2013 season preview: San Francisco Giants

The Giants won the whole shebang in 2012, their second title in three years, and they did it with one bona fide superstar hitter in Buster Posey. San Francisco's roster was largely filled with veteran hitters and a pretty good pitching staff, destroying the narrative that you need a star-laden, dominant team to win the World Series.

Giants on TOC
End of Season Postmortem
2013 Season Preview
You May Say I'm a Dreamer (12:00 PM)
2013 Burning Question (1:30 PM)
This Is My Nightmare (3:00 PM)
2013 X-Factor (4:30 PM)

Depth Chart (as of 3/22)
C: Buster Posey
1B: Brandon Belt
2B: Marco Scutaro
SS: Brandon Crawford
3B: Pablo Sandoval
LF: Gregor Blanco/Andres Torres
CF: Angel Pagan
RF: Hunter Pence
SP: Matt Cain
SP: Madison Bumgarner
SP: Tim Lincecum
SP: Barry Zito
SP: Ryan Vogelsong
CL: Sergio Romo

New Faces
The Giants really didn't bring anyone new in, choosing to keep the core of their 2012 team intact by re-signing Scutaro, Pagan, and most of the bullpen. Though there are a couple of new faces in San Francisco: fourth outfielder Andres Torres, and reliever Chad Gaudin.

Melky Cabrera was run out of town after a mid-season PED suspension killed his year. Aubrey Huff's option was declined, and he's essentially retired. Xavier Nady left the Bay Area to sign with the Royals. Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Theriot both weren't re-signed, and neither has a job as of today. Guillermo Mota was shunned after a second PED suspension, and still doesn't have a job. The same holds true for Brad Penny and former closer Brian Wilson, who was nontendered after missing nearly all of 2012 following Tommy John surgery.

Impact Rookies
Giants? Rookies? HAH! But seriously, this is largely a veteran club, and that's nothing new for the Giants. Heath Hembree might end up in the major league bullpen sooner rather than later. Outfielder Gary Brown could also pop up in the majors this season if the Blanco/Torres platoon in left struggles, but expectations on him have been tempered after a disappointing 2012 campaign.

Position Battles
The Giants aren't really screwing around this year. All of the starters are pretty much set, and there's really just a spot or two on the bench or in the bullpen up for grabs. Gaudin could get pushed for the final spot in the bullpen by Scott Proctor or Ramon Ramirez. Veteran middle infielder Wilson Valdez also could claim a spot on the bench over Joaquin Arias, but that's looking less and less likely as the days roll on.

Injury Concerns
This is a pretty healthy club as well. Posey broke his ankle in 2011, but was the model of health in 2012. Sandoval gets hurt every year like clockwork, and he missed time last year with a strained hamstring and a broken hamate bone. The hamate is something to keep an eye on, because he suffered the same injury in 2011 as well. Brett Pill had knee surgery a couple of weeks ago, and won't be ready for Opening Day. Starter Eric Surkamp had Tommy John last July, and that could end up being an issue if a member of their starting five goes down this year.

Burning Question
Did Brian Sabean make the right move by re-signing Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan, and multiple relievers this offseason?

Best Case
Another World Championship, obviously. This is nearly the same team that won the title last year, and if it was good enough then, there's a very real chance they could be good enough this year.

Worst Case
The Dodgers superstar dream team passes the Giants in the standings, the new-look Diamondbacks lap them as well, and the Giants fall to third in the division and miss the playoffs following a World Championship once again.

Realistic Prediction
This Giants team is going to contend in the NL West, and they can do some big things if the team stays healthy. However, as Posey goes, so goes the Giants. If he gets injured again or struggles, this team is going to have a tough time contending in the NL West.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.