5 Players San Francisco Giants Could Sever Ties With This Offseason
Which 2013 San Francisco Giants Could be Gone in 2014?
In 2013, the San Francisco Giants took an approach to their roster composition that is rarely seen in baseball today, bringing back a huge chunk of their World Series Champion roster from 2012. On opening day, the Giants filled 21 of their 25 roster spots with players who had been members of the club the previous season, and one of the new players, Andres Torres, was a former Giant who had been a member of the 2010 World Series club.
Things didn't go too well for the Giants in 2013, though, as they ended up finishing tied for third place in the NL West with a 76-86 record. When players went down, their lack of depth was seriously exposed, and they ended up having to dip down far into their ranks in order to assemble a pitching staff and fill the left field position on a day-to-day basis.
With the struggles they endured this season, it's likely that the Giants will do some rebuilding for next season. While the general core of the team, including Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Sergio Romo, and the newly-signed Hunter Pence will all be back, the Giants need to do some work in building the less-talented half of their roster. There are likely to be significant changes on the pitching staff, both the starting rotation and the bullpen, and it's possible that the team could do a near full-scale adjustment of their bench as they look to upgrade their lineup.
Though very few players are safe for next year, here are five guys in particular that are question marks as the Giants are building their roster for next year.
5. Santiago Casilla
Casilla is one of the Giants' most valuable relievers, and was an anchor in the bullpen while putting up a 2.16 ERA over 57 games this year. However, Giants general manager Brian Sabean has shown that he isn't afraid to trade aging relievers who have been effective, as evidenced when he traded then-30-year-old Ramon Ramirez after a 2011 season in which he had a 2.62 ERA in 66 games. With the 33-year-old Casilla scheduled to make $4.5 million next year, it wouldn't be out of the question for Sabean to try to make a similar move.
A Casilla trade could help the Giants stockpile more talent and help them save money. While Casilla has been arguably their most consistent reliever since 2010, the Giants have a good amount of big-league-worthy relievers, so it wouldn't seem to be a devastating loss. In the end, Casilla will probably end up returning, but don't completely rule him out as a trade possibility.
4. Jose Mijares
After Mijares' horrid second half this season, it seems more likely than not that he'll be non-tendered next year. Though he was effective before the All-Star break, the soon-to-be 29-year-old lefty had a 7.71 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .400 against him after the break. Mijares is arbitration-eligible and will command over $1 million next season, and since the Giants have lefty Jeremy Affeldt under contract, are trying to re-sign Javier Lopez and saw a strong finish from rookie Michael Kickham, there's little need to have Mijares in the bullpen again next season.
3. Gregor Blanco
There hasn't been a whole lot of talk about Blanco being let go next year, but it would seem to be a rather move if the Giants are trying to save money to attract free agents. Though Blanco provides good speed, defense, and occasional hitting ability, he's hit .235 or lower in seven of the 13 months that he's been with the Giants. The 29-year-old is arbitration eligible and could be non-tendered, and he would be easily replaced by Juan Perez, who flashed spectacular defensive ability and was one of the Giants' hottest hitters during September.
2. Ryan Vogelsong
It was widely expected for much of the 2013 season that Vogelsong's $6.5 million-dollar option would be picked up for 2014. However, as the Giants made it known that they wanted to be active in free agency, and Vogelsong put up a 6.41 ERA in September, a greater chance was created that Vogelsong will be bought out. It's possible, even if the Giants decline Vogelsong's option, that they will bring him back on a cheaper deal, but as rumors continue to circulate that the Giants want to sign an international starting pitcher, the Giants may not even have room for the 36-year-old Vogelsong next season.
1. Pablo Sandoval
You would think that Sandoval would be more motivated than ever to get in shape and produce with free agency looming after the 2014 season. However, he's had struggles doing so throughout his career, so the Giants can't be entirely sure that he'll be able to do so. Still, it seemed that the Giants would ride it out with him at least until next season, especially considering his .298 career average.
However, rumors have begun to circulate more and more that Sandoval could be moved before the 2014 season. His value should be at its highest for the Giants, and they may be able to get some younger players for the future while saving money to help them bring in additional players while compensating for the recent re-signings of Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence.