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2014 NL West Preview: San Francisco/San Jose/San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara Giants

The Frisco Giants spent 2013 looking up at most of the division, far away from the glory of their 2010 and 2012 championships. Will they get it together in 2014 to taste champagne again?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Relevant Facts

2013 Record: 76-86 (Tied for third in NL West)

2013 Pythag Record: 74-88

General Manager: Brian Sabaen

Specific Manager: Bruce Bochy

Notable Offseason Acquisitions: Michael Morse, Tim Hudson, San Jose

Notable Departures: Andres Torresz, Barry Zito, Jose Mijares, Chad Gaudin

Number of Pounds Pablo Sandoval Claims to Weigh: 250

Possible Line-up

C: Buster Posey

1B: Buster Posey

2B: Buster Posey

3B: Buster Posey

SS: Buster Posey

4(?)B: Buster Posey

LF: Buster Posey

CF: Buster Posey

RF: Hunter Pence

Probable Line-up

C: Buster Posey

1B: Brandon Belt

2B: Marco Scutaro

3B: Pablo Sandoval

SS: Brandon Crawford

LF: Michael Morse

CF: Angel Pagan

RF: Under Pants

Starting Pitchers

Matt Cain

Tim Lincecum

Madison Bumgarner

Ryan Vogelsong

Tim Hudson

A Selection of Relievers

Sergio Romo

George Kontos

Santiago Casilla

Javier Lopez

And the Rest

Okay, Smart Guy, How Are They Going to Do?

If you want a smart projection, there's plenty of places to look. I don't know if the new Five Thirty Eight site is doing a lot of baseball projections yet, but Nate Silver invented Pecota, so what I'm saying is he's smarter than me.

All I know is that the Giants aren't really that different from the team that won a championship in 2012. San Fran seems to be making a bet that they'll be healthier, and that formerly productive players such as Lincecum and Sandoval return to form. It's not a terrible bet to make, simply because a lot of their core is reasonably young and has the possibility to still contribute. The possible roadblock is that these guys really are on the downhill, making the Giants' roster both comparatively expensive and with little alternatives.

It's possible the Giants will get some help from their farm system should they need it, but they thought that last year with little success. Gary Brown is speedy outfield type, and Kyle Crick could provide some rotation relief if someone can't make the cut. But both are probably more like stopgaps this year then shots of life like Puig was last year for the Dodgers.

The Giants clearly are hoping they won't need stopgaps, and they didn't make any offseason moves of any real note. Zito gets swapped for reclamation project Tim Hudson, and Michael Morse moves into the outfield in an attempt to find his home run swing (good luck with that in AT&T Park).

Of course, not spending now perhaps gives flexibility closer to the trade deadline if a playoff push is needed, but you need to get in striking range of the playoffs first for that thought to be relevant.

If the Giants can stay healthy and recapture some of the previous magic, they certainly can contend. But after last year it feels like a bigger 'if' then you'd think with a team with a supposedly young core. Cain/Lincecum/Bumgarner shouldn't be broken down yet, and Posey/Sandoval should be driving the offense. All 5 of these players have the talent to be consistent All-Stars, but will they get the chance this year?

I remain doubtful only because you have to prove you deserve it.


McCovey Chronicles

Stats from Baseball-Reference