Greetings to the Giants fans who hung in there through thick and thin, in the good years (certainly 2010 to 2014 qualify), and in the challenging years (every year since 1954 J).
The purpose of this blog post is to review some of the events that have taken place since the Parade on Halloween (what a day that was!) and the immediate post-season MLB movements that affect the G-Men.
Say it ain’t so Pablo!
The big news is that the Panda is going to the Red Sox, who essentially made him the same offer that the Giants did ($100 million for five years, with an option for six). He is taking his nick-name with him and we all wonder what a red Panda hat will look like.
Why did this happen ? Hunter Pence (after the Parade) got the crowd worked up with a chant to “re-sign the Panda.” Pablo got three WS rings with the G-Men. Pablo was the WS MVP in 2012. Pablo was one of the faces of the Giants and his energy and infectious enthusiasm touched everyone who ever saw him play (to quote Justin Verlander in Game #1 of the 2012 WS – “Wow”!). He was part of the chemistry of the Giants’ clubhouse that created the team that won three WS titles in five years. He will be missed.
My theory is that Pablo’s posse (the boys from Venezuela who are part of his entourage) convinced him that the Red Sox were a bigger platform and he (and they) could do better in the long run there. I also don’t think that the posse really liked the Giants brain trust. I have no inside information on that, it’s just supposition based on years of reports of friction.
Regardless, the Panda is gone and we all wish him well at Fenway, where he joins Hanley Ramirez from the Dodgers in what is sure to be one of the most toxic clubhouses in baseball. Good luck with that Panda - - but always remember that we loved you here and always will. Giants fans are not fickle. We welcomed Orlando Cepeda and Will Clark back and we will welcome you back when the time is right. You will always be a Giant to us.
What are the Giants going to do?
Pablo’s departure is not entirely a bad thing. Yes it opens a hole at third base (the Giant’s already have a hole in left field) that needs to be filled but it also frees up a lot of cash to fill the open positions. Pablo’s regular season OPS had been trending downward for the last three years (but his OPS in the post season was unreal) so there are a lot of candidates who could potentially plug the regular season Panda gap, so to speak.
The options at third include Chase Headley (just offered three years with the Yankees but maybe the best defensive 3rd baseman in baseball) or to fill the position from inside the organization. For example, Buster Posey (if the G-Men can convince him to move from catcher and put that duty in the hands of Susac), Marco Scutaro (if he’s healthy), Matt Duffy (he might just be up for the job; converted shortstops do well at third) or another young player. The Giants do have some good young position players who will be going all out in spring training to take the job.
If the G-Men go inside or go with a defensive 3rd baseman they could afford to add real power in Left Field. Right now speculation centers on the Cuban guy, Yasmany Tomas, a hitter with the talent of Puig (although hopefully more mature and without the attitude) or one of the excess Red Sox outfielders (like Allan Craig, or Cespedes or Shane Victorino) any of whom would look good in Orange and Black, especially Craig, a Cal guy like Jeff Kent.
Other possibilities (dream big folks) are bringing back Melky (is the Melk man forgiven? Tell us what happened Melky – we are an understanding town) who tore it up with Toronto last year OR one of the excess Dodgers outfielders (like Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier – wouldn’t you love that?). Right now it looks like there are a lot of candidates out there and the Giants have the money to spend.
The Giants are also in the market for a pitcher. The choices are to re-sign Peavy, go after Jon Lester or maybe try big for Max Scherzer or James Shields. Don’t forget that Sergio is still out there unsigned. Pitching next year will be a challenge once we get past MadBum. Cain is coming off an injury, Lincecum will be in his last year (as will Hudson) and Vogie might just be retired.
What will the rest of the winter bring?
Some of us are counting down the days until Spring Training in February and treating the Hot Stove time as winter sport. Next week are the winter meetings so more rumors will fly and more deals will be done.
One perhaps sad note (for Giants fans, not for him) is that Tim Flannery has retired after 33 years in baseball. We will all miss his energy behind third base and will always remember him waving runners home by following them down the line and acting like a wild man. Adios Flan!
See you next year at AT&T!