Losses: SS Edgar Renteria, IF Juan Uribe, UT Eugenio Velez, OF Jose Guillen
Additions: SS Miguel Tejada
Players Resigned: OF Pat Burrell, 1B/OF Aubrey Huff, P Guillermo Mota
Projected Lineup, Rotation, and Closer
C Buster Posey
1B Brandon Belt
2B Freddy Sanchez
SS Miguel Tejada
3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Aubrey Huff
CF Andres Torres
RF Cody Ross
SP1 Tim Lincecum
SP2 Matt Cain
SP3 Jonathan Sanchez
SP4 Barry Zito
SP5 Madison Bumgarner
CL Brian Wilson
I’m just going to say this right off the bat: the Giants are not going to repeat this year. They might not even make the playoffs. And the reason is defense.
At first blush, it seems like the Giants did not lose all that much this offseason. Edgar Renteria came up big in the postseason, but he had already worn out his welcome long before that with his anemic bat and lackluster defense. Juan Uribe was also a huge postseason hero, but he’s still viewed as a journeyman role player. Meanwhile, Miguel Tejada is a big-name former superstar who most people feel still have something left.
The problem is, Uribe and Renteria were good defenders, Renteria’s errors aside. That’s a big loss, especially when you look at who the Giants are replacing them with. At this point in his career, Miguel Tejada has absolutely no business whatsoever playing shortstop. He still looks okay because he makes the routine plays, but his range has severely atrophied. And with the Big Panda Pablo Sandoval representing a major defensive liability at third base, the entire left side of the infield is a gaping hole.
And this is before we even get to the outfield. Oh man. Cody Ross and Andres Torres are top-flight defenders, but that still leaves Aubrey Huff or Pat Burrell in left. Yikes. And when the Giants get tempted to get both Huff and Burrell into the same lineup, as they have already done several times this season, some very very ugly things are going to happen. The Giants would be well-advised to only put Burrell and Huff into the same lineup if they sit rookie Brandon Belt and put Huff at first (where Huff is still no great shakes, but not the disaster he is in the outfield).
Unless the Giants do some sort of serious makeover to their team defense in mid-season, it’s going to be a long, long summer for the Giants pitching staff. Bad defense has a way of compounding beyond the initial runs given up, because pitchers have to work harder, throw more pitches, leave the game earlier, and the bullpen gets taxed. Signing Miguel Tejada as the team’s only viable option at shortstop was one of the stupider moves any team made this offseason, and even with a pitching staff that remains one of the game’s best, it’s very hard for me to imagine a team with this sort of defensive alignment making much noise in September, let alone October.
Offseason Grade: F