There are 44 days until Spring Training commences. I guarantee over the next 44 days, and then some, my mind is going to be obsessing over what 2014 has in store for the San Francisco Giants. Sure, it’s an even-numbered year, so maybe that is a good sign. We have our rotation set. We have all of our field positions set, and Hunter Pence is signed to a nice long contract. Yet, there are a few lingering uncertainties in my head. They aren’t quite doubts, because I don’t doubt the abilities of these players when they are in top form. So I’m going with uncertainty because having every player in top form all season long is a rarity.
2B – Marco Scutaro
I like Marco Scutaro. I think he’s a good second baseman and I like what he brings to the team. I like what he does with the bat. Sure, he’s not dropping bombs in AT&T Park, but he hit a team leading .297 last season. He gets on base and he scores runs. But let me be candid. He’s 38 years old. He had a pin put in his pinkie at the end of last year after playing with a mallet hand half the season. I don’t doubt his abilities, but I am afraid of Father Time coming for a visit. I don’t think anyone expects he’s going to be able to play all 162 games (plus postseason?), and I don’t think he has to do that. But I am a little nervous about how his hand will hold up, or his body in general. Let’s face it, he’s at the end of his career, and if the Giants don’t have a good Plan B for Scutaro this year for when he’s down and out, they may be in trouble.
3B – Pablo Sandoval
I think this is self-explanatory for most Giants fans. I’m not going to harp on it, but I will say this. If Pablo Sandoval wants to stay a Giant, or even get paid in free agency what he’s going to be expecting, he needs to show up to Spring Training in shape. I don’t care what his weight is. He just needs to be able to focus, be mobile, hit home runs, and stay healthy. He needs to play 150+ games this season. He’s got free agency coming to him. If that doesn’t motivate him, he’ll be a story of what could have been for the rest of his life. Don’t get me wrong. He’s an above average player, even in his state. I think the most frustrating part is that he should be a great player.
What can I say here? We need some strong right-handed pitching from the bullpen for middle relieve. Or at least someone who isn’t just a left-handed specialist. Jeremy Affeldt is good enough, when he’s not on the disabled list. Javier Lopez is excellent, but is only used to face about one left-handed batter at a time. I like George Kontos, but he didn’t live up to expectations last season. Santiago Casilla, I’ll keep, but he’s going to need help. The bullpen was a weak link in my opinion last season and I would like to see the Giants pickup one more inning eater before the season begins, or call someone up who can handle the job. Maybe that will be Dontrelle Willis, however, I don’t have my eggs in that basket just yet either.
SP – Ryan Vogelsong
I know Ryan Vogelsong only pitched 103 innings in 2013, and he’s slotted to be the 5th man in the rotation, but honestly, I’m afraid his lightning in a bottle may be gone. I hope I’m wrong. But last season was a disaster. His ERA was 5.73, just ever so slightly better than Barry Zito‘s ERA of 5.74. However, more than ever, he’s got something to prove. The Giants didn’t sign him right away like he wanted. You know they looked for something better and didn’t find it, so they came back to Vogelsong. That’s okay though. He seems to pitch better when he has a chip on the shoulder. I still have this unnerving sensation in my gut that it may not work out, and that will make me sad.
Sure, we could talk Tim Lincecum, Mike Morse, Brandon Crawford‘s hitting ability, Sergio Romo as the closer, Brandon Belt, but I’m feeling okay about those situations right now. What are your concerns for the upcoming season?