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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Giants' new projected 25-man roster

Finally, on December 19th, the Giants have found their third basemen for the 2015 season. It wasn't a big deal like for David Freese, Pedro Alvarez or Ben Zobrist. Not even a Trevor Plouffe or Lonnie Chisenhall, who would have been at least interesting in a new league.

Instead, the Giants sent low-level minor league arms Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo to Miami for Casey McGehee. The 32 year-old third basemen hit .287 with 4 HR, 76 RBI and a .712 OPS in 2014, which won him NL Comeback Player of the Year honors. That's a higher average than Pablo Sandoval provided last year, but a huge fall-off in the power department. McGehee does have a track record of showing more power, including a 23 HR/104 RBI year for Milwaukee in 2010. The good part of this deal is the Giants didn't have to really part with anyone of too much value in order to get him, and that's probably what ultimately pushed them in the direction of McGehee. He does at least provide a better option at third than Arias and is a guy who will probably slot into the 6th spot in the order between Belt and Crawford. If this move were followed by a deal for a big bat in left, I'd be way more at ease, but chances are this is it and runs will again be at a premium for the Giants' offense.

Now, with the return of Romo and Peavy coupled with the addition of McGehee, the Giants all of the sudden nearly have a 25 man roster now set for 2015. It's not going to be as flashy as I'm sure most were hoping, but nonetheless, should find a way to compete as they often do with this core and under this management. The team could also still go out and find an upgrade in left seeing as they didn't part with any top-15 prospects even in this move, but I'm not going to bet on it. Maybe this spring or it could be their target for mid-season.

Here is what the 25-man roster is looking like after the last few moves this team has made:

Lineup:

CF Angel Pagan
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
3B Casey McGehee
SS Brandon Crawford
LF Gregor Blanco

Bench:
C/1B Hector Sanchez
IF Matt Duffy/Marco Scutaro?
IF Joaquin Arias
OF Travis Ishikawa
OF Juan Perez/C Andrew Sussac

Rotation:

LHP Madison Bumgarner
RHP Matt Cain
RHP Jake Peavy
RHP Tim Hudson
RHP Tim Lincecum

Bullpen

CL Santiago Casilla
SU Sergio Romo
LH Javy Lopez
LH Jeremy Affeldt
RH Jean Machi
RH Yusmiero Petit
RH Hunter Strickland

No, not exactly as exciting as the roster heading into last year when that lineup had Panda and Michael Morse, but there's still time to upgrade. Hopefully they're not quite done cause I'm not overly excited about that bunch. A full year of Panik and (fingers crossed) Pagan/Belt would certainly be a step in the right direction.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Friday, December 19, 2014

Giants hoping patience pays off

The offseason seems to really be heating up and despite all the action that's gone on over the last couple of weeks, one of the biggest markets in baseball and the reigning World Series champs have been one of the last to get going.

They did make their first notable moves of the offseason this week though, bringing back one of the most important components to their bullpen in Sergio Romo, and the guy they traded for last July, Jake Peavy. They re-signed Romo, to a 2 year/$15M deal. Romo is coming off a bit of a down year, as he started out strong in the closers role, but relinquished the gig part-way through the season to Santiago Casilla. Romo did start thriving again in the set-up role, and likely could have taken back over as closer had Casilla got into any kind of trouble, but it was never an issue. Romo will enter 2015 as the primary set-up man once again, but will be first in line should anything happen to Casilla. I like this deal a lot as Romo is still one of the best right-handed relievers in the game and the Giants were able to get him on just a two-year deal. With Casilla, Romo, Javy Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Jean Machi, Yusmiero Petit and a handful of other guys battling it out for that final spot (or two should Petit wind up in the rotation). Hunter Strickland probably has a leg up for it and would need to struggle pretty badly in spring to lose it. That means they'll be returning the exact same bullpen from last years championship squad.

They just now announced the Peavy signing while I was typing this up actually, so that changes my plans just a little bit. They're reportedly giving the 33 year-old right-hander a 2 year/$24M deal. Peavy was a guy who was clearly going to be atop the priority list with the way he pitched in the regular season after the trade. The former Cy Young winner had 12 starts with the Giants, going 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA over 78.2 IP. He posted a solid 58:17 strikeout to walk ratio while posting a 1.04 WHIP. Based off those numbers, the deal looks good, but the right-hander was surprisingly in-effective in the postseason for the Giants. He did have that one good start vs. the Nats in the NLDS but that was about it. He'll likely slot into the third or fourth spot in the Giants rotation come spring and it's not such a bad deal when you consider they didn't have to give up any trade chips and didn't end up giving James Shields or Ervin Santana some big 4/5 year deal. He's better than Santana, in my opinion, and is the same age as Shields with a similar track record. Peavy is a perfectly fine mid-rotation starter who clearly thrives in spacious NL West so this deal does make sense.

So, while Bobby Evans came out and said this move doesn't necessarily rule out the addition of another starter, the Giants full attention should now be shifted to the everyday lineup and the left side of the field. They still have all their potential trade chips available still, and without any starting caliber third basemen or left fielders left out on the open market, they may wind up making at least one trade in order to fill out their lineup. Obviously the apple of my eye was Atlanta's Justin Upton, although he's entering the last year of his deal and probably would want to explore free agency at the young age of 28 next winter. However, that possibility ended Friday after Upton was dealt to the Padres. He went on record of saying he didn't prefer hitting at AT&T Park, and maybe that's what made Sabean shy away, but he should soon find that AT&T is much more conducive to right-handers than Petco. By the way, I have a feeling the Padres are going to make some noise in 2015 after picking up a couple of all-star outfielders this week in Matt Kemp and now J-Up as well as up and coming star Wil Meyers.

But we return to the Giants, where only a few third basemen are apparently out on the block including Trevor Plouffe, Chris Johnson and Lonnie Chisenhall, none of which I'm sure get anybody too excited. Plouffe and Johnson each hit for power from the right side, while Chisenhall is more of a contact/average guy from the left side. Now, the one name who does intrigue me at the third base position if he is indeed available is Pedro Alvarez. The big left-handed slugger has legit 30-HR power, even though it comes with a .240 average, and I'd have no problem slotting him into the middle of the Giants order. Ben Zobrist from Tampa Bay has supposedly been on the Giants radar for a while now, and they could make Tampa an offer there. As far as the outfield market, I haven't head too many names being tossed around. One guy who I'm sure could be had and a player I've always liked to watch is Houston's Dexter Fowler. He's got some sneaky power, good speed and average and is a guy who can impact a game in multiple ways when he's on. He's a guy that wouldn't cost Kyle Crick, Joe Panik or Andrew Sussac either and could likely be had for a Clayton Blackburn/Gary Brown combo or something like that but that's just speculation on my part.

The Giants activity has certainly picked up in the last couple of days though, so an answer for left field and third base may come before Christmas, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Now that the trade market seems to make the most sense for them and their current needs, I expect them to continue their patient approach until something they can't pass up on presents itself. I do expect them to get a third basemen somewhere before spring training, but I'm not too sure about the left field spot. At this point, I can definitely see them at least entering the year with Blanco/Ishikawa sharing the duties and if they feel the need an offensive upgrade in season, that could be the area the do so at.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Giants should look to Scherzer

Well, so far, it's been a tough offseason for the Giants as they've failed at retaining Pablo Sandoval and came up short in the bidding for the top left-hander on the marker, Jon Lester.

In fairness to them, money was not an issue in either case, as they outbid both the Red Sox and Cubs for Sandoval and Lester, but the two just chose to take a different course. In Pablo's case, he wanted the bright lights and the challenge of playing for an East Coast powerhouse. I'm not quite sure why Lester choose Chicago over San Francisco though, as he's from the North West (Washington) and the Giants were supposedly offering more money than the $155M over six years that he signed for. But, instead of pondering what could have been, the Giants better get busy with plan B, cause they still have a lot of work to do and I expect the Lester signing to kick-start the starting pitching market. The other top guy out there, and the guy I originally wanted over Lester, is Max Scherzer, but the Giants were clearly more impressed with Lester so I'm not sure how serious they'd get with Scherzer. I just could see the power right-hander thriving in spacious AT&T Park, much like he's done at Comerica the last few seasons. The only thing is the 2013 Cy Young winner is looking for a deal in the $200M neighborhood. If they could get him in the 6 year/$170M range though, I'd go for it.

After Scherzer, things drop off significantly in the starting pitching market. James Shields, Ervin Santana (who they're meeting with Wednesday) and Brandon McCarthy are the next three in line, and none of those guys, outside of maybe Shields, would be worth a big multi-year deal. I am much more intrigued with the potential starting pitching trade market, with guys like Cole Hamels and Jordan Zimmermann heading the group rumored to be available but both would require a big package likely led by top prospect Kyle Crick.

Now as far as the efforts to replace Sandoval at third base and Michael Morse in left field, the Giants don't seem close to getting anything done, or at least they aren't making it public. We've all heard the expected Chase Headley rumors, but with I doubt the Giants will get into a bidding war for him now that he's the top third basemen out there. As rough as it sounds, I could definitely see the Giants going into next season with Matt Duffy and Joaquin Arias sharing third and Gregor Blanco and Travis Ishikawa battling it out in Spring Training for the lion's share of at-bats in left field. I could see the Giants signing a right-handed platoon option like Chris Denorfia for left field and maybe and maybe a second-tier third base option like a Mark Reynolds, but I don't see anything too flashy happening position wise this offseason. I think the Giants will try and put their resources into re-making that starting rotation into a strength and powerhouse once again, and a Max Scherzer signing or Cole Hamels trade would certainly be a leap in that direction.

Melky Cabrera and Justin Upton have been the two significant names linked to San Francisco in their attempt to fill the left field void with Upton rumors heating up Wednesday. The Giants have apparently also inquired about Braves third basemen Chris Johnson and may offer Atlanta a big multi-player package in attempt to obtain the two. I would be ecstatic if that came to fruition just cause I think Upton is a star and perenial MVP candidate who's just about to hit his prime. Not a huge CJ fan, but he'd definitely be an upgrade to Joaquin Arias over there.

Notes: As expected, the Giants tendered Travis Ishikawa and Hector Sanchez deals for 2015. Ishikawa may very well be the opening day starting left fielder, but if the Giants find someone else, he'll be a flexible left-handed bat off the bench. Sanchez's role is a little more unclear, however. Andrew Sussac really showed that he's not only a capable backup, but could likely be a starter in this league right now, and has leaped Sanchez on the depth chart. One of those two could very well be used as trade bait this winter too...With day two of the Winter Meetings in the book, the Giants have two more days to get something done before all the GM's and agents depart from San Diego and go their separate ways. I expect the Giants to make some kind of noise soon though. If not before the end of the meetings, then soon after.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Giants appear to be runners up for Sandoval

With Pablo Sandoval visiting Boston this week, it caused quite a stir on the East Coast and has every media outlet predicting the free agent third basemen will land with the Red Sox.

Now, the Giants are certainly not out of the running, but based on every indication being made from Pablo's camp and the Giants' behalf leads one to believe that the headlines are most likely true. The San Diego Padres have made a late push here as well, and although they're likely third in line behind Boston and San Francisco, their interest likely jacks up the price just a little bit. My guess is that whatever he decides, his decision will likely come sooner than later, and as much as it sucks to admit, I really do see him departing for Boston on a deal in the neighborhood of 6 years and $115M. With the ability to DH him when the time comes, the Red Sox should have no hesitation giving him an extra year or two than what the Giants will offer and you can't really blame the Giants in this case. It just makes sense for Pablo, the Red Sox and even the Giants. San Francisco is said to have offered Panda a deal in the same ballpark as the one they gave Hunter Pence (5 year/$90M), maybe even increasing the total salary up to $100M, but I don't think they'd go beyond that.

So, with the likelihood of the Giants facing life without Pablo Sandoval becoming a legitimate scenario now, the Giants need to be prepared to put a plan B in action, so let's just hope they have one. While they haven't been publicly linked to any free agent third basemen aside from Sandoval, they appear as willing as ever to make a splash in the international market. They had genuine interest in Jose Abreu last winter, and after witnessing his success and all the success recent Cuban defectors have had in the States, they could feel the time is right to make a move in that direction. They're one of about a half-dozen teams to have serious interest in the consensus number one international free agent, Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas. The 24 year-old right-hander has tremendous power and looks to be right in the same category as Yasiel Puig and Yeonis Cespedes. Not to say he'll have the success those two have had, but has a similar talent level not only at the plate, but also in the outfield as well. He was said to be Cuba's most prolific power hitter after Jose Abreu departed last year, but had a down season (due in large part to injury) last season. Tomas first hit MLB scout's radar with a big season at age 21 in 2012 and backed it with a nice showcase in the 2013. In the WBC that year he hit .412 (6-16) with 2 HR, a 2B and 4 RBI, then backed it up with a solid .289/.364/.538 line with 15 jacks, 54 RBI, 34 BB and 52 K's in 81 games during the regular season.

Tomas is not a player without his flaws though. He's got 30-HR/year potential as a big leaguer right now with plenty of room to grow after just turning 24 last week, but has some holes in his swing that he's reportedly been working on. Like with many of the incoming power bats from Cuba, his big power comes with a lot of swing-and-misses and the biggest concern may be whether or not he has enough discipline to hit for average in the big leagues. Like with all international players, it's a risk/reward type of signing that you have to figure out if the potential rewards outweigh the risks. Tomas isn't the only Cuban defector the Giants are looking at either. In addition to Tomas, the Giants are also interested in 19 year-old third base prospect Yoan Moncada. Unlike Tomas, Moncada isn't quite ready to be thrown into the fire in the big leagues, just because he doesn't have as much experience at 19, but he'll have plenty of time to develop and is said to have the most overall upside of any Cuban player available this winter. Tomas has the huge power, but Moncada may have a more polished all-around game and certainly should refine it even further at the minor league level.

Extras: Aside from the two international free agents, there haven't been many new names linked to the Giants in recent days and I don't think they'll really get serious with anyone until after the situation with Pablo sorts itself out. The Giants' brass all expect a decision before Thanksgiving on that front... Elsewhere, the Giants have expressed high interest in bringing back Sergio Romo, though Santiago Casilla is likely locked in as the closer for 2015 and Romo may be seeking a return to that role with a new team. I could easily see him departing for one of the SoCal teams, either the Dodgers or Angels, as he's from LA and both could use late inning relief help and have the funds to throw Romo a 3-year, $27-30M deal or whatever he's seeking. I just can't see the Giants giving him much more than $6-7M a year for 3 max though... The one possible replacement for Pablo Sandoval, should the situation present itself, who I've been monitoring and have talked about here is Chase Headley. He doesn't seem too close to a deal yet, but there are more teams in on him than Pablo as he's going to cost half the money annually and probably half the years that Pablo will. He's no Panda, but if the Giants could grab Headley, upgrade in left field and bring in another #3-type starting pitcher, they'd be just fine without Panda.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Friday, November 14, 2014

Giants focused on Sandoval, looking at LF

Just as expected, in the two weeks of offseason there's been since the Giants won the World Series, their primary focus has been on retaining postseason machine, Pablo Sandoval. However, as they try diligently to persuade their incredibly popular third basemen into returning, they've also begun to ponder over some of the outfield options that are on the market.

I don't think the market for Sandoval was quite as big as The Panda was anticipating, but apparently their is at least one other team who's interest is rivaling the Giants, and that is Boston Red Sox. He's scheduled to visit with Boston in person sometime early next week, and my guess is he's probably gonna sign somewhere sooner than later. I don't see this thing really dragging out past Thanksgiving. I've always felt that if Pablo leaves San Francisco, he'd wind up in the AL East somewhere, and both the Red Sox and Blue Jays have shown interest and although they've been quiet, you can't count out New York. The 'Sox may make the most sense for Pablo should he leave the Bay Area. David Ortiz is an idol of Sandoval's and with the two being close friends, Ortiz is believed to be doing his best to convince Pablo to join him in Boston. Also, while Pablo may have had his best defensive season of his career in 2014, his body type may prohibit him from playing the hot corner well into his 30's and he almost certainly will end up a DH at some point in his career so long as he keeps that bat. This gives even more incentive to an AL team to swoop in on him and a big reason why I'm surprised there more teams aggressively pursuing him.

Nevertheless, the Giants can't be complaining about the fact they have just one known serious competitor for Sandoval as there really is no equal to Pablo at third base out there on the free agent market. I've heard Hanley Ramirez's name tossed out there but HanRam is hardly the type of personality that would fit in this clubhouse and his history of injuries makes even Pablo Sandoval look like Cal Ripken. After Pablo and HanRam, things drop off quickly though in terms of third base options, another reason I'm surprised there isn't more interest in Pablo. Chase Headley would be the only other starting caliber third basemen on the market after those two. Asdurbal Cabrera could be a backup plan as he may be able to slide over to third and provide solid defense and a semi-decent bat, but again, a far cry from Pablo. I mentioned Headley here last week as the guy who would probably make most sense should Sandoval sign elsewhere. His switch hitting bat could be inserted into the middle of the order somewhere and although he doesn't have the explosive bat Pablo does, he did have a .283/31/115 year in San Diego of all places just 2 seasons ago. Since that breakout campaign however, he's totaled just 30 HR and 99 RBI in two full seasons, so expecting anything more than a .260/15/70 line (roughly his career 162-game average clip) out of him would probably be unreasonable. In today's market though, with his solid glove and playing a position that's sorely thin in Major League Baseball right now, he's gonna get a multi-year deal worth $10M+ per year.

Now, with all this focus on Sandoval, the Giants must not overlook their other areas of need, and apparently they've inquired about some outfielders. There were whisperings at the start of the GM meetings that the Giants were interested in Torii Hunter as a possible replacement for Michael Morse in left field. At age 39, Hunter has hinted at possible retirement, but would have to have some interest in making one last run at a tittle before retirement should the Giants' interest be genuine. Hunter did have a solid .286/18/83/.765 line in 2014 and still is one of the better defensive outfielders in all of baseball, so he could certainly make some sense on a very short-term deal. Hunter is likely attractive to them because of his still relevant production and the likelihood that he'll seek just a one or two-year contract because to get his production from a player younger than him will likely start costing multiple years and much, much more money. Nelson Cruz isn't going to be a Giant, as interesting as that would be, and the market isn't too deep with outfielders this winter either. Besides Hunter, Morse and Cruz, there's Alex Rios, Colby Rasmus, Nick Markakis and Nori Aoki. Rasmus is semi-intriguing, just because he too will likely be looking for a short-term deal to rebound from last season. He's right in the prime of his career and is a pretty good bet to rebound, health permitting. The options just aren't great ones in the outfield, which makes keeping Pablo's bat at third all the more valuable.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

After third tittle, Giants aren't done yet

After winning their third World Series Championship in five seasons a week ago, celebration time has wound down for the front office and Brian Sabean as they have multiple big decisions ahead of them.

First of all though, I wanted to just say a couple of final words about the World Series. It was an incredible battle between the Royals and Giants, coming down to the final out of Game 7 with the tying run just 90 feet away, but the Giants' grit and experience paid off as Pablo Sandoval (fittingly after the postseason he just put up and quite possibly playing his last game in the orange and black) reeled in the Salvador Perez foul pop-up to end another epic run by San Francisco. The Giants, underdogs in every postseason series they played in this October, just don't wilt under the pressure of the big stage, and actually seem to thrive on it. It also helps when you have one of the best pitchers in postseason history basically win three games for you in one series. They've had a lot of change-over from the 2010 championship team, but 2014's squad was eerily similar to that which won it all in 2012 (sans the starting pitching, second base and left field). What was most impressive for me though, was the way this team just kept finding ways to win despite dealing with a multitude of injuries. The Giants didn't have a deep bench this year and had to deal with replacing Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and even Michael Morse down the stretch and most of October. They also didn't have the strongest starting pitching staff in the playoffs (without their #2 Matt Cain), as Madison Bumgarner was the only one to post an ERA under 5. That's just a testament as to how good of a job Bruce Bochy does with this team and why he's become a sure-fire Hall-of-Fame skipper.

2014 was basically a tale of 3 seasons for the Giants. They had that epic start in which they were 20+ games over .500 in early June. Then they had the meltdown in the middle of the season as guys started dropping, barely battling their way into that last wild card spot. Part three was the historical October run, in which the San Francisco Giants became a modern day dynasty. However, as exhilarating and nerve-racking that October was, we've entered into November, and while the players may take some more personal time before they start training for 2015, the front-office has no such luxury. The Giants have been able to hoist the World Series trophy in three of the last five seasons, but they've yet to put together back-to-back winning seasons during that span. After 2010's run, they dealt with the Buster Posey injury and a meltdown in 2011. Then in 2013, they dealt with a ton of injuries and wound up 10 games below .500 at the end of the year. Now their goal has to be avoiding that post-World Series let down that they've gone through those last two times, and that all starts now as they begin to piece their roster together for next year. Luckily, they don't have a huge number of players entering free agency, but the ones that are have been extremely important to this team's success, and will be very tough to replace should they depart.

Obviously, the first name that pops up is Pablo Sandoval, who the Giants did extend the qualifying $15.3M offer to on Monday. For most of the year, I was thinking this was going to be it for Panda in San Francisco. Although he turned it on in the second half, his numbers at the end of the year weren't particularly outstanding. However, you factor in what he did in October, and recall what he did in October 2012, and you start to see just how valuable he is when he needs to be. The lack of free agent third basemen makes Pablo an extremely hot commodity this winter though, so there will probably be a handful of teams that will be willing to overpay to get the postseason hero onto their roster. If I'm Sabean, I would be trying to get Pablo to bite on a shorter-term deal even if they had to overpay him in that span. Heck, I'd give him $20M a year for three seasons if he'd take it, maybe even four. I just know there will be some American League team offering him 5 or 6 years knowing they can DH him towards the back-end of the deal though and that's a little risky for a guy who's notoriously overweight and relatively injury prone, even if he is just 28. That being said, despite the weight issues, his defense at third base this seasons was probably in the top-5 at the position in all of baseball so he's not just a DH waiting to happen.

As to how valuable he is for the Giants to retain, they have to figure out what's out there should they need to replace him, and who they have in house in case they can't. They don't really have a back-up plan to Pablo in-house, and their is no equal at the position on the free-agent market. The one scenario that has been mentioned (albeit not by Sabean, Bochy or anyone of merit in the organization) in the event Pablo does depart and they aren't able to replace him would be to move Buster Posey out to third base and plug impressive rookie Andrew Sussac into the full-time catcher role. At some point in the next few seasons, the Giants will be moving Buster out from behind the plate, and logic has it being either to third or first base. He hasn't played third at the professional level yet, but has collegiate experience everywhere in the infield and has plenty enough baseball skills to adapt to a new a position. The thing is, I don't think they'd be ready to head into 2015 with Buster as their starting third basemen quite yet. The one guy out there who is semi intriguing should Pablo leave is Chase Headley. He had a couple of off-years offensively after a breakout in 2012, but would probably provide similar offensive stats as to what Pablo did this regular season, maybe with a slightly lower average while providing a solid glove at third.

Although he's the most important, Pablo isn't the only key Giant hitting free agency though. They'll have decisions to make on Michael Morse, Jake Peavy, Sergio Romo and Ryan Vogelsong. They also have to figure out just what they're going to do with Tim Lincecum, under contract for 2015 but jettisoned from the rotation in August and hardly heard from again the rest of the season and playoffs. The rotation is really going to be a focal point outside of third base, as they'll have at least one spot, maybe two to fill. Peavy was solid down the stretch but largely disappointing in October so my guess is the Giants will try and bring him back on their terms or not at all. I'm a big fan of Vogey and Romo's, but I could see both elsewhere in 2015. Morse is going to be an interesting one though. There are a bunch of mid-tiere outfielders out there this year so Morse likely won't have a bunch of big multi-year offers, but after a solid season and clutch postseason (when he played that is), he should have no trouble finding a 2 or 3 year offer at around $10M/per and the Giants need to figure out if they go that high for a guy who's very injury prone, or if they look elsewhere and maybe try and roll the dice on a player much like they did with Morse this year. My guess though, is the Giants don't really do anything in left until they figure out third base cause if they need to replace Pablo's bat, it may end up being in the form of a left fielder.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Monday, October 27, 2014

SF heading back to KC in driver's seat

After the Royals came into town and took the first game at AT&T Park Friday night for their second straight win, games 4 and 5 became the real momentum changers of the series so far.

Through the first three innings of Game 4, it looked like KC was gonna run away with this game and take a 3-1 series lead, but the Giants showed why they've won 2 tittles the last 4 seasons and came up with an impressive comeback to not only win the game, but completely blow KC out of the water, 11-4. I think that was the big turn of the series, or at least I'm hoping it was. Had the Royals held on to win that game, they take a commanding 3-1 lead and would have forced San Francisco to win the last 3 games in a row in order to take this thing. However, with the comeback, the Giants sapped all the momentum KC had been building off the back-to-back wins and completely swung it in their favor with that thrilling Game 4. It seems like everyone got involved a little in Game 4, with Pablo Sandoval providing clutch hit after clutch hit, Joe Panik coming up big and the big days from Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. But the real hero of Game 4 has to be Yusmiero Petit, who really took over and completely stopped the bleeding that Vogelsong had started, and gave the Giants the chance to come back in that game. If you follow us on Twitter, you'll know that after the NLCS, I stated that I'd prefer Petit over Vogey as the Game 4 starter, but somehow it all worked out in the end.

Then came the ever so pivotal Game 5, a game in which I think all Giants fans had a pretty good feeling about heading in with their ace and one of the better starting pitchers in the postseason history at this point. And Madison Bumgarner certainly did not dissapoint. With the groove he was in early, I figured the Giants may only need a couple runs tonight in order to take this game. They scored 5 of course, but could have done with just 1 with MadBum in complete "beast mode". Sandoval and Pence got the offense going, but Brandon Crawford and Juan Perez came up with the big hits tonight, both driving in multiple runs on the evening and cruising to a easy 5-0 victory. Bumgarner was the talk of the night though, and really has been the talk of the series. He shut the Royals potent, speedy offense out, holding them to just four hits and allowing zero free passes on his way to striking out 8 in the complete game victory. Like a true ace, MadBum just gets tougher as the game goes on, and If the Giants are able to go on and win this thing in Game 6, I think Madison get's the World Series MVP. Now, not to get ahead of ourselves though, cause they still have to win one of these next two in KC. The thing the Giants do have slightly in their favor, besides the 1-game lead, is the fact their pretty darned good on the road in the postseason, and they have two pretty solid bets going in Jake Peavy and Timmy Hudson lined up for the next two starts.

Yordano Ventura may be the toughest Royals' starter to hit when he's on though, and he already handed the Giants a loss in this series, so Game 6 will be no cakewalk. Still, the Giants have complete momentum, have the experience closing out teams, obviously, and should be the clear front-runners at this point to take the 'Series and officially be categorized as a Dynasty in baseball's rich history, but that conversation is for a later date. First off, they need to finish this out, and although Jake Peavy has had some hiccups his last two starts in the playoffs, I expect him to be on his game Tuesday night.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________
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BARRY BONDS HR TRACKER: ALL TIME HOME RUN KING
662 Career Home Runs
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