Roster turnover happens. More so perhaps than in any other sport, baseball’s free-agency setup allows for significant roster change from year to year. This setup has led to parity throughout the sport that doesn’t get enough credit thanks to the constant flow of talent throughout the league.
This constant transition makes it all the more impressive when a team makes it multiple World Series appearances in a short period of time, usually for the ability of a front office to keep the core of a strong team together. After all, one of the perks of being a part of a championship team in any sport is for the role players on that team to cash in on their newfound status in the form of a big contract.
The San Francisco Giants return to the World Series this season is impressive for an entirely different reason. Despite it being just two years later, this Giants World Series team looks vastly different from the squad that won it all in 2010.
The starting lineup the Giants will be trotting out on Wednesday night will feature just two members from its regular 2010 lineup. Gone are the likes of Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez and Juan Uribe. In their places are Gregor Blanco, Marco Scutaro and Brandon Crawford.
The only lineup members still in tact from their championship team are catcher Buster Posey and third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Wednesday’s lineup won’t even completely resemble the one the team used on Opening Day, with the mid-season additions of Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence and their refusal to use Melky Cabrera.
Their pitching staff is still largely in tact, but still with significant differences.
The World Series starters for the Giants this year will consist of many of the same pitchers, only in a different order, due both to scheduling issues and performance.
Tim Lincecum was the ace of that 2010 team, but had to pitch his way into this year’s playoff rotation through the bullpen in the NLDS. Gone is 2010 World Series game three starter Jonathan Sanchez, and in his place is Barry Zito, who was famously left off the Giants roster the last time they were here.
And finally, the back of the bullpen looks different, with the lack of Brian Wilson and his ridiculous beard.
While the team’s pitching staff isn’t as fully intact as the staff that led their championship run two years ago, their offense is in better shape.
Led by the likely National League MVP Posey and the NLCS MVP Scutaro, this Giants lineup is more balanced and potent than the one they trotted out in 2010, which is a testament to the moves they made during the season as much as anything else.