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The Giants are basically set for the next two years at least in the starting rotation, with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez all under team control til at least 2011 at cost-controlled prices. And with the vaguely serviceable Barry Zito signed til forever and closer Brian Wilson still with 4 years left of arbitration, on the pitching side of things GM Brian Sabian’s job consists of little more than plugging in a 5th starter and filling in a few gaps in the back end of the bullpen from year to year.

The offense, however, is another story.

Even with the emergince of Pablo Sandoval as a superstar-type bat, the Giants still put up the following team numbers:

OBP – .309 (last in the majors)
BB% – 6.7 (last in the majors)
wOBA – .305 (last in the majors)

Yes, that is correct. Despite seeing their third baseman post a slash line of .330/.387/.556, the Giants still had the worst offense in the game – that’s just how bad everyone else on the team was.

Of course, the Giants kind of shot themselves in the foot by benching the player with their second best OBP, left-fielder Fred Lewis, for much of the season behind guys like Nate Schierholtz (a putrid .302 OBP), but Lewis’s OBP that was good enough for second best on the team was still only .348, which tells you something about the kind of “talent” Sabean has assembled in the lineup behind Sandoval.

pablo-sandoval

What they really need is to clone Big Panda.

They Giants are not entirely without hope of improvement. The recently resigned Freddy Sanchez improves the offense at second base a bit, and a full season of highly touted catching prospect Buster Posey might provide a boost, but then again that would require actually playing Posey, rather than letting him rot on the bench behind punchless Eli Whiteside the way Bruch Bochy did all last September.

But the problem is that the Giants already have subpar offensive contributors ensconced at too many positions, with Garko at first, Renteria at short, and Rowand in center. Assuming the Giants are committed to giving Posey some sort of shot and letting either Lewis or Schierholtz play one of the outfield corners, their only real chance to upgrade offensively is at the other outfield corner.

But given how good the Giants pitching is, they have a real shot to go deep into the playoffs if they can add only a modicum of offense, and with huge numbers coming off the books this offseason, they should go for it now, while they have pitching a low prices, by signing a star, run-producing outfielder.

Knowing when your team is on the verge of playoff contention and thus that you should spend big to try to get a few extra wins is a key skill in baseball, and for the Giants the time is now. After all, they won 88 games last year despite having the worst offense around.

In sum, what the Giants need is to start Lewis instead of Schierholtz in right field, play Buster Posey full-time, maybe sign Brad Penny if he’s cheap, and do whatever it takes to sign either Jason Bay or Matt Holliday.

What They Need Index

17 Responses to “What They Need – San Francisco Giants: Some sort of vague semblance of an offense”

  1. after reading this article, when i got to the end i cant believe it said we need to start fred lewis over nate schierholtz. fred lewis is a terrible defender in left how can he be expected to be any better in a harder right field. even though nate schierholtz hasnt proven much as a hitter. i think if he gets everyday playing tme he will. fred lewis as we know had that opportunity and he didn’t do anything. but i agree with signing brad penny, even if it isn’t cheap. with that rotation of lincecum, zito, cain, sanchez, and penny are chances of making the playoffs are very good. then if we sign nick johnson and jermaine dye or vladimir we become the favorite to win the division and even the national league champonship.

  2. Although numbers are coming off the books you failed to mention the massive raise Lincecum is due in arbitration as well as moderate raises for Brian Wilson and Jonathan Sanchez. The Giants will not be able to afford Holliday or Bay.

  3. johnny cash says:

    Whoever wrote this article has no idea what they are talking about. As soon as i read they should start Fred Lewis over Nate Schierholtz i stopped reading the article. Clueless writer who knows nothing about the Giants.

  4. Ryan Garko “ensconsed” at first base???…ummm, I don’t think so…

  5. Nate Schierholtz minor league career numbers:
    .307/.354/.516

    With excellent defense.
    I am fully in favor of startinghim over Lewis, who is unlikely to improve at his age.

    Left field, start Bowker.
    Do NOT pay big money for a star left fielder and block this guy – who had an incredible AAA season last year.

    First Base, get Nick Johnson.

    Catcher, play the rookie.

    As you said, 2nd is improved.
    Both corner OF numbers should improve.
    And Rowand is due for a good year (every 3rd year).

    And maybe Renteria has one more good season in him.

  6. Maxie Oakland says:

    I could not agree with you more! I wish you rean the club. Backload a contract to Bay for bigger money when Rowand is off the books. And also bring in a vet 1B on a year like Delgado. Resign Penny for sure!

  7. Obviously the writer of this article DOESN’T watch the Giants… Fred Lewis has been an enormous waste of athletic talent (had the tools, but lost the instructions…). He has already peaked in his career (if that is possible for such a young player…) and offers the GIants no real benefit or production.

    I was at the game where he got HIT IN THE CHEST by a routine fly ball, and was amazed at how someone at this level in the game could let that happen. Also, he strikes out every three at bats.

  8. I have never seen a fanbase turn on someone like they turned on Fred Lewis this year. Fred is simply not as bad as he is made out to be as a defender. He made some glaring misplays, but he also has plus range and gets to a lot of balls other left fielders can’t. He strikes out a lot, but he walks a lot, too. When your team is last in the league in OBP, benching your second best hitter (by OBP) is foolish. I can’t beleive they played Velez over Lewis last year, that was the most rediculous decision of all time.

  9. Fred Lewis had his chance and it did not work out. He will be a good 4th outfielder. I would like to see Nick Johnson also, with him at 1b, Sanchez 2b, 3b Sandoval and ok if we have to Renteria at SS, the OBP will be much improved. Even if the Giants add a Cameron to the OF it would help. Nate Schierholtz deserves a shot plus he is solid defensively. Let Posey play or sign Ivan Rodriguez for a one year deal, I do not think anyone will sign him for more.

  10. Did you watch any giants games this year at all, or just look at stats online. The thought of playing Lewis at all is idiotic at best. Lewis cost the Giants more games with his glove this year than probally any other outfielder in the game. Where are those numbers. Watch baseball and look at all the stats before blogging about something you know nothing about!!!

  11. Good article, Nick. Unfortunately, it looks like you don’t have a very knowledgeable readerbase. Suggesting Schierholtz play over Lewis is a joke – it’s the kind of terrible decision making and understanding of player valuation too rampant throughout the Giants organization. Lewis is not a horrible fielder – he looks bad to the eye, but with his speed (most corner OF’s are slow, poor defenders), he actually is an above average fielder despite all his mishaps. He’s also the 2nd best hitter on the team. Overall he’s a pretty average starter, which is more than most of the Giants (and especially someone like Schierholtz) can say.

    Also, the good news is after the line Bengie Molina put up last year, Posey almost has to give us an improvement, simply because he pretty much can’t do any worse.

    I’ll just leave by saying if the ownership wants to win, they’d spend the money on Holliday (screw Bay, Holliday or bust!). We’re one of the biggest market teams, we have impressive revenues, we should be spending a lot more than $90M, and Holliday is a very good player who fills a need in a time frame that makes sense…we should absolutely be spending that money. Unfortunately, winning is not ownerships #1 priority, leaving Sabean to make excuses why Bowtie & Co. don’t want to spend the money it takes to win.

  12. Lewis has no place on the Giants 2010 roster. He strikes out to often- usually looking. He is awful in the outfield. Schierholtz needs regular playing time. John Bowker is a season away from hitting 10 homers in a half season at AT&T. I’d like to see a bat with the chance to hit with some pop in the lineup. Garko is gone this offseason with ishikawas defense landing him a spot at first. A trade for uggla and playing him or sanchez at third would bring dome more pop to the lineup. Another option is to bring back uribe for a year. Lewis cost the giants a half dozen games defensively- the difference from making the playoffs.

    Lincecum will not be cost effective and it needs to be understood his next 4 years will cost the giants 60 million dollars. He must be locked up. That erodes most of the cap space the giants have.

    Bringing in uggla and keeping uribe to play short allows the giants to use rentaria as a back up to finish out his awful contract. The giants won’t land a top flight hitter without spending 40% more than other teams.

  13. Greg, I just laid out the reasons why Lewis is actually an above average OF. I’m sorry, but every time you notice Lewis make a costly mistake, you don’t notice a ball he easily gets to that looks like a routine play that other OF’ers would not get to. It happens much more often than his mistakes. That is why Lewis is above average. Also, while power is good, not making outs is even better. It doesn’t matter that Lewis strikes out, because he gets on base anyways. You’re complaining about K’s and advocating Bowker and Schierholtz? Really? They strike out and don’t get on base.

    Oh…I just read farther down, and realized Greg thinks baseball has a salary cap. Sorry Nick, as I pointed out…your readers aren’t very knowledgeable…

  14. I understand baseball doesn’t have a true salary cap but teams do have self imposed limits for spending based on internal financial constraints, goals or whatever you want to call it. Striking out doesn’t move runners. A ground ball to second with a runner in scoring position hurts one’s OBP but helps the team move runners. Making routine plays at the major league level is a must. Spectacular plays are great, but not at the cost of being a sure handed fielder.

    Nate and buster posey both seemed to be in Bochy’s doghouse last year. Hard to stay consistent without playing regularly. Lewis had that chance and failed.

    To expect payroll to jump 30 million in an offseason is a pipe dream, not reality.

    IMO the lineup I propose is within the realm of pheasibility….. I’m hoping for a 5-7 win improvement this coming year. More than that is wishful thinking

  15. Not sure where all this Fred Lewis hatred is coming from. I’ve actually seen him play defense quite a bit, and while he’s made some miscues, he’s made some spectacular plays as well.

    I’m actually not some kind of huge Fred Lewis fan, and on another team he probably shouldn’t be a starter, but given the team the Giants had last season, if your choice is between starting Lewis or starting Schierholtz, the choice to start Lewis is obvious.

  16. wow. i don’t think this guy watched the giants this year. he’s just looking at the end of season stats. freddy lewis is a good story and a good guy, but he’s not a baseball player.

    nate schierholtz had 10 (ten!) right field assists in 61 games started there last year. 10! that’s one every six games he guns down a runner. randy winn, rowand, velez and fred lewis in a combined 340 games started had 14 outfield assists all year! schierholtz’s pace would have been 34. the guy’s got the best arm on the team and great range and amazing speed and i’m apparently the president of his fan club.

    youre crazy guy.

  17. i mean the pace would have been 54 for nate. sorry, i’m a tard and hungover.

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