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Early Grades for All of the San Francisco Giants’ Offseason Acquisitions

The 2015 season is in full swing, and the month of April has been a tumultuous on for the San Francisco Giants. The Giants have a record of 9-13 and are in last place in the NL West. They trail the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers by 4.5 games.

Much has been made of the Giants losing Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse in the free-agent market. In addition, general manager Brian Sabean was unsuccessful in landing a big-name player to bolster the pitching staff or add power to the offense.

The Giants struck out on Jon Lester and James Shields, two of their primary pitching targets this winter. In addition, as players like Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Michael Cuddyer and Hanley Ramirez all switched teams, the Giants went for a more cost-effective route.

Sabean ultimately brought in Nori Aoki and Casey McGehee to fill the spots vacated by the departures of Sandoval and Morse. In addition, non-roster invitee Justin Maxwell made the team.

The Giants also brought Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong back into the fold. Both were free agents but elected to return to San Francisco.

These five players encompass the Giants’ offseason acquisitions currently playing on the 25-man roster. We will assess how each of them has done in April and provide them with a one-month grade.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

Contract data courtesy of Baseball Prospectus.

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San Francisco Giants: Biggest Storylines at the Start of the 2015 Season

The San Francisco Giants have won three of their first four games. In traditional Giants fashion, all of the games have been close, tightly contested contests.

In recent history, the Giants have excelled in these types of games. They have a quiet confidence that is perpetuated by manager Bruce Bochy.

Arguably, the most exciting development for the Giants is that Madison Bumgarner looks strong and is poised to lead the San Francisco pitching staff. In his first start since his incredible performance to close out the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, Bumgarner looked in top form.

Bumgarner threw seven strong innings, allowing six hits and a walk and striking out three batters. He allowed only one run and earned his first victory of the season.

In addition to Bumgarner’s stellar performance, there have been several other major developments already this year.

The Giants opened the season with Hunter Pence and Travis Ishikawa on the disabled list. Unfortunately, additional injury concerns have hit the club in the first few days of the year.

Let’s take a look at the biggest developments of the 2015 season, thus far.

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5 Reasons to Be Optimistic for the San Francisco Giants’ 2015 Season

The San Francisco Giants embark on the 2015 campaign with one goal in mind: They want to defend their World Series title and win it again.

The baseball season is a long, arduous process, which makes the Giants’ three world championships in the past five years a tremendous accomplishment.

On paper, there are teams that look better than the Giants, but that was also the case in 2010, 2012 and 2014, when the Giants won it all. Fortunately, the game is not played on paper, and there are injuries and other intangibles that factor into whether a team is ultimately successful.

Looking at the 2015 team, two key players, Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse, have departed. The Giants have replaced Sandoval with Casey McGehee, who was acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins. McGehee is a solid hitter and decent defensive player, so the loss of Sandoval is minimized.

McGehee does not have Sandoval’s power, as he hit only four home runs last season, compared to Sandoval’s 16. However, McGehee actually had more RBI, as he contributed 76, compared to 73 for Sandoval.

The Giants will miss Morse, however, as he carried the team early in the season and came up with some huge hits in the postseason. Morse hit 16 home runs and drove in 61 runs during the regular season.

Nori Aoki was signed as a free agent and will get the opportunity to replace Morse. He is a completely different type of player. Aoki has good speed, is a good contact hitter and gets on base. His OBP last year was .360. Although not great, Aoki is a better defensive player than Morse.

The Giants hope the assets that Aoki brings to San Francisco will offset his lack of power in comparison to Morse.

The key for the Giants, however, will come down to pitching. If the Giants pitch well and play good defense, they have shown an uncanny ability to win close games.

Let’s take a look at five key reasons to be optimistic heading into the 2015 season.

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Complete San Francisco Giants 2015 Season Preview

As the San Francisco Giants embark on their quest to defend the 2014 World Series title, there are many questions that must be answered over a very long season.

The fact that the Giants have three world championships in five years is nothing short of amazing. Every season is a grueling marathon, both mentally and physically. 

Mental toughness, clutch execution and team chemistry are all critical factors behind the Giants’ success.

Manager Bruce Bochy has been the steady hand that guides the Giants and keeps the team focused and moving in the right direction. His leadership has paid huge dividends, as the Giants have championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

The question now is whether the Giants can win in an odd-numbered year. So much has to go right just to make the playoffs in the first place. Winning in 2015 will definitely not be an easy task.

Let’s review the outlook for 2015. Hopefully, we can provide a balanced view of the Giants’ chances this upcoming season.

All stats courtesy of

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Final Prediction for San Francisco Giants’ Key Spring Training Position Battles

As the San Francisco Giants prepare for their regular-season opener, there are still a few roster questions that must be answered. Fortunately, the starting eight position players appear set, even with the injury to Hunter Pence.

Manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean will make the remaining roster decisions. They have proven their prowess in the past, so the Giants are in good hands.

Over the course of a long, 162-game season, the roster will always be fluid. Injuries and roster moves occur regularly, and even if a player is sent down, he could still end up playing a major role during the year.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the final roster decisions to be made and who has the inside track to win those coveted jobs.

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Most Disappointing San Francisco Giants Players in Spring Training so Far

At this point in the spring, players are focused on getting their work in to be ready for the start of the season. Unless you’re a rookie or marginal player trying to land a job, statistics are largely meaningless.

With more than three weeks remaining before the start of the season, there is still plenty of time for a player to find his groove.

Spring training in 2015 for the Giants has already been more eventful than last year. Manager Bruce Bochy underwent a heart procedure and right fielder Hunter Pence broke his arm when he was hit by with a fastball from Cubs prospect Corey Black.

Pence is expected to miss six to eight weeks, which will place his return sometime into mid-to-late April. His string of 383 consecutive games, the longest current streak in baseball, will come to an end.

As the defending world champions, the Giants ideally want a quieter and less eventful spring training.

On the positive, Matt Cain and Tim Hudson, who are both returning from surgeries, look strong and have suffered no setbacks.

However, there are players who are off to slower starts than is ideal. Nevertheless, there is still plenty of time for those players to get on track.

Let’s take a look at five players who have had sluggish or disappointing springs thus far.



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San Francisco Giants: What Sets Them Apart from the Other Teams in Baseball?

The San Francisco Giants have won three world championships in five years. In today’s era of free agency, that level of success qualifies as a modern-day dynasty.

So, how have the Giants been able to accomplish this, even though, on paper, their talent level has often been regarded as weaker than their opponent in a given series? 

What is it that sets the Giants apart from all the rest?

The answer can be found in just one word: continuity.

On the field, the Giants’ core group of players has stayed together, and several have been members of all three World Series-winning teams. These players include Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez. 

To have four key relief pitchers—Casilla, Romo, Affeldt and Lopez—on all three championship teams is unheard of. 

In addition, Pablo Sandoval, who recently departed to Boston in the free-agent market, also played on all three victorious teams.

Even more Giants have played a role in the past two World Series teams in 2012 and 2014. These include Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco, Joaquin Arias and Ryan Vogelsong.

Travis Ishikawa was also on two of the championship clubs, although not consecutively. He played on the 2010 and 2014 teams.

Outside of Sandoval, 16 players that have at least two World Series rings are still in San Francisco.

This means that 64 percent of the projected 25-man roster is made up of players with at least two World Series rings with the Giants. That continuity and experience is extremely valuable during the high-stress situations that occur in any postseason.

The continuity is even greater on the management end of things. Larry Baer, who is the president and CEO of the Giants, joined the organization in 1992. An interesting bio on Baer and his ascension up the ranks in San Francisco can be found on

The baseball management, player development staff and coaches have also remained remarkably stable.

General manager Brian Sabean has held the job since 1996 and is the longest-tenured GM in the game. Sabean deserves a lot of the credit for building a roster that fits together well and being able to make critical midseason deals to bolster the team.

Looking back over the Giants’ past three world championship teams, Sabean acquired the likes of Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Lopez, Chris Ray and Ramon Ramirez in 2010. All of these players helped the Giants make it to the postseason and win it all.

In 2012, it was the acquisition of Marco Scutaro prior to the trade deadline that pushed the Giants over the top. Amazingly, both Ross in 2010 and Scutaro in 2012 were NLCS MVPs.

In 2014, prior to the trade deadline, Sabean acquired Jake Peavy, who stepped in for the injured Cain. Had it not been for Peavy, the Giants never would have even made the playoffs, let alone won the title.

The continuity at the executive level does not end with Sabean. Assistant GM Bobby Evans has been with the Giants for 21 years. Shane Turner, the director of player development, has been with the Giants for 19 years. 

On the field, manager Bruce Bochy is entering his ninth season with the Giants. His coaching staff has also been very stable.

The only departure is third base coach Tim Flannery, who is also a close friend of Bochy. Flannery has retired and will be sorely missed.

Flannery decided he had accomplished everything he wanted in the game of baseball and had other things he still wanted to do. has Tim Flannery‘s complete letter to the Giants and their fans. 

Dave Righetti is the longest-tenured pitching coach in the major leagues, having started his coaching career in San Francisco 15 years ago. 

Mark Gardner, the bullpen coach, acts as a second pitching coach for the Giants. He began his coaching career in San Francisco in 2003. Gardner actually pitched for the Giants from 1996-2001, winning 58 games and losing 45, per

Roberto Kelly will move from first base to third base, replacing Flannery. Kelly also works with the outfielders and coaches base running. He is entering his eighth year as a coach in San Francisco.

Ron Wotus is the bench coach and is also responsible for the defensive alignments. The Giants do a lot of shifting in the infield, and that’s Wotus‘ call. Wotus has been in the Giants organization for 26 years and a coach in San Francisco for the past 16 seasons. More on Wotus can be found on

Giants management has also made a concerted effort to keep their past stars in the fold. Former greats like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Juan Marichal are frequent visitors to AT&T Park.

Barry Bonds, Will Clark and J.T. Snow have also come out to spring training to work with players and have even been seen during the season helping when they can.

From the top down, the Giants organization is a model of continuity. This is different than any organization in baseball and a big reason the for the success of the team. In addition, the continuity enables the fans to connect with the players in a way that helps the players stay motivated and on top of their game.

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San Francisco Giants: Biggest Missed Opportunities of the Offseason

The San Francisco Giants are basking in the glow of their third world championship in five years. In today’s era of free agency and player movement, this is indeed a dynasty.

However, the Giants did not make a major splash in the free-agent market this winter, and one must wonder if general manager Brian Sabean has done enough to keep the Giants in contention in 2015.

Somehow, the acquisitions of Casey McGehee and Nori Aoki do not carry the same flair as the San Diego Padres getting Matt Kemp, James Shields, Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Derek Norris.

Nor do the Giants’ acquisitions measure up with the Los Angeles Dodgers picking up Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal, Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy.

Nevertheless, Sabean deserves the benefit of the doubt based on his proven track record. However, it is tough to see the Dodgers and Padres acquiring a ton of new talent and the Giants not.

The Giants lost Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse to free agency. They also missed out on some of the other key players they were after. The two biggest players the Giants could not sign were Jon Lester and Yasmany Tomas.

According to John Shea of, Lester had the Giants on his short list of teams that he was considering. Ultimately, Lester signed with the Chicago Cubs on a six-year, $155 million deal. 

In 2014, Lester split the season between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A’s. In 219.2 total innings, he allowed only 194 hits and 48 walks while striking out 220. Lester fashioned an ERA of 2.46 and a WHIP of 1.102. At the age of 31, Lester looks like he still has a lot of mileage left.

Although these kinds of long-term deals for pitchers often do not work out, one can only imagine if the Giants could’ve paired Lester with Madison Bumgarner. That would’ve made up a formidable one-two punch on par with any pair in baseball.

The second player who would have looked great in a Giants uniform is Yasmany Tomas. The Cuban national signed a six-year, $68.5 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, although he can opt out after four years.

On, Jeff Sullivan provides a detailed scouting report on Tomas.

Tomas will probably have some growing pains as he adjusts to the major leagues. Even fellow Cuban and Dodgers’ star outfielder Yasiel Puig has had his ups and downs making the adjustment.

The overall talent and athleticism that Tomas possesses makes him an excellent bet for stardom. In addition, his contract is relatively inexpensive, and Tomas will be a bargain if he indeed becomes a star player.

Had the Giants been able to land Tomas, he would likely have been their left fielder for years to come.

Although the Giants missed on both Lester and Tomas, the team is still strong, and it has the wherewithal to add pieces prior to the trade deadline, if necessary. The outlook is positive, and if the Giants can stay healthy, they will be in the thick of the playoff race again.

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Predicting the San Francisco Giants Pitching Staff Heading into 2015

The San Francisco Giants have won three world championships in the past five seasons, and the cornerstone of their success has been strong pitching.

Whether it is the starting rotation or the bullpen, general manager Brian Sabean has consistently built a solid pitching staff. Manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti know how to get the most out of their pitchers.

Looking ahead to the 2015 season, once again, pitching will be essential to the Giants’ success. 

James Shields and Max Scherzer are the last two remaining front-of-the-rotation starters on the free-agent market. 

A couple of weeks ago, The Boston Globe‘s Nick Cafardo (h/t Bryan Rose of reported about the Giants’ interest in Shields. However, after the signing of Jake Peavy, it’s a long shot that the Giants will sign Shields. In addition, they would lose their top pick, 19th overall, in the upcoming amateur draft.

When it comes to the Giants, the case of Scherzer is much clearer. Sabean has been clear that the Giants have no interest, as reported by Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News (h/t Rose).

According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports (h/t Bryan Kilpatrick of SB Nation), Scherzer is seeking a huge deal that would be on par with the megadeal the Dodgers gave to Clayton Kershaw. This past January, Kershaw signed a seven-year, $215 million deal.

Scherzer’s agent is Scott Boras, who is notorious for trying to squeeze the last dollar out of teams. Based on comments he made to then-Mercury News reporter Andrew Baggarly and repeated during a televised interview in December 2009, Sabean seems to dislike working with Boras and coupled with the huge price tag, it’s easy to understand why the Giants will not enter into the fray.

The Giants have also been rumored to be interested in acquiring Cole Hamels via trade from the Phillies, as Jayson Stark of reported on Twitter.

In order to acquire Hamels, the Giants would have to give up several of their top prospects and young players. Players like Kyle Crick, Joe Panik and Andrew Susac might all have to be included in a deal of this magnitude, and even that may not be enough.

With Sabean also looking for help in the outfield, the odds are long on the Giants making a trade for Hamels. 

Look for the Giants to head into the 2015 season with the pitchers on the roster. If they need to make some additions to their pitching staff, Sabean will likely try to do something by the July trade deadline.

Let’s take a closer look at how the pitching staff is likely to look when the Giants open the season.

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Predicting the San Francisco Giants’ Starting Lineup Heading into 2015

The San Francisco Giants have won three World Series titles in the past five years. Manager Bruce Bochy guided his team through several peaks and valleys in 2014.

His calm demeanor was a soothing influence when the Giants struggled in the middle of the season. Bochy then pushed all the right buttons, and the Giants produced, enabling them to win it all.

The Giants held a parade throughout the streets of San Francisco. Dignitaries, players and management all spoke, and they lauded both the team and the fans of San Francisco. It was a good time had by all.

The business of baseball has now taken center stage, and the Giants are retooling their roster in the hopes of defending their world championship.

General manager Brian Sabean has not landed any of the high-priced, marquee names on the market. Instead, he and the Giants resigned some of their own free agents, like Sergio Romo and Jake Peavy.

In addition, the Giants made a small but significant trade with the Miami Marlins. They acquired third baseman Casey McGehee in exchange for two minor league pitchers.

We could still see one or two more moves from Sabean, but don’t count on it. The roster is fairly set, and although the Giants would like to add another top quality starting pitcher and a left fielder, getting those players is definitely not a sure thing.

Let’s take a look at the lineup as it stands now. 

All stats are courtesy of

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