It was only a little more than a month ago that the SF Giants and their fans were giddy with the excitement of a new baseball season, dreams of another deep playoff run and championship aspirations. Fans were ready to forget last season’s second half collapse and the nightmare bullpen, as we believed that our shiny new sixty-two million dollar closer along with the core from last year might just be enough to put the team over the top. Then opening day came... it started out gloriously with Madison Bumgarner hitting two home runs, and the Giants taking a lead into the ninth for their new closer, all according to plan.
However it took one game to bring nightmare flashbacks of the bullpen, as Mark Melancon blew his first save opportunity and immediately gave the feeling that acquiring one player may not have been the best offseason plan, and may not fix all of the Giants problems. However, it was just one game and they would recover, or so we thought. From there, the Giants limped out of the gate to a 6-10 record struggling in every aspect of the game, from the starting rotation, to even the normally outstanding defense. Then the unthinkable happened.
Bumgarner, on his off day in Colorado crashed his dirt bike, hurt his shoulder and since then it has felt as though the entire Giants team, their heart, their effort, and their championship aspirations skidded across the ground with his left shoulder. From that moment, the Giants have consistently put up lackluster performance after lackluster performance, and whether its been a blowout or a close game they have consistently seemed deflated in spirit and on the field as the loses have piled up.
Coming into today with a 15-24 record, to even get to an 87 win season, the number it took to barely limp into the playoffs last year, the Giants would need to finish 72-51 (.585), and even that would not guarantee the Giants a spot. With Bumgarner not expected back until at least August and no guarantees of his performance after that, the Giants are obviously not without hope, but they are surely facing an uphill battle. With that in mind it isn’t too early to start thinking about next year is it? Well even if it is, lets take a look at what the 25-man roster may look like at the start of 2018.
I want to start this out by saying the Giants will be clearing a ton of payroll with the loss of both Johnny Cueto and Matt Cain, however, much to the disdain of the fans they may stick to their status quo and not spend big this coming offseason, as the 2018-2019 Free Agent class is primed to be one of the greatest of all time, and the Giants may see that as an opportunity, with so much money coming off the books.
I type this article assuming the Giants do not trade Cueto at the trade deadline, as they value their connections with their players and want the exclusive negotiation window with the players they like. However, with Cueto’s statements that he wants to finish his career in the American League I see him opting out and leaving--baseball is a business after all. Along with Cueto, Cain’s option won't be picked up, but I can definitely see the Giants trying to work out a deal to have him stay, especially if he keeps pitching as he has the beginning of the season.
Therefore, I see the rotation as this.
Regardless, Beede gets his shot at the beginning of the year no matter whether Cain is re-signed or not, he is probably ready now and it will definilty be time for him in 2018.
This is where the biggest changes will occur as there will be atleast one free agent addition and some non-roster invites.
Yes there is a lot of sticking with the same, because of the free agent class upcoming after 2018. However, if I’m totally wrong and this is the year they decide to splurge on the free agent market and finally attempt to fix their outfield by making a big splash I could see J.D. Martinez as a great addition that they had interest in previously, as well as the pipedream of Lorenzo Cain, who would bring defense and speed which the Giants covet.
It's homegrown and you love it.
Much of the same from this abysmal year with a major drop-off from losing Cueto but adding Unknown possibly outstanding talent with Beede. Fans will not be happy losing the fan favorite in Cueto or the abysmal left field options which I do believe they will address with a moderate free agent signing. However, I believe that the Giants along with the rest of baseball will spend somewhat conservatively with eyes on the free agent class of the next year. This team was not expected to be as bad as they are this year, and I do believe they will stabilize and play better ball at some point. Even with a similar roster next season, they have a chance to be a very solid team. With some movement back to how they are expected to play and a little help from the free agents they will sign, along with the bonus of having a healthy Bumgarner, this team can once again be fighting for the playoffs in 2018.