We're only a week into 2016, but baseball fans are eagerly awaiting the beginning of spring training and the onset of another season. As we near closer to pitchers and catchers reporting, let's take a look at the Giants' resolutions for the New Year.
Jason O. Watson
The Giants were ravaged by injuries in 2015, which ultimately prevented them from overcoming the Dodgers for the NL West title and stymied their postseason aspirations. With a revamped pitching staff and key core intact – including perennial All-Star Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, and Joe Panik – the Giants are pegged by many to win the World Series in 2016. However, the only way they can maximize their potential and achieve that goal is by remaining healthy.
Cueto lives up to expectations
Investing $130 million in a player is no small commitment, and the Giants are relying heavily upon Johnny Cueto to perform as their No. 2 starter in 2016. Although he was solid for the Cincinnati Reds for seven-plus seasons, the Dominican right-hander struggled in a new locale with the World Series-champion Kansas City Royals at the end of 2015, posting a 4-7 record with a career-worst 4.76 ERA. San Francisco hopes that with a full spring training in his new organization, Cueto will return to the dominant starter who posted a sub-3.00 ERA in five straight seasons with the Reds and finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting in 2014. If Cueto lives up to expectations, the Giants will have a rotation to be reckoned with.
John Hefti-USA TODAY SportsJohn Hefti
Samardzija bounces back
Like Cueto, Samardzija suffered a career-worst performance in 2015, posting an 11-13 record with a 4.96 ERA, and allowing 29 home runs in his first and only season with the Chicago White Sox. While the 6-foot-5 right-hander suffered a regression last year, he proved while a member of the Chicago Cubs that he possesses great potential. Although Samardzija will have less pressure on him than the Giants' No. 2 starter Johnny Cueto, his performance will be integral to San Francisco's aspirations to return to the World Series in 2016.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
Bumgarner wins the NL Cy Young
Madison Bumgarner has finished in the top 10 of the NL Cy Young Award voting for the past three seasons, and 2016 could be the year that the southpaw breaks through and takes home the hardware. At 26, Bumgarner is in the prime of his career and has been one of the best lefties in MLB over the past five seasons, compiling a 78-52 record with a 3.05 ERA and 1,034 strikeouts versus 239 walks in 1,050 innings over that span. The 2014 World Series MVP has proven he is one of the most dominant pitchers of the current era, and if he can remain consistent in 2016, he'll have a chance to take home the most prestigious pitcher's award.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
Even-year magic continues
For the fourth-consecutive odd-numbered year, the Giants failed to make the postseason. However, that will bode perfectly well with them as long as their even-year trend continues. In every even-numbered season since 2010, San Francisco has won the World Series, making baseball fans wonder if they could possibly repeat the feat for a fourth time in 2016. With the same core intact and skipper Bruce Bochy still manning the helm, the Giants are considered a favorite to win the World Series this coming season. They have more intra-divisional competition now that the Diamondbacks have molded themselves into contenders this offseason, but another magical season could be in the works if the Giants live up to their potential.