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Giants-Dodgers Preview: Q&A with ESPN Baseball Tonight’s Aaron Boone

The Giants face their NL West division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, at home Friday. I spoke with Aaron Boone, 12-year MLB veteran and current analyst for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, to preview the important three-game series. 


Keely Flanagan: You had a memorable 2003 stint with the Yankees. How does the Dodgers-Giants rivalry compare to the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry?

Aaron Boone: You know, especially now, I think it’s comparable. At the peak of Red Sox-Yankees, and speaking on when I was there [on the Yankees] in 2003, and then when the Red Sox beat them in 2004, it was as big as anything in sports probably. I’m not sure people on the East Coast realize how big a deal Dodgers-Giants is. I think especially when you consider how potentially good those teams are, with recent playoff success, and the two teams now slugging it out in the National League West to win that division, it’s a huge deal. 


KF: Why have the Giants been successful, winning two World Series championships in four years, while the Dodgers spend, spend, spend and have continually come up short?

AB: You know, I think it’s important to separate the two regimes. The Dodgers are really in year two-and-a-half of the new regime. Last year, they went on a historic run to eventually run away with the National League West under this new setup they have where they’ve become the team that spends the most money, and where they’ve added whatever they’ve needed. It’s a different situation. I think San Francisco has been one of the model organizations—you know, you think of St. Louis, you think of San Francisco—teams like that that just have a nice balance of homegrown people but also the financial wherewithal to bring in players from the free-agent market. The Giants have had tremendous stability with Brian Sabean as their general manager. He’s one of the best in the game. You think about both of their title runs, both times they made really critical trade deadline moves. Sometimes it’s been a big splash, sometimes it’s been what’s seemed like minor moves that ended up really contributing to world championships. 


KF: You mentioned making key trades at the right times for the Giants. Where is the biggest positional area of need for them right now and where can they look to fill these needs?

AB: It’s going to be fun to watch Brian Sabean, because it seems each year he has a really great handle on what this team needs. It’ll be interesting to see if he goes out to try and bolster the bullpen. And with Matt Cain down, this is a team that could use a starting pitcher. I think they’ll be more inclined to go the starting pitching route, or even relief pitching for that matter. I would think they’re one of the teams in the market to potentially upgrade some pitching. But you know Brian Sabean’s out there too trying to upgrade in other areas. It might not be a huge move, but something that maybe strengthens his bench, or gives him some depth. With some of the injuries he’s had at second base, and with Brandon Belt—it could be minor, or they could make a splash in the starting pitching rotation and get in on a guy like David Price should he become available. 


KF: The Giants have three important players injured right now: Angel Pagan, Matt Cain and Brandon Belt, out with a concussion. All three have had previous stints on the disabled list. Of the three, whose absence has made the biggest impact?

AB: That’s tough. Pagan seems to be a stabilizer to the team, for me. Defensively in center field, what he brings to the top of the order—so I would say him. But that’s hard to take away from anyone else.  Belt was off to a great start, and it looked like he was becoming the player everyone envisioned. And obviously missing Matt Cain is tough. I just think Angel Pagan brings something on both sides of the ball and adds stability at the top of the order and in center field. 


KF: What are the keys to this series for the Giants?

AB: They’re going to have to pitch well. The Dodgers have [Zack] Greinke, [Clayton] Kershaw and [Hyun-Jin] Ryu. Even if you have a successful series against them, you have to assume one, two or even three of these games to be low-scoring. The Giants are going to have to pitch well. It could come down to that old cliche, who gets the big hit at the right time.


KF: The Dodgers altered their pitching rotation order at the All-Star break to make sure the Giants face Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Bruce Bochy and the Giants did not. Neither Tim Hudson or Madison Bumgarner will pitch against the Dodgers. How will this affect the series?

AB: If it works out for the Dodgers, I think it could turn out to be a really good move for them. Right now, the Dodgers are looking up at San Francisco in the standings. But with Bochy, and Cain being down, and Yusmeiro [Petit] moving into the rotation, Bochy’s been more one-game-at-a-time in getting his rotation together. And I think especially with [Tim] Lincecum throwing the ball much better, Bochy is trying to keep things as normal for his rotation as possible.  

With the Dodgers, you know Kershaw and Greinke are the two aces. Not that the other three guys aren’t good pitchers, obviously they are, but with Kershaw and Greinke you absolutely have two bona fide aces.

With the Giants, you’ve got Bumgarner and Hudson, but you’ve also got Lincecum, whose track record is unbelievable. If he’s throwing at the top of his game, he fits right in with those guys. [Ryan] Vogelsong, we’ve seen what he can do over the years. So it seems like there’s a bigger spread between the Dodgers’ one and two, and their three and four, than the Giants. 


KF: Who do you think is going to win the National League West?

AB: As far as the division, I still lean Dodgers. Because of their pitching, and because I don’t think they’ve hit their stride at all. Offensively, i still feel like they’re a team more so than any other team in Major League Baseball, that has the capability of going 25-5 in a stretch. We really haven’t seen them click at all yet. In a lot of ways, they’re a team of misfit toys. I also think these next several days, potentially, will tell us a lot. Who makes the move that changes the makeup of their team, or could alter this division race? 


Aaron Boone will appear on Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.  The series finale is on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball on July 27.

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SF Giants: The Definitive Case for Trading Nobody at the Deadline

At this point in the season, the San Francisco Giants are rolling.

The biggest issue so far?  Hunter Pence having his scooter stolen

At 32-19, the G-Men have the best record in baseball.  Third baseman Pablo Sandoval is finally clicking at the plate, the bullpen is lights-out and the starting rotation is coming together. 

So why write a piece, with everything going so well, about who to get rid of?

Sandoval is the most talked-about candidate, but he remains the Giants’ best option at third base.  Despite his paltry .239 batting average, Sandoval is just breaking out of his early-season slump.  He was the bright spot in an 8-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday.

In that matchup, Sandoval drove in three runs and went yard.  On the season, he’s posted a solid .413 slugging percentage as well.

The Kung-Fu Panda also has five home runs and 12 RBI in his last eight games.  He’s a young player, and an early-season slump shouldn’t be held against him. 

The Giants have demonstrated so much patience with Sandoval in the past that it’s hard to believe they’d trade him away at this point. 

Additionally, the Giants are considering extending Sandoval’s contract.  Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes, “As I reported on Saturday’s pregame show on FOX Sports 1, the Giants aren’t ruling out keeping third baseman Pablo Sandoval, even though the team’s contract negotiations with him currently are on hold.”

Rosenthal wrote that piece on May 13, back when Sandoval was batting south of the .200 mark.  Now, he’s finally finding his footing at the plate.

On the pitching front, Ryan Vogelsong has rebounded since making a minor mechanical adjustment.  He’s lowered his ERA to 3.20. 

And the Giants have a bevy of young arms waiting in the wings: Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn and Edwin Escobar, to name a few.  General manager Brian Sabean signed Tim Hudson to bridge the gap between this season and the future in order to give those young arms more time to develop. 

In the outfield, the Giants can’t afford to trade any of their starters (Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence and Michael Morse).  Morse also steps in to play first base while Brandon Belt recovers from injury.  Tyler Colvin, Juan Perez and Gregor Blanco have made appearances off the bench, but they are downgrades from the starting three. 

The Giants have struggled to put together a solid everyday outfield.  Now, they finally have one.  Morse has an exceptional line of .280/.339/.542 with 12 doubles and 10 home runs.  He’s been the guy the Giants were hoping for.  Pence has an equally impressive .289/.363/.463 line, and Pagan is the go-to leadoff hitter.  Now that he’s healthy this season, Pagan is enjoying a line of .315/.359/.438.  He also has 10 stolen bases.

In the infield, Brandon Crawford is the guy at shortstop, and Brandon Hicks is emerging as a solid second-base option in place of the injured Marco Scutaro.  The Giants have also demonstrated patience with regard to Belt as their first baseman of the future. Before hitting the disabled list, the slugger was finally slugging. 

At the plate, Buster Posey is untradeable, and Hector Sanchez is a solid backup option.  After struggling last season, Sanchez is rediscovering his game, with 17 RBI and six doubles on the year already. 

To improve upon last season’s debacle, the Giants needed to add pieces—not subtract them.  And that’s what they did, signing Michael Morse and Tim Hudson in the offseason.  Both signings have proved successful so far.  

It’s foolish to say no trades will occur at all as the season progresses.  Depending on whether the offense continues to produce or whether the rotation needs another arm to push for a playoff run, time will tell.  

And if a trade does occur, Sabean will probably reach into his farm-system pocket.  He has a history of doing so. In 2011, he traded star pitching prospect Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran, who ended up being a one-season rental player. 

But right now, the Giants aren‘t broken.  They don’t need to be fixed. 

Maybe this is too much of a glass-half-full outlook, but why mess with a winning formula?  Why second- and third-guess a lineup that’s working?  The Giants are all about chemistry, and the chemistry’s clicking. 

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San Francisco Giants: Bold Predictions for the Remainder of the Season

The San Francisco Giants are riding high, with an impressive 24-14 record on the season and a 7-3 record against their NL West division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers

Here are some bold (or, perhaps, not so bold) predictions as the Giants move forward with the 2014 season. 

First, starting rotation newcomer Tim Hudson will continue his dominance the rest of the year.  The veteran workhorse shows no signs of slowing down. 

As far as the larger picture as it pertains to the pitching staff, the Giants will regain their reputation of stingy starting pitching and even stingier bullpen arms.  The Giants rank fourth in all of MLB in ERA (3.12), and more obscure but possibly more importantly, have only allowed 94 walks, second best in the majors. 

Their WHIP is a deadly 1.19.  

Parts of the starting rotation are struggling (Tim Lincecum’s 5.55 ERA, Matt Cain’s unfortunate injury), staff ace Madison Bumgarner is pitching like, well, an ace and Ryan Vogelsong appears to have fixed a mishap in his mechanics in his past few starts.  

These are all good signs, as the Giants offense continues to improve but remains inconsistent.  With first baseman Brandon Belt out with a broken thumb, key members of the Giants lineup need to stop slumping and start producing. 

Which brings us to our next slew of predictions…

First, Belt will have his first 20-plus home run season.  Considering he’s already hit nine and showed no signs of slowing down until his injury, that might not sound like such a bold prediction.  And, Belt came close in 2013, crushing 17.  But that’s not enough for a player with so much power-upside.  Mark it: this’ll be the season Belt surpasses the 20 home run mark, and quite possibly by a landslide. 

Other G-men, such as Hunter Pence, Michael Morse and Buster Posey also have the ability to surpass the 20+ home run mark this season.  

Another positive prediction: Posey will contend for a batting title and MVP award again. He’s already lifted his average to .306, and has an overall line of .306/.403/.492 this season.  

And, he’s added seven home runs.  The Giants probably won’t sustain the power tear they are currently on, but should rank in the top half of the league in home runs.   

Sadly, while the Giants have been playing exceptional baseball straight out of the gate this year, it can’t be all roses and sunshine in 2014.  

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval is looking to have another up-and-down season.  He’s slumping already—batting an almost inexcusable .189, but don’t expect a Sandoval trade, at least not this season.  The Giants simply don’t have enough infield depth and they have faith Sandoval can produce, at least more than any current alternatives.  

Let’s save any postseason talk until we get closer to the All-Star break, but given how the Giants are playing, they are definite contenders in the NL West.  However, the Colorado Rockies are surging and the Dodgers are obviously dangerous.  

Still, all signs are pointing to a rebound season for the San Francisco Giants. 




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San Francisco Giants: Players Turning Heads Early at Spring Training

As spring progresses and players settle into their roles on the baseball diamond, the San Francisco Giants have already learned a lot about their team’s potential.  The starting pitching, including newcomer Tim Hudson, has been solid, and several players are stepping up their game in hopes of either solidifying their starting spot or earning a roster spot altogether.

On the mound, right-hander Tim Lincecum is silencing critics who say his best years are behind him.  In just over nine innings pitched, Lincecum has posted a solid 1.93 ERA and a 1-0 record.  Right-hander Matt Cain, last season’s Opening Day starter, also appears to have returned to form, not allowing a run and surrendering only one hit in eight innings pitched.

After struggling in his first few starts, right-hander Ryan Vogelsong rebounded for an excellent start Thursday against the Texas Rangers, only allowing one run in five innings.

With the projected five-man rotation performing well, up-and-comers are also making a name for themselves.  In a matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers and ace Clayton Kershaw, 21-year-old Edwin Escobar pitched well against the perennial Cy Young candidate.

Catcher Buster Posey is having a banner spring training.  Currently, the slugger is batting .450 with a home run and six RBI.  Utility infielder Joaquin Arias has also enjoyed success at the plate, cementing his role as the go-to infielder off the bench.  Arias is batting .391 in nine games thus far.

In the outfield, new addition Mike Morse has displayed his power already, though it has not been reflected in his numbers.  Morse was robbed of not one, but two home runs in a February game against the Oakland Athletics by outfielder Josh Reddick.

Shortstop Ehire Adrianza is turning heads as well.  He has already smashed two home runs, a double and a triple, making a case for himself as a second utility infielder for the Giants.

However, he has competition from shortstop Brandon Hicks, who is on a hot streak at the plate.  In a contest against the Dodgers, Hicks slammed a two-run home run off Clayton Kershaw.  After a slow start, Hicks has now recorded five doubles along with a home run to complement a .318 average.

As the spring months chug along, the Giants will keep their eyes on their higher performers.  There’s more action to come in the upcoming weeks before Opening Day.

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SF Giants: 5 Potential Breakout Candidates to Watch in Spring Training

Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training on Valentine’s Day, and the rest of the squad joined their teammates on the diamond February 18.  

New Giants, like pitcher Tim Hudson and left fielder Michael Morse, are looking to prove themselves to their new teammates, but their spots on the roster are secure.  

Returning players such as pitcher Tim Lincecum and third baseman Pablo Sandoval will use their spring to re-establish their former MLB dominance.  

Young stars Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner will reacquaint themselves with veteran mainstays Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro.

For a few players, spring training is do-or-die.  For them, it’s either break out from the pack or miss a chance to play on an MLB roster.  

Here are five players who could become those breakout candidates. 

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San Francisco Giants: Grading Offseason Moves so Far

One year ago today, the San Francisco Giants used their offseason to re-sign existing players while making few moves to sign any new faces. 

This year, the Giants have been far less dormant—and thank goodness.  General manager Brian Sabean went out and found an everyday left fielder in Michael Morse, added a solid veteran arm to the rotation with Tim Hudson and are on the hunt for another reliever for some bullpen support.

Both the Morse and Hudson deals are relatively short-term: Hudson is inked for two years (earning $23 million through 2015), while Morse signed a one-year, $6 million contract

Neither appears to be a long-term answer for the Giants.  Hudson is 38 years old, and Morse will probably explore free agency next year depending on his 2014 season.  However, the Giants have a bevy of possible aces developing in the farm system, and Hudson is the perfect guy to bridge the gap in the meantime.  

As far as Morse is concerned, Sabean rarely invests long-term, lucrative deals with bog-name superstars, which is what he would have needed to do for a superstar-type left fielder this offseason. Players such as Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury simply were not options for the conservative, yet creative Giants’ GM. 

The Giants still need to add another reliever to the bullpen, especially after losing left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp to the Chicago White Sox after placing him on waivers to clear a roster spot for Morse.  

Last season, the San Francisco bullpen dealt with middling performances and injury-plagued players. Key arms Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla both spent stretches of time on the DL, and Affeldt in particular struggled throughout the season, going 1-5 with a 3.74 ERA in only 33.2 innings pitched on the year. 

Grant Balfour has reportedly spoken with the Giants, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Giants have a closer in right-hander Sergio Romo, but they still need bullpen support.  Sabean needs to find a proven arm with a price tag he feels comfortable with to round out the Giants’ offseason. 

Overall, Sabean has put the Giants in a more favorable position going into 2014.  The starting rotation is improved, and an everyday left fielder has been secured.  However, the bullpen needs to be bolstered and because of the short-term nature of the Morse and Hudson deals, the larger future of the Giants is still uncertain. 

Grade: B+

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5 Things We Want to See from San Francisco Giants in 2014

The San Francisco Giants have a lot to improve upon after a disappointing 2013 season.  After winning a decisive World Series victory over the Detroit Tigers in 2012, the Giants failed to make the playoffs the very next year.

Starting pitching disappointed, bats sputtered and injuries plagued key members of the San Francisco squad.   

However, despite a 76-86 record and a third-place finish in the NL West, expectations remain high for the Giants.  Here are five things the Giants must improve upon in order to return to postseason play.

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San Francisco Giants: Potential Under-the-Radar Free-Agent Targets

Hunter Pence is locked in.  Tim Lincecum will wear orange and black for the next two seasons.  

The San Francisco Giants have successfully inked one corner outfielder and have retained another starting pitcher.  However, there are still holes to fill in both areas: The team still needs a left fielder and another starting pitcher in order to compete for a playoff spot in 2014. 

General manager Brian Sabean is known for his under-the-radar signings.  It’s rare for the thrifty and fiercely loyal GM to go shopping for glitzy free agents in the offseason.  Despite the Giants being one of the richest franchises in baseball, Sabean seldom throws his hat into the ring for these big-name signings.   

And why not maintain this strategy?  Sabean experienced more success signing second baseman Marco Scutaro in 2012 than he did penning pitcher Barry Zito to an exorbitant contract in 2007.

So which under-the-radar players could provide the necessary impact in areas of need for the San Francisco Giants in 2014? 

One such player is catcher Brian McCann.  Jon Heyman via

He has a career .823 OPS, so if the Giants become serious, they could have by some measures the two best hitting catchers in baseball. To this point, though, it remains curious where enough playing time could possibly come from since they have Brandon Belt at first base.

However, the Giants could move Belt to left field, helping to fill that hole in the corner outfield position, and give Buster Posey increased playing time at first base.  Both are moves that, if the Giants are willing to make them, could give them a left-handed power hitter with McCann. 

On the pitching front, the Giants could still use another starting pitcher to bolster their rotation.  One of those options: Chad Gaudin, who stepped in for the Giants in 2013 and served his role well. 

Such a move would be straight out of the Sabean playbook.  Sabean has a pattern of loyalty to former contributors, such as Lincecum, Scutaro and center fielder Angel Pagan.  Gaudin deserves consideration: In 2013, he posted a 3.06 ERA and proved flexible, pitching both out of the bullpen and as a starter over the course of the season. 

Re-signing Gaudin would be anything but flashy.  In fact, it would be the definition of under the radar. 

There are more high-profile options and moves Sabean could and possibly should make.  Lincecum’s two-year contract with the Giants made the price skyrocket on pitchers such as Ubaldo Jimenez of the Cleveland Indians.  

Jordan Bastian via

Once Jimenez voids his option for 2014 (valued at $8 million), as expected, the Indians will almost certainly give him a one-year, $14.1-million qualifying offer for next season. Cleveland has interest in bringing the starter back on that kind of contract, but Lincecum’s deal, which includes $17 million in 2014, makes it clear that a better multi-year pact will likely be offered elsewhere.

Because the Giants signed Lincecum to such a generous contract, they have (unintentionally or not) lured pitchers such as Jimenez closer to the free-agent market. 

Last year, Sabean rested on his laurels and made a number of under-the-radar moves that simply didn’t pan out.  The Giants need to make a splash this offseason, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they need to make headlines with big moves for big-name players.  Sabean needs to stay savvy and continue on the path that brought the organization two World Series titles in three years.  


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SF Giants: Moves They Could or Should Have Made at the Deadline

Woulda, coulda, shoulda

The San Francisco Giants‘ decision to undergo a quiet MLB trade deadline seems to have sealed the team’s fate this season.  General Manager Brain Sabean opted to keep the team in limbo as opposed to orchestrate a fire sale or shop for a high-priced “savior of the season.”

Sabean could have gone after pitchers Matt Garza, Budd Norris and Jake Peavy more aggressively.  On the flip side of the coin, Sabean also could have shopped outfielder Hunter Pence and pitcher Tim Lincecum around the league to interested buyers. 

But he didn’t. 

The Giants’ pitching staff remains intact and unchanged, and Lincecum and Pence have kept their orange-and-black uniforms. 

Sabean‘s inaction can be interpreted as just that: inaction.  However, Sabean‘s apparent lack of productivity this trade deadline actually illustrates the front-office man’s patience going into 2014. 

The pitching staff has been a disaster all season.  Save for left-hander Madison Bumgarner, every starter has struggled for a large part of the year.  This once top-tier rotation is now in a state of transition and needs more than a Bud Norris-mid-level-type to breathe life into it again. 

Luckily, the Giants have several aces waiting in the wings in their farm system.  Pitcher Kyle Crick has ellicited comparisons to Matt Cain and Bumgarner.  Clayton Blackburn has impressed in Single-A, and a majority of the Giants’ top prospects are pitchers.

Crick, Blackburn, Chris Stratton, Heath Hembree, Michael Kickham and Martin Agosta all sit on the list of top-10 Giants prospects, according to

There were rumblings throughout the weeks leading up to the trade deadline pertaining to Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence.  Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas reported the Texas Rangers were interested in procuring a right-handed bat, and expressed interest in Pence.

Lincecum, meanwhile, has been the subject of talks that he might eventually be converted into a closer.  Still, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports writes, this conversion was ultimately unlikely:

However, there is really very little precedent for a big-name starting pitcher being acquired and immediately transformed into a closer. Lincecum’s pitching coach, Dave Righetti, along with cross-Bay Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, John Smoltz and a few other big-time pitchers are major stars who eventually made the switch from starter to reliever. However, those changes didn’t come as part of a mid-season trade.

The Giants were wise to keep these two pillars in San Francisco.  To remove such veteran leadership and positive clubhouse presences in both Lincecum and Pence would have been demoralizing to a franchise that not so long ago won a World Series trophy. 

Sometimes, the conservative approach is the right approach.  Sabean and the organization made it clear their intentions are to win with the current roster with a hope that minor league talent will develop come the 2014 season. 

For now, Giants fans will just have to ride out the season.


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Shane Victorino: Impact He Would Have on 2013 San Francisco Giants

Whether or not the San Francisco Giants are able to re-sign center fielder Angel Pagan, the team is lacking in outfield depth.  With a free-agent market full of big-name outfielders (Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn), the Giants have several options.  

The Los Angeles DodgersShane Victorino is the best fit for San Francisco.  

The Giants were successful in 2012 for a variety of reasons, two of which included their ability to manufacture runs and their unique team chemistry.  Victorino would not only contribute to, but would also ultimately strengthen, this style of play.  

These are only a few of the reasons the Giants should take a good look at the Flyin’ Hawaiian.

San Francisco hitters may not be the most patient at the plate, but they do make a lot of contact. Second baseman Marco Scutaro led all of MLB with a 92.5 percent contact rate, and fellow G-men in the lineup followed closely.  

Shane Victorino possesses an impressive contact rate of his own.  He put the bat on the ball 86.8 percent of the time in 2012.  He is not afraid to swing and put the ball in play, which is an attribute complemented by the rest of the Giants’ lineup.  

In addition, Victorino only struck out 12 percent of the time and maintained a nine percent walk rate. While he doesn’t leave the bat on his shoulders often, he is no free swinger.

If the Phillies successfully sign Angel Pagan to a four-year deal, an offer reported by Ken Rosenthal via Fox Sports, Victorino would make a fine replacement in the leadoff spot.  After all, the Flyin’ Hawaiian didn’t get his nickname for nothing. 

Last season, Victorino swiped 39 bases for Philadelphia and Los Angeles while only getting caught six times.  He makes things happen on the base paths.  The Giants need a guy who can not only get on base, but who can put himself into scoring position and give Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey more RBI opportunities.  This is a lineup that doesn’t hit a lot of long balls, but that can hit safely consistently.  More baserunners means more value to every line-drive single.  

Put Pagan back into the equation, and Victorino would be equally effective batting fifth or sixth in the order.  He muscled 29 doubles last season, equal to his career average.

Along with their strategy of manufacturing runs, the Giants thrive on their ability and willingness to play as a team.  Victorino has an excellent clubhouse reputation and has already played with right fielder Hunter Pence while the pair covered the outfield grass in Philadelphia together.  He is a team guy with the right intangibles to fit right in in San Francisco. 

Not to mention, Victorino’s defense has been exceptional enough to earn three Gold Gloves.  

As an added bonus, Victorino played for the Dodgers last season with the knowledge of his role as a “rent-a-player.”  His time with Los Angeles was basically his opportunity to showcase his talents to other teams as his free agency approached.  While he ultimately underperformed, batting only .245, imagine the poetic justice of Victorino punishing the Dodgers for providing him with a clearly temporary home?  

Looking at Victorino as a serious option for the Giants in 2013 is not to give up on Angel Pagan.  But Victorino could potentially pick up the slack.  Ideally, Victorino would be a welcome reinforcement in a Pence-Pagan San Francisco outfield.  Either way, the switch-hitting center fielder should be under strong consideration among the powers-that-be in the Giants’ front office.  

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