Speculating on Next Year’s Giants (Part 1)

Am I the only one who feels like the Giants have only won 5 games this month? Hopefully all the celebrating the other night loosened this team up a bit, but it really seems like they have no life as we head toward the only month that matters in this sport. While my gut tells me that losing Angel Pagan for the year is too much to overcome, my heart reminds me that this group has been up against the wall before. It’ll be a major uphill battle, but you can’t count these guys out until it truly is over. As a fan base, we are incredibly lucky to have our team headed back to the postseason. But it still just feels like they could have (maybe should have) done so much more this year.

With all of that being said, I’ve been playing around with ideas for the makeup of next year’s club, and I wanted to share some of those today. Obviously, a deep postseason run could really change what happens for this franchise in the offseason, as we’ve seen with both of the Giants World Series teams. However, I feel that I’ve put together a pretty reasonable squad, based on what I know about Brian Sabean’s style and the organization as a whole right now.

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not much of a roster speculation kind of guy (or not usually confident enough to put it out there for the world to see). So whether you think I’m onto something or utterly wrong, I’d love to hear your feedback. Anyway, here’s my way too early prediction for the 2015 Giants (with some possible backup plans added in as well).

25-man Roster

C Buster Posey (R) – If Posey plays the final two games of the regular season (which aren’t likely), he’ll finish with 148 games played for the third straight year. He started 109 games behind the dish this year, and I’d be willing to wager the Giants will likely keep him around that total for next year as well. Buster is an absolute stud, and it would seem that he could be an easy .300-25-100 guy if he played 155 games a year at another position. But I will say there is almost no chance he plays even an inning at 3B next year.

1B Brandon Belt (L) – We all see Belt’s potential, and the guy was dealt a very bad break this year. If he’s healthy next season, there’s no reason he can’t be a productive everyday player. However, I don’t see Belt (at this point) as a guy who’s going to keep Posey from playing 20-30 games a year at 1B. Move him to left field? I don’t see the organization making that happen.

2B Joe Panik (L) – Panik is my second baseman all the way, and he should be yours as well. Want to see a young kid with a chance to hit .275-.300+ and provide solid defensive for the next 6 years? Here he is.

SS Brandon Crawford (L) – Crawford contributed almost nothing for the months of July and August, and I was calling for him to be replaced in the lineup. Shows how much I know, as he’s come back with a .379 mark in September. He hits at the very bottom of the order most nights, and he’s got nearly as many RBI as Sandoval. He’ll be arbitration-eligible next year, but I don’t think the team has any plans of moving him this winter (as I previously suggested this season).

3B Alberto Callaspo (S) – FA (2y-$10M) – Ok, let me have it folks. I admitted on Twitter last night that my projected 3B wasn’t at all a fancy name. So here’s the deal: Objectively speaking, I think the Giants want to bring Pablo back. They’ve given every indication that they’re going to try. They know the market is barren, and the internal options aren’t very realistic. But Sabean and his staff aren’t crazy, despite what the average fan might think. Pablo’s career just doesn’t add up to a 5-year, $100M (or more) deal. We all know it, and they know it. So I say they’ll drop the qualifying offer on him, offer 4-60 and hold tight. Baseball is a wealthy, wealthy sport, and 4-60 will not be enough for the Panda and his less-than-stellar agent. As of right now, I think he’s gone… but that could change depending on what next month looks like.

So, enter Callaspo, a free agent who could probably be had for relatively cheap. He’s 31, and he’s having a very below average offensive season in Oakland. However, he’s a switch hitter and a guy that knows how to handle the bat (he’s walked 322 times to only 331 strikeouts in his career). He hasn’t played a ton of 3B in the past couple years, but I don’t see him as a player who’d kill you at the position. The way I see it, Callaspo is a guy who’d be a solid signing if Pablo stays, as he could be a jack of all trades in the infield. If Pablo goes, there simply isn’t a long term answer out there. Not one the Giants are willing to dish out cash for. Could the org look at a platoon of Arias and someone like Matt Duffy? Sure, but that doesn’t really seem like their style to me. I’m not ruling out a trade for a guy like Casey McGehee in Chicago, but my money is still on a free agent stopgap type coming in to fill the role. Ideal? No. But my 2015 Giants are addressing the offense in other areas, and hoping to get league average production from the hot corner at this point.

I’d say this a great place to break. Part 2 will discuss next year’s starting outfield, as well as the bench. Thanks for reading.

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7 thoughts on “Speculating on Next Year’s Giants (Part 1)”

  1. The infield is, relatively speaking, the easy part, as is the bullpen. I’m really interested in your crystal ball for the outfield and next year’s rotation.

    I can’t argue with your logic on Sandoval, and honestly, I’d rather they spend the money on pitching and/or outfielders. But I do wonder if Duffy will get a shot at the position if Pablo walks. The Giants really seem to like Duffy. They’ve promoted him aggressively and are sending him to the AFL as their priority player. That says to me they see him as more than a utility guy–either he’ll have a major role or be a nice trade chip.

    1. Thanks for the comment Lefty. I love Duffy, and I think he’ll respond well to any role the Giants ask him to fill. I don’t see the Giants handing the reins over to him next spring without some more seasoning first though, especially with another young player in Panik taking over at second. If Duffy stands out in the AFL, that could change the equation for sure. But I really believe the front office will bring in someone from outside the organization if Pablo leaves, preferably someone who they can trust to start 100 games or so.

  2. I don’t know about Callaspo. I see your point on the K/BB. It’s really good! On the other hand, his BABIP has been in free-fall long enough that you have start wondering if it’s more than just bad luck. O’Co Stadium, or whatever it’s currently called, suppresses BABIP big time because of the huge foul territory, but man, .268, .266, .244 in the last 3 seasons is consistently not good!

    I might prefer to see what the Giants can dig up from internal options if it comes to pass that Pablo leaves via free agency.

    1. Thanks for the comment DrB. I really only see Duffy as an internal option. I can’t see Duvall or Dominguez getting any kind of look over there, and I think they would prefer that Adrianza plays a utility role… I guess a Duffy/Arias/Adrianza merry-go-round wouldn’t be totally out of the question, but Sabean generally likes to bring a veteran player in to help out in cases like this. If Pablo goes, my gut says he’ll look to do that again.

  3. I like the Callaspo idea. Nice filler guy with position flex. Switch hitter. If you can get Tomas, that’s a nice veteran bat. Putting the ball in play is definitely a big emphasis with Los Gigantes. It works… if you get Tomas!

    Matt Duffy could most likely play 3rd. The Giants have been throwing a lot of development money at third as well: Arroyo, Jones, some IFA guys. That won’t be on the table for a bit though.

    1. Yep, if we can’t land Tomas, the Giants almost have to go large for Pablo. Unless they want to use Susac and a top young arm in a deal, I just don’t see where else they’re going to get any decent offense this winter.

  4. Nice idea for a post, love speculation. Callaspo has a nice enough bat, but looking at his career progression, he probably wants $6M per season, 2-3 year contract. And he has not been good defensive over his career, though OK at 3B.

    Arias, on the other hand, is still cheap, doesn’t hit as well as Callaspo, but is a defensive whiz at 3B, probably like Pablo at his best in 2011 good, which would make up for his lack of offense compared to Callaspo.

    Meanwhile, I think Adrianza could be getting ready for his closeup, he was hitting well before his injruy, and he’s had a Callaspo type of bat in the minors, and was starting to do that before his injury took him out for the season. With his arm, could easily excel at 3B.

    I also like the Duffy suggestion as well. The Giants really seem to like his makeup and everything. And he has done really nicely as a PH, in key situations.

    So I can see the Giants have Arias, Adrianza, and Duffy as the MI contingency next year, with the hotter hitter holding the starting spot until somebody takes it over with extended goodness.

    OF has been a mess for us the past two years. I think I would move Belt to LF, just to avoid the Posey issues needing to play 1B – he seems to wear out too much playing so many starts at C, like in 2013, and he was worn out earlier this season, as well. His 110 starts there shows how he don’t have the stamina to hold up to the long grind, the Giants really need to start thinking about moving him.

    I know the Giants FO (really, Bochy) has been wishy-washy with 1B and 3B, but it really makes more sense to start him at 3B, so that is another reason I would not throw money at a free agent for 3B, we have all the internal bench options already, just leave 3B free for Posey in a year or two. Plus, he’s plus offensive still at 3B, nto as much at 1B.

    Back to Belt, then we can go out and get a free agent lefty power hitting 1B who can semi-platoon with Posey at 1B in 2015, then we can decide what to do in 2016 with 1B (could always move Belt back, McCovey was all over the place too until settling at 1B, well, because of his knees).

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