In 2012, there’s a lot to be unsure about, and a lot to be excited about. Sometimes seasons go the way you want them to, even if it isn’t wire-to-wire (the 2010 Giants). Other times, it can seem like you just watch a team over a season and see them just lose all grasp of the division they had had a year ago (the 2011 Giants). A small part (and I mean small part) of me hoped in 2011 the Giants wouldn’t win it, worrying about taxing guys like Timmy, Matt, MadBum, and Dirty, because he ran out of gas in 2010. The feeling grew a bit when I saw the number of foul balls Posey was taking to the mask behind the plate. Scary stuff, folks. You know how 2011 went, and I bet there are a lot of people out there thinking 2012 is just going to be another repeat of 2011, mostly because they’re like that guy in the stands from Major League that’s always bashing the team. You could go down multiple avenues with this “worst-case scenario,” so I’m going to try and be as realistic as possible, and not say something like, “The Giants go 30-132 with Barry Zito starting every game after trading every pitcher to rebuild the farm system.” As much as that would feed the Rainy Day Fund, it’s not going to happen. So what would be the worst?
Here’s my lineup as of right now:
CF Angel Pagan (S)
2B Freddy Sanchez (R)
3B Pablo Sandoval (S)
C Buster Posey (R)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
1B Aubrey Huff (L)
RF Nate Schierholtz (L)
SS Brandon Crawford (L)
First of all, Buster Posey not being able to catch five times a week for a whole season. We find out in Spring Training that this whole catching thing really isn’t going to work for Buster. He has to go to 1B if the Giants want to use his bat. The problem? They’re names are Aubrey Huff, Brett Pill, and Brandon Belt. Some of you already see where this is going.
Management loves Buster Posey like they love dynamic pricing for tickets to the ol’ ballgame at AT&T (and Scottsdale), so no doubt Posey gets the edge at first. What does that do with everyone else? Aubrey Huff goes to RF, where even pilates won’t save him from looking slow. Huff is doing his best impression of his 2011 self, and then loses his job to Nate, not Belt. What, are you kidding? Belt belongs in AAA, of course! And in AAA is where Belt will be all of 2012.
The jokes on Freddy Sanchez are that he can’t stay healthy and is “made of glass” or something. He hits the 15-day DL three or four times, prompting Lord Fontenot and Ryan Theriot to platoon at 2B which will go just… oh not so great. Although you’ll start to see more thump in the top of the order, the bottom of the order will make you wonder if the quality of MLB athletes is going down. Nope, just the Giants.
Pablo, at the worst, looks mediocre (hey, not every guy will be bad). Same with Melky, but not as good as Panda, of course. New Angel Pagan will hit .250, struggling to get the concept of hitting in a ballpark where the ball never goes out. Or… he totally dealt with that in CitiField. Ok, .255. Will get 20 SB when he forgets how to draw more walks as he is trying to compensate for the lack of offensive presence in the lineup.
Brandon Crawford will not forget how to play defense. The worst case scenario would be him hitting under the Mendoza Line for a long period of time. Unfortunately, it’s not that unrealistic to think such a thing.
The starting pitching once again keeps the team in games and the bullpen slams the door shut more times than not. “Pitching is our priority” and it showed over the offseason, with all those shiny arms we kept. It gets bad when not just one, but two of the SP’s go down with injuries that lead to the calling up of Boof Bonser and Ramon Ortiz. This of course, does not go very well. Ryan Vogelsong also regresses to his non-2011 self. Eric Surkamp comes up to stop the bleeding but still lets everybody steal off of him.
The bullpen loses Brian Wilson to more elbow trouble for roughly half the year, but everyone else just moves up the line and does their job. That’s the worst-case scenario for the bullpen, in my opinion.
Nevertheless, the Giants are contenders, and will be “buying” at the Trade Deadline (wait for it…), so they agree to trade someone… we’ll call him “Brandon Belt” for – you guessed it – a pitcher. By some miracle of nature they land Zack Greinke, who is a free agent after this season. It did not just take Belt to get him, and some other players the general public is not aware of are involved. Greinke does not bat well, so he may stop a little bleeding, and provide some insurance, but after that, if everyone’s healthy, it’s just a crazy-good five-man rotation we got with a really expensive long man.
At some point in August, all the starters are back, but rolling into September are still more than five games out of the race. They get as close as two games, but ultimately watch the Dodgers – yea I said it – celebrate winning the division title. Their new owner gave the green light for some moves to take on salary without giving up prospects and that really helped their supposedly mediocre team reach the pinnacle of the West. Giants don’t get the rumored 5th playoff spot. Foiled by the Phillies, who we’re tired of.
No need to go into the Post-Season, but we will for kicks. Phillies win the World Series, (what you thought I’d suggest LA would do it?) and now Ruben Amaro Jr. is a genius and Roy Halladay has a ring. And Philadelphia’s fans get more annoying. Pretty sure that’s the worst that could happen in 2012 to San Francisco. (Oh and Brandon Belt’s gone so what are you gonna do for 1B now, Sabes?)
Here’s some research I did for the pitchers and hitters, respectively. It showcases what I believe to be their worst season, and their 162 game average season according to Baseball-Reference. I left out Chris Stewart, Burriss, Crawford, Pill, and Whiteside. Hope you don’t mind that.