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The Giants are going to have some problems in 2011

Jan 11, 2011, 3:34 PM EDT


There will be a metric butt-ton of “10 reasons the Giants won’t repeat” or “10 reasons the Giants will repeat” articles written in the coming weeks.  Hint: avoid the ones with slide shows. They’re awful.

Actually, you can probably avoid all of them except (a) the one I inevitably do when I’m hurting for content in a week or two; and (b) the one that Dan Szymborski did over at ESPN today.  Bonus: it’s only four reasons long. And apologies, but it’s Insider-only content.  I’ll give you the executive summary, though: the rotation was unusually healthy last year, Posey, Huff, Burrell and Torres are likely to regress, and there isn’t a lot of room on the roster to work in the couple of young guys on the horizon like Brandon Belt.  I think the first reason Dan cites is the best, however:

While the team didn’t win the World Series, the 1993 Phillies shared a lot of similarities with last year’s Giants; both teams played on the perception that they were made up of a bunch of unkempt castoffs. The Phillies kept the roster intact and fell apart the next season, the premature end of the season due to the strike almost a mercy to the 54-61, fourth-place team.

The Giants have basically stood pat. Their most notable move that didn’t involve simply retaining a player was letting Juan Uribe go and signing Miguel Tejada instead.  I think that’s a step down.
Everything broke right for San Francisco last year and they are either intentionally or effectively banking on it happening again.  That tends not to work out very well very often, and I don’t think it will work out well for the Giants in 2011.

  1. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    I’ve got to agree. Unless the Panda has a big-time bounce back season, this team still lacks a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat to pair with Posey all season long.

    It’s hard to get 100% behind a team that’s relying on Aubrey Huff to be a big-time offensive force. Aside from a few really solid years, he’s never been the type of guy to shoulder the load and carry a team.

    I figure the Rockies are the team to beat in the West this year with the Dodgers and Giants lurking behind ’em.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      Uh-oh…Jeremiah said something about Panda bouncing….

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    #1 reason Giants won’t repeat: That deal Cody Ross made with the Devil was only for 2010.

    • eunewsu - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:14 PM

      The Giants got hot at the right time last year. They hit .230 in September and looked just as bad in October up until the W.S.

  3. Utley's Hair - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Is there an actual poundage equivalent to a “metric butt-ton”?

    • BC - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM

      Pablo Sandoval’s current weight.

  4. icanspeel - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    People also seem to forget that the Giants didn’t clinch the playoffs until the last game of the season. They were 1 game away of not even making the post season.

  5. natedawg321 - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    Number 1 reason that Giants won’t repeat is the exact same reason that every WS winner won’t repeat: There’s 30 teams in the league and the odds will always be against any team repeating.

  6. thelucasjj - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    I liked the chances of the Giants last year to be competitive and have a shot for the playoffs, but they weren’t WS contenders. It took the Padres having a huge collapse and a historic month of pitching by the starters down the stretch just to make the playoffs.

    If Pablo can bounce back, it will be a lot like an aquisition, since he was almost nonexistent last year, but their bats mainly got older and you can expect a regression to the mean for many of them.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      pablo bounce? he can, oh yes, he can.

  7. jofrho - Jan 11, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    Anybody who claims Buster Posey is likely to regress in 2011 needs open a dictionary and brush up on the definition of the word “regress”.

  8. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 11, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Posey regress? I doubt it. Otherwise I agree.

  9. kdizzle02 - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Craig Calcaterra you are an idiot. I dare you to respond to this comment.

    Your quote: “I think the first reason Dan cites is the best…………the rotation was unusually healthy last year”

    How in the world is it unusual that this rotation was healthy???? When has anyone in the starting 5 every been injured???? Zito hasn’t missed a start since high school. I can’t even remember Cain missing a start in 5 years. I think Timmy missed 1 start 2 seasons ago. I can’t even remember J. Sanchez being on the DL or injured and Bumgarner has never been hurt either. Seems like this rotation was USUALLY healthy last year. Does it really shock you that a rotation where 4 guys are in their mid 20’s or younger is healthy???

    If that is the case and that was your main reason for agreeing with that ESPN guy then where does that leave your prediction about the Giants in 2011? Plus you make it sound like having Brandon Belt as an option is a bad thing? Any in what world do you live in that Buster Posey regresses?

    (This is also without mentioning that the Giants will have Posey, Bummgarner, Ross, Burrell, F. Sanchez all on the team on opening day which is something that wasn’t true last year)

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:35 PM

      The “first reason” Dan cited was not the rotation being healthy, That was the first thing I listed, but my reference to Dan’s first thing was that the Giants did nothing to improve. If you had read Dan’s article — or if you understood the basic mechanics of a blockquote following a colon following an assertion you would have as well.

      That aside: as a whole pitching staffs don’t tend to stay healthy year-in, year-out. Pitching injuries are a fact of baseball. That the Giants have not experienced any is unusual as compared to other baseball teams. I’m happy for them, and I’m happy for you if you’d bet that they’ll continue to defy the odds in such a manner, but I wouldn’t count on it based on sheer probabilities.

      Brandon Belt as an option is a good thing. But if the Giants play Huff and Burrell like they plan on it, Belt won’t get any action. And it’s likely that both Huff and Burrell will have worse seasons than they did in 2010, even if they aren’t bad enough to be removed from the lineup.

      The Giants had everything go right for them in 2010 and made the playoffs on the last day of the season. If even one of those things go wrong in 2011, they stay home in October.

      But you tell me: what aspect of this team can reasonably be expected to improve in 2011?

      • kdizzle02 - Jan 11, 2011 at 11:08 PM

        Sorry, I wasn’t an English major. As for the healthy pitching, you’re predicting something happening that has no history of happening with these 5 guys. That is a big assumption to make regardless of what happens to your average pitcher. If you had made that same prediction 3 years ago you would have been wrong the last 3 years.

        As for Belt, Bochy has shown he is willing to start who ever is playing good, doesn’t matter who you are. That’s why Rowand and his huge contract are on the bench, that’s why Guillen and Zito were left off the playoff roster. If Belt is producing and Huff or Burrell aren’t you will see Belt get the start.

        You skipped over Posey. What in his game do you see that makes you automatically assume he will regress? And don’t tell me it’s because history shows the regression line on a XY axis declines for all 2nd year catches that come from a FL college.

        Tejada isn’t that big of a drop from Uribe. Tejada had a way better 2nd half of the season than Uribe. Uribe put up all this #’s in the 1st half then fell off fast and hard. Tejada was the only player producing every night on the Padres.

        How have they improved? It’s simple. Burrell, Posey, Ross, Bummgarner, Freddie Sanchez, DeRosa, A skinnier Sandoval, Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez all on the Giants for 162 games. How many more wins do you think that equals compared to not having those guys for a full season like last year? Add in the possibility of Brandon Belt being a stud. That sounds like a team from Day 1 that has improved from last year. Don’t forget they all now have the experience of the playoffs and winning a world series. Once we had that roster at the end of last year that team was unstoppable down the stretch and in the playoffs.

        And who else in the NL improved SOOOO much that they are a major threat? Everyone in the NL West got worse or stayed the same. The Phillies added Cliff Lee but lost Worth. Lee had a bad 2nd half of last season, that pitching staff and team as a whole are ageing and not ageing well. The real problem was their offense and they lost a big part of it and didn’t replace it. Not to mention the Giants ROCKED the Phillies big 4 in the playoffs and the regular season last year. So who in the NL improved so much that they are going to stop the Giants next year?

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 12, 2011 at 1:14 AM

        Hey, Craig, ya really gotta stop with Phightins Phans being the most sensitive around. Not even you can keep up that charade after this.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 12, 2011 at 12:27 AM

      Whoa!!!! Settle down there, Sparky!! You make it sound like Craig just kicked your puppy and called your mother something incredible insulting or denigrating. It’s about a PRO BASEBALL TEAM, for God’s sake.

      As for the Phightins, Cliffy was pitching with a bad back for his fourth team in just over a year, with a home field on which he has historically struggled. Yes, the Phils did lose JDub, but they are also coming off a season during which they had a historic offensive slump from (May until about July) and injuries to key players out the wazoo—and yet still managed to post the best record in the majors.

      And what exactly is your definition of “rocked?” The only game in the NLCS that wasn’t “close” was a 3-0 game in which the Dwarves got four hits. And the regular season? Also, it was hardly a “rocking,” since it was a 3-3 split in which San Fran was outscored 27-25.

      As for your lineup, Cody Ross had—thanks Fiorentino—a “deal with the Devil” time on the Left Coast last season. Burrell? If history dictates, he’s due for a letdown season. And the rotation is—whether you like it or not—due for one or two DL stints, based on odds and history, much the way Craig was saying.

      • kdizzle02 - Jan 12, 2011 at 12:59 AM

        So 1 year older and Cliff Lee’s back it getting healthier?

        Philies are coming off a historic offensive slump because the team is ageing and that is not going to change. Werth not being there is only going to make it worse.

        4-2 when Phillies had home field advantage in series the Giants never trailed in, sorry if rocked was the wrong word.

        Look at the Giants #’s against the big 4 last reg and post season….the Phillies big 4 ERA was 4.60.

        Cody Ross and Burrell could go back to their career averages next year and that would still be an improvement over what we started last season with. Plus this year the Giants will have DeRoda and Belt as options to replace them.

        If the Giants rotation is going to have health problems for the 1st time ever then yes, that will be a problem. The staff is much younger than the Phillies and the Phillies pitchers have more of a track record of injuries……so I would think the health problem would be a bigger concern for them.

        I’m not trying to ride Craig’s a@@, I’m just sick of the national sports media spending all it’s time talking about how great the Phillies, Yankees and Red Sox are and that everyone else sucks. Only 1 team won the World Series last year, but 1 injury from a starting pitcher and “they stay home in October”.

  10. alexizzle88 - Jan 12, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    All that ESPN coverage is is East Coast Bias. It’s as biased as Mitch Williams on MLB Network. “Hey Mitch who do you see with the best pitching? HItting? World Series predictions?” RE: “Lets take the Phillies”. He’d rather take a philly cheesesteak up his bunghole b4 trying to have a real answer. ANYways, to think the Giants will regress is ridiculous, at least to the extent this article is making it appear. I mean c’mon. First off, no more Wellemeyer for half a season. Now we have Bumgarner in place of him who already has proven himself. To say regress implies these players have been around for so long. Uh hello? Buster Posey hasn’t even had ONE full season yet thank you very much, as well as Bumgarner. “Due for an injury”? Baseball, let alone sports can never be calculated. Some players are more resilient than others. Ppl denied Lincecum’s size with his consistent performance and look what happened. He matured and clinched us the World Series. The pitching staff are all under 27 years old (sorry Zito). If you were talking about the Phils’ rotation then yes. Oswalt, Halladay and Lee are all over 32.

    Moving on to bullpen. Uh hello? Ramon ramirez, javy lopez, dan runzler, romo, wilson+his beard? Then hitting. Now with HITTING, i can see your point. Huff, Burrell, Tejada are getting older. But you look at what winning does to a player’s performance. Look at tejada when we played for the Padres after leaving Baltimore. He was ECSTATIC. He rose to the occasion with key hits. Uribe was great, but hits will also translate to more wins and better performances. Torres played nearly his first season, why wouldn’t he be able to do it again WITH a full season now.

    The big hole in this article and ESPN’s coverage is that alot of this team wasn’t even assembled together till August. Look how that chemistry built upon the already great chemistry in the clubhouse. Imagine a FULL season. Full year of Posey, F. Sanchez, Torres, Burrell, Ross, skinnier Pablo, Lopez, Bumgarner. That doesn’t look like any regression to me.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 12, 2011 at 1:09 AM

      Go back and read the post. He was comparing the Dwarves to the ’93 Phightins—ya know, Schilling, Greene, Jackson, Mulholland, etc. And ESPN? No East Coast bias. It’s a NY bias, and since the Phils are Mutts NL East rivals….

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