA below 2.00 while Francisco Liriano takes over as the Twins “Ace” for the departed Johan Santana.

But Barry is gone, the circus is gone and well, the winning is GONE!!! The Giants are sleeping, literally. I would be happy if they won 70 games this year and even that might be a stretch by 10 or more games.

This offense could possibly be the worst offense in MLB. Last year, the Giants finished 15th in the National League in runs scored and Barry led the Giants in runs, HRs, OBP,SLG and 2nd in AVG. The Giants will be forced to steal more bases and play “small ball” due to their lack of power. Last year, they finished fourth in the NL in stolen bases and have “decent” speed in Randy Winn and, yes Boston fans, Dave Roberts. The Giants also signed an All-Star centerfield, who plays the game hard and fearless in Aaron Rowand. Although I don’t think he is an ideal Off-Season acquisition for this team, he will be a quality asset in the next few years; teaching the young kids how to play the game “right.”

The Giants will not score a lot of runs and hopefully the front of the rotation can keep this team in some ball games. Barry Zito will get the ball Opening Day against the Dodgers, but young, hard throwing righties Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum will probably be the bright spots on this team. Noah Lowry, the scheduled third starter should return from spring forearm surgery by mid to later April. The bullpen will be solid for this team, but would not be a strong point for a contender.

Andrew is a native of Las Vegas and one of the world's biggest Barry Bonds fans. He was a standout at the best high school baseball program in the fine state of Nevada. Andrew attended the 2002 World Series and returned to his college apartment with a war chest of Thunder Sticks that became the source of wonderful amusement. Until the aforementioned jinx, at which point they became tchotchke non grata.

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