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).
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.