Shortstop Rich Aurilia has been with the Giants all his major league career. Since 1995, Aurilia has dedicated himself to this organization, on and off the field, playing a significant role in community services, taking on a leadership role in the locker room, and welcoming the media for interviews after every game. Aurilia emerged as an elite offensive shortstop in 2001, where he broke out with 37 homeruns and 97 RBIs on a .324 average, making his first All-Star appearance and start.
Since then, Aurilia has declined due to injuries, but was never expected to put up 2001 numbers again. He was always solid on defense, and played competitively and passionately for the Giants for nine years.
Neifi Perez, if not traded, is said to have the job starting at shortstop, with prospect, Cody Ransom, backing up. Because of Perez's hefty contract, because of the Giants not having much room to squirm in, and possibly because of miscommunication, arbitration was not offered to Aurilia.
Aurilia has been a fan favorite, and he'll be missed, but wherever he lands this off season, he has the support of this generation's Giants' fans.
Reliever and closer for the Giants in 2003, Tim Worrell was basically labeled as a goner after the spectacular season he had ending games. He collected 38 saves in 2003, replacing the injured and still questionable Robb Nen. Not only will Worrell be remembered for the way he got the Giants out of a huge jam by taking over as closer in 2003, but he played a significant role as Nen's set-up man in the Giants' 2002 World Series run.
Worrell will be a hot ticket in the free agent market today, with teams demanding a closer and being willing to offer Worrell a good chunk of closer money, an amount that the Giants did not want to try to compete with.
Jose Cruz, Jr.
The right-fielder won his first Gold Glove this season by playing spectacular defense in the difficult right field of Pac Bell Park. However, his offense declined dramatically after the first month of the season. By signing Michael Tucker before the arbitration deadline, the Giants assured Cruz's departure.
Despite his brilliant play in right field, most people will remember Cruz by his dropped fly ball during the NLDS. Highlight-reel defense, slumping offense, and a dropped ball was not enough to tempt the Giants into re-signing Cruz.
The veteran back-up first baseman has expressed an interest in returning with the Giants to reach 400 career roundtrippers. The Big Cat had a great season with the Giants, being one of the most effective hitters with runners in scoring position, a category where the Giants slumped all season.
Still, with Galarraga's age, it was a risky move to give him a roster spot, especially with the re-signing of Snow and Pedro Feliz backing up the first base position. El Gato may be picked up by the Giants in May, or in the midseason, so he'll be able to hit 400 jacks and have a satisfying retirement.
The Giants were done with Benito Santiago after they made a trade for A.J. Pierzynski. Santiago has been with the club since 2001, providing strength and leadership behind the plate for the Giants' pitching staff. Named MVP of the NLCS in 2002, Santiago's offense gradually declined throughout 2003 after an injury to his pinky finger during a game against the Padres.
The Giants gave up a lot in the midseason to acquire Ponson, a top pitcher who was expected to have #2 ace stuff to back up Jason Schmidt. However, despite pitching solidly for the Giants in his duration here, he did not step up during the playoffs, which was the sole reason why the Giants brought him to San Francisco, and because he didn't rise to the occasion, his time in orange and black will be short and not so sweet.
Bernard is a player who the fans have been cheering for during his time here. Everyone was rooting for him to get better, to come back strong because there's just something about him that makes us all be on his side. He's been with this team for too long, and saying good-bye to him is almost too painful, but too expected. Bernard has been plagued with injuries and has been declining offensively and defensively. The signing of Tucker, a left-handed outfielder, also insured Bernard's departure. It's time for retirement, Marvin. Thanks for all the good times.
Another player with a too short and a not too sweet career as a Giant. Young was brought in during the midseason as an insurance for second baseman, Ray Durham, who was hampered by injuries during most of the season. However, Young proved to be a disappointment offensively for the Giants, although he performed well defensively and provided speed on the base paths. Short and sweet, don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at email@example.com
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