Andres Torres

What Areas Do the San Francisco Giants Need to Address This Offseason?

Jun 14, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco (7) is greeted at the dugout by team mate left fielder Andres Torres (56) after a lead off home run against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

After winning two World Series in the past three years, the San Francisco Giants have failed to live up to expectations this season. They have struggled all season, and they have several areas of concern that they will need to address in the offseason.

The primary concern for the Giants this offseason is to find a serviceable left fielder. Last offseason, this was one of the Giants’ biggest areas of need as well. Going into this season, the Giants decided to go with a left field platoon involving Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres.

When Angel Pagan got injured, Blanco and Torres had to share not only the left field duties, but also the center field duties. This, unfortunately, exposed each player’s weakness. These two players were meant to platoon, because they’re not everyday players. Blanco is fantastic defensively, but he hasn’t proved that he can be consistent offensively. Torres was weak defensively in left field but looked much more comfortable when he played in center field. He also was inconsistent offensively.

If Angel Pagan hadn’t gotten injured and had played in more games this season, maybe the left field platoon would’ve worked. However, the Giants are going to need to bring more of a consistent offensive presence into left field. Blanco could still be used as a defensive replacement, spot starter, or pinch runner or hitter, but the Giants need to find a left fielder who is fairly solid both defensively and offensively, and, ideally, has some power.

The next area that the Giants need to address is depth. Entering this season, the Giants had a pretty solid starting lineup. However, they lacked some depth off the bench pretty much all season. Joaquin Arias is a great player to have on the roster, because he’s versatile and solid defensively. For next season, the Giants need more versatility off the bench than just Arias though.

Tony Abreu was injured most of the season, and Nick Noonan didn’t prove that he can hit consistenly at the major league level. The Giants need to add more depth in the middle infield, especially since Marco Scutaro has had back issues all season long and his dependability for next season is questionable. If the Giants could sign someone with some power off the bench, that would be especially helpful too.

Another important area that the Giants need to address is how many of their key free agents they will be able to re-sign. It should be their top priority to re-sign Hunter Pence because of his power, defense, speed, work ethic, passion, and veteran leadership.

Jul 13, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (8) is congratulated by starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) after a diving catch during the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

If possible, the Giants should also re-sign Javier Lopez and Tim Lincecum, because they are both key elements to this team for different reasons. Lopez is, arguably, the best lefty specialist in all of MLB, and he has become more valuable to this team than Jeremy Affeldt is.

Lincecum has been a fan favorite for a long time, and he’s shown this season that he has evolved as a pitcher. At the right price, the Giants should definitely make a push to re-sign Lincecum.

The Giants should also solidy who will make up their bullpen next year. The Giants saw some promising relief pitchers come up this year from Fresno including Jake Dunning, Sandy Rosario, and Heath Hembree. Some of these decisions will be dependent on if they are able to bring Lopez back, but, otherwise, Giants management will have to decide if they want to bring back George Kontos, Jean Machi, etc.

They will also have to figure out their starting pitching rotation. Although Matt Cain has struggled this year, he’s still one of the aces of this pitching staff, along with the consistent, reliable Madison Bumgarner. It’s unclear if Lincecum will come back, and the Giants will also have to decide if they pick up Ryan Vogelsong’s team option for next season, which they probably will.

After that, they have to decide who else will start. The Giants will most certainly not be picking up Barry Zito’s team option for next season. They will have to decide if Chad Gaudin should start or come out of the bullpen, if Yusmeiro Petit should start, or if someone else like Eric Surkamp should start.

Although this has been a disappointing season for the Giants, they should have a pretty good idea what they need to improve on in the offseason. Hopefully during the offseason, the Giants get some serious rest too. Fatigue has seemed to be a big issue this season for many Giants players. If they’re able to get the rest that they need after two long seasons in three years and if they’re able to address the areas of need that were mentioned before, the Giants could easily be a playoff contender again next season.

San Francisco Giants: Their 3 Biggest Struggles This Season

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Jul 30, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito (75) wipes the sweat off his head during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Giants 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After winning two World Series titles in three years, the San Francisco Giants have been extremely disappointing this season. They currently have a 50-63 record and are 13 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. Although it’s almost impossible that they will make the playoffs, the Giants are always going to believe that they can come back. They have a “never say die” attitude that rode them to a World Series title last season.

However, if they want to even attempt to make a comeback, or at least just finish out the season strong, they will have to be more consistent in several areas of their game. Here are three of those areas:

San Francisco Giants Midseason Grades: Offense, Defense and Pitching

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Jul 13, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) celebrates with teammates after throwing a no hitter against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. The Giants won 9-0. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 season for the San Francisco Giants has certainly been a disappointment. After winning two World Series titles in three years, the Giants have looked tired this season and are now struggling just to get back to being a .500 team. Going into the All-Star break, the Giants have a 43-51 record, which puts them six and a half games back from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West standings.

One word to sum up the Giants’ season so far: inconsistent. Sometimes, this team looks unstoppable. When the Giants do what got them two World Series titles in the past three years, such as stellar starting pitching, perfect defense, and timely hitting, then they can win a lot of games.

Other times, this team’s effort is laughable. It all starts with the starting pitcher. If the starter gets off to a rough start and gives up some runs, it puts more pressure on the offense and defense, and many times, the Giants can’t recover.

The All-Star break couldn’t come soon enough for the Giants. They could use a break from the long road trips and the mental grind of the game.

Here are the Giants’ midseason grades:

San Francisco Giants: 3 Players They Should Pursue at the Trade Deadline

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

June 2, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Nick Noonan (left) catcher Buster Posey (center) and relief pitcher Sergio Romo (right) celebrate with teammates after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. San Francisco defeated St. Louis 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Out of 15 National League teams, the San Francisco Giants currently rank 13th with a 4.47 ERA for their starters. This is hard to believe given the fact that the Giants have won two World Series titles in the past three seasons behind dominant starting pitching.

Matt Cain struggled in the beginning of the season, Tim Lincecum has been inconsistent, and Barry Zito has a 10.41 ERA on the road. Because of their struggles, many analysts and fans have suggested that the Giants acquire a starting pitcher.

By adding another starting pitcher, the Giants could move Chad Gaudin back into his role as a reliever, which would strengthen the struggling bullpen. In addition, when Ryan Vogelsong comes back from injury, the Giants could also consider moving Lincecum to the bullpen. According to a club source, the Giants would convert Lincecum into a late-inning reliever “in a heartbeat,” and Lincecum said he is open to that change as well.

On the other hand, Bruce Bochy has said the Giants need the most help in the bullpen. If the Giants acquire a relief pitcher, they could continue to use Gaudin as a starter until Vogelsong comes back, and then when Vogelsong is healthy again, the Giants could move Gaudin back into his long reliever role.

The Giants also need a veteran outfielder, with Angel Pagan expected to be out until September, at the earliest. Gregor Blanco, Andres Torres, and Juan Perez are currently filling the void at center field and left field, but they’re collectively not providing enough offense to make up for Pagan’s energy and production in the leadoff spot.

Here are three players that the Giants could acquire at the trade deadline that would fill these needs:

San Francisco Giants: How Much Will They Miss Angel Pagan?

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Angel Pagan is a sparkplug.

He provides so much energy for the San Francisco Giants as their center fielder and leadoff hitter, and he was a significant contributor to their World Series win last season. However, Pagan’s current situation could significantly impact the Giants for the rest of the season.

May 15, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan (16) singles in the fifth inning as Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia (9) watches at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Pagan initially strained his left hamstring on May 25th when he scored an incredible inside-the-park home run to walk-off against the Colorado Rockies.

Pagan recently aggravated his strained left hamstring while on a rehab assignment with the San Jose Giants. An MRI done on Saturday revealed that Pagan actually has a small tear in his left hamstring.

Because of this, Pagan has elected to have surgery to repair the torn hamstring, and he will be sidelined for 12 weeks.

This could significantly impact the Giants’ chances of winning the NL West. The Giants have already experienced a multitude of injuries to other key players on their roster, such as Marco Scutaro, Ryan Vogelsong, Santiago Casilla, and Pablo Sandoval.

Scutaro is playing through his injury and both Casilla and Sandoval are expected back soon, but given Pagan’s energy and enthusiasm, the Giants will surely miss his presence on and off the field.

In 46 games this season, Pagan is batting .262 with three home runs and 24 RBI. He also has walked 15 times.

Pagan truly is their sparkplug on offense. He’s an effective leadoff hitter given his ability to steal bases, run the bases aggressively and efficiently, and get on base by getting a hit or taking a walk. Pagan is also able to stretch out a hit and gain an extra base because of his speed, since he can score from second on a single and score from first on a double.

In addition, Pagan scored 95 runs last year for the Giants and he led MLB with 15 triples, so he is clearly the best option as the leadoff hitter for the Giants.

However, in his absence, Gregor Blanco has really stepped up and shown that he can more than adequately fill in for Pagan in the leadoff spot. First of all, Blanco is versatile. He can play all three outfield spots extremely well.

Second, Blanco has been on a tear recently on offense. In the month of June, Blanco is hitting .373 with one home run and 10 RBI’s in 75 at-bats. He also has a .413 OBP and a .533 slugging percentage. Overall, Blanco is hitting .302 with one home run, 26 RBI, and has a .354 OBP and a .401 slugging percentage.

“He can contribute in any way, it’s really good to see,” Pagan said about Blanco. “That’s how good teams go through bad weather, guys like Gregor getting it done and stepping up.”

Andres Torres has been a little streaky on offense, but for the season, he’s hitting .269 with two home runs and 16 RBI’s. Also, Juan Perez got off to an amazing start with the Giants, but he’s cooled off a little since his major league debut. He’s still hitting a respectable .300 though in 30 at-bats though.

The Giants will definitely miss Pagan on offense and his effectiveness in the leadoff spot, but given Blanco’s recent production, the Giants must feel a little more comfortable.

However, twelve weeks without Pagan is a long time, so everyone on the Giants will have to step up, not just Blanco. Since Pagan will be gone until September, Blanco, as well as Torres and Perez, will have to maintain consistency throughout the rest of the season.

Apr 27, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan (16) reacts after scoring during the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Pagan’s absence won’t be missed as much on the defensive end. Defensively, he is arguably the fourth-best center fielder on the Giants behind Blanco, Perez, and Torres. These three players have been able to display their defensive prowess while Pagan has been out, so the Giants shouldn’t be concerned missing Pagan’s defense.

Pagan is a leader in the clubhouse because of his passion and enthusiasm for the game. He’s an extremely hard worker who sets a good example for the younger players on how to work hard and play the game the right way. His energy gets the team excited and pumped up for each game, so the Giants will definitely miss him for that.

Unfortunately, Pagan has been labeled as injury-prone throughout his career. He has only played more than 125 games in a season twice in his seven-year career.

The Giants were aware of this situation though when they signed him to a 4-year, $40 million contract in the the offseason. This could be considered a risky move given his history of injuries, but Pagan has been a solid force for the Giants since he signed here.

On the defensive end, the Giants won’t miss him as much because they have a trio of center fielders who are extremely talented defensively.

Offensively, it remains to be seen how much Pagan’s absence will affect the Giants, because it depends on Blanco keeping up his impressive hitting.

The Giants will miss Pagan most in terms of the energy he provides for this team. His “never give up” attitude and his determination to win are hard to replace.

SFG: San Francisco Giants: Analyzing Their Left Field Platoon

May 1, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Gregor Blanco (7) celebrates with right fielder Hunter Pence (8) after scoring on a 3 run home run by first baseman Brandon Belt (9) during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

May 1, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Gregor Blanco (7) celebrates with right fielder Hunter Pence (8) after scoring on a 3 run home run by first baseman Brandon Belt (9) during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Before the beginning of the 2013 season, Bruce Bochy stated that he would employ a left field platoon. After re-signing Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, and Jeremy Affeldt in the offseason, the Giants really only had to address one position in the offseason: left field.

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