The San Francisco Giants may be heading in the right direction, but that may not be obvious with their 2021 record.
Spring training is a time when a fan’s mood can fluctuate between boundless hope and deep despair. The following is a debate between the optimistic me and the pessimistic me about the 2021 San Francisco Giants.
Opti-me: The giants are moving in the right direction. The 2020 season was the third in a row with an improved profit share. And that was when Buster Posey conducted a Covid opt-out. Posey is back now, and his return alone makes the Giants a postseason contender.
Granted, team president Farhad Zaidi didn’t do much in the winter, but that’s because not much had to be done. Bringing Posey back reinforces an offense that finished fifth in losses per game, fourth on average, and fifth in OPS in 2020.
Posey’s free year should also have been a good respite from the natural blows suffered by a catcher’s body. We’re going to see something like the 2017 Posey, which hit with an OPS of 0.861.320. I know everyone expects the Dodgers and Padres to run away with the West, but Posey’s return alone is a good reason to expect the Giants to push these teams forward.
Pessi-me: Posey started aging before 2020. In 2019 he lost 27 points in the batting average and 53 points in the OPS. The restoration through which you poetically grow sounds more like patent medicine to me.
In addition, your team is getting old. The average age of your planned starting eight this season is 32, which is a geezer level in terms of baseball. They will only bring one regular player onto the field who is under 30. As for those offensive numbers, it means that regression is a better choice than improvement.
Opti-me: We may be old chronologically, but we’re still growing in the baseball experience, and that keeps us young. Mike Yastrzemski is 30 years old, but he’s only going into his third season in the third division. He’s still learning and fast. Give it a full season and it will produce a 30 homer, 100 RBI season with a 0.300 average.
Our second baseman, Donovan Solano, is a similar case. He made a breakthrough when the San Francisco Giants picked him up in 2019. It’s been a reliable, high base number .330 stick ever since. In short, he is a 33 year old boy.
Don’t overlook Mauricio Dubon if you start in the middle. He turns 26 this year and has shown that the game makes a huge contribution.
And really don’t overlook Heliot Ramos. Sure, he’s not even on the 40 man, but he’s tearing up the spring camp, he’s only 21, he’s hitting with power .385 and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he went north with the team.
Pessi-me: Even if your offense does develop – which I doubt – it will have to move pretty quickly to make up for the damage these pitching staff will do. It’s like watching the All Stars reunion in 2016.
Your ace is Johnny Cueto, who has been between 14 and 15 since 2017. At least Cueto isn’t particularly harmful since he’s injured so often. He has averaged just 70 innings since 2017. Then you go with Kevin Gausman. Same story: Eight seasons, none with a winning record and an ERA of 4.94 in its last 162 innings.
On top of that, you have Anthony DeSclafani: No winning season since 2016 and an ERA of 4.70 since 2018. Then you have Alex Wood, who was really good for the Dodgers four seasons ago. He has been 10-11 since then. But don’t worry Wood hurt the team because he’s only been 48 innings on the hill as of 2018.
Her fifth starter is Logan Webb: two seasons in the majors, a 5-7 record, a 5.36 ERA, 94 innings total. Let me sum it up: your pitchers don’t win and don’t work a lot because they don’t stay healthy.
Opti-me: Let’s all stay on planet earth. We owe Cueto $ 21 million this year and another $ 22 million next year, so he’s pitching one way or another. For the most part, the others have all looked good so far this spring, although admittedly this is only possible to a limited extent.
Wood is the only real question at this point as his back is acting. But that stuff happens in spring … nothing to worry about.
Pessi-me: You didn’t say anything about the bullpen and I know why. You don’t have one. Your projected approach to the three depths is TBD. Guess why not?
I actually know why: there are no good decisions. The total number of career savings in your planned bullpen is five, and three of those belong to a guy named Tyler Rogers. Incidentally, these three correspond to the number of parades he blew last year.
You said earlier that Zaidi did nothing because nothing had to be done. But the pin was and is an obvious hole. He just ignored it.
Opti-me: There is no more fluent player in baseball than a helper. Throwing money in this position is the definition of a waste. Zaidi understands that.
Pessi-me: Granted, the San Francisco Giants still long for 500 and third place as their best possible result. You better hope the D-Backs or Rockies somehow don’t catch lightning. As old and layered as the Giants are, they are incapable of racing for anything higher than the mid-pack.
Opti-me: We crossed the finish line well before Colorado and Arizona and didn’t improve in the winter either, so they’re not a problem. Obviously this team would be difficult to catch in LA. The padres haven’t shown us anything yet.
Look for Yaz, Dubon, Dickerson, and Solano to have big seasons, Posey to get strong again, and Heliot Ramos to be a Rookie of the Year nominee. In this case, a post-season spot is difficult, but possible.