San Francisco Giants: Guarded Optimism Headed Into 2018
Unlike many other teams this off-season, the San Francisco Giants were proactive in their move-making. The Giants upper brass made moves that look good on paper, but will they translate into actual results on the field?
Last year I wrote an article about a “doomsday scenario” for the San Francisco Giants in the 2017 season. Read it if you’re looking for a hearty chuckle at just how badly I underestimated the depths to which that team could’ve fallen. It’s almost as if the baseball gods read it and laughed amongst themselves saying, “Haha, this imbecile. He’s known nothing but success from his favorite team. Let us show him what it really means to lose.”
Fair enough baseball gods, you won that round.
So as not to anger the baseball gods again, no doomsday predictions will be made this year. However, it goes without saying that the Giants are determined to not repeat last year’s performance. With the additions of Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen, Austin Jackson, and others it’s hard to imagine last year repeating itself. Let’s still keep our fingers crossed just in case though.
That’s what is so perplexing about this year: what is reasonable to expect from this team? We’ve been spoiled by them this decade, but last year was a nasty reminder of just how difficult it is to win. The fancy projections put their win total in the mid-80’s, which, if we’re being honest, I think we’d all do well to take that to the bank and run with.
After last year? Improving by 20 wins or so would be incredible! However, the sliver of a cocky optimist that lives within me thinks, ’84 wins? How about 94 and give the Dodgers a scare for the NL West?’ The reason I let my mind wander to such dangerous thoughts is that what if the Giants made these moves after the 2016 season?
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Everyone would be saying that adding two big time players like McCutchen and Longoria to a lineup that already holds Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Hunter Pence would make them one of the most dangerous in the National League. Does one rough season for the Giants’ brass (Posey and Panik excluded) really mean that they just aren’t that good anymore? Sure, getting older usually isn’t the best medicine for struggles, but it’s fair to assume that the likes of Belt, Crawford, and Pence still have something left in the tank.
While there are still so many question marks surrounding this team, it’s reassuring that at the very least they’re making a concerted effort to win baseball games. Of course, it’s not like they were actively trying to lose last year, but it was obvious that things weren’t working.
2018 can go a lot of different ways for the Giants. It could see them ride one more magical October to the Fall Classic where they’d have a chance to solidify themselves as the team of the 2010’s. However, it could also see a brutal and definitive end to a dynasty with key pieces getting traded away if things go awry.
Next: Tony Watson comes to town
We’d all do well to temper expectations for this season. Perhaps even do away with expectations entirely and just hope for the best. Whichever way the dice roll, and whatever judgment the baseball gods deem to be proper(please be kind mighty ones), at the very least the San Francisco Giants are going to try and win baseball games until September. Let’s wish them luck.