San Francisco Giants Fans: Stop Pining For Expensive Power Bats

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014 with only one player on the team hitting over 20 home-runs. Compared to the years of Barry Bonds and many other “power hitters” the recipe for success has never been having massive power bats in the middle of the lineup.

The San Francisco Giants got a closer! That was all they needed this offseason, really. So most likely the Giants are done in the free agent market. Yet some, continue to pine for expensive bats that don’t fit an absolute need. It hurts to see this. I’m sad you’ve abandoned all common sense.

I’m sad you’ve abandoned the values that the organization used to bring you so much success. We’ve begun to get greedy. We see the luxury that others have, and think, “That’s how the Giants should play!” despite routinely dismissing teams like that in the postseason in ’10,’12, and ’14.

Let’s take a look at each World Series year, and see where the Giants ranked in home-runs:

  • 2014: 17th in Baseball-132 homeruns
  • 2012: 30th(last) in Baseball-103 homeruns
  • 2010: 10th: in Baseball-162 homeruns

When we’re looking at things, you can almost consider 2010 a fluke. An entirely different roster, made up largely of players on their last legs of their careers, and not grown through the Giants’ system. There was one exception to that though, and that was the pitching staff. You know, the seven pitchers who were a part of all three titles. Look at the sustained success there! It came in the form of the pitchers, not the runs being brought across. Especially when you look at 2012 and 2014.

In 2012 the Giants scored 718, while being last in the league in homers. That figure was good for being ranked 12th in the league. In 2014, the Giants scored 665 runs, also good for 12th in the league. Interesting. The offense didn’t carry them those seasons, it was the starting staff, and the bullpen.

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The Giants have never been about putting up 5-6 runs a game. Especially because of how difficult the conditions are to hit in, during 81 games of their season. It’s ALWAYS been about pitching, and limiting the opponent’s ability to break out. It’s no coincidence that the Giants won their World Series with the core of seven pitchers between their bullpen and starting rotation.

That’s what the Giants are looking to build now. They think they might have it, especially by bringing in the guy with the most saves in all of baseball over the last three seasons. Throw him in with the young core of the bullpen that, outside of the closing roles, was extremely good. The Giants also have one of the top 5 rotations in all of baseball. When Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore find consistency, the Giants are incredibly hard to beat.

A rotation as deep as the Giants have, coupled with a bullpen that will surely improve in the ninth inning situations, the Giants are built to compete, and win. After all, we keep blaming the series against the Cubs on the bullpen right? Well they’ve fixed that.

Sep 24, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pinch hitter Jay Bruce (19) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants don’t need a power bat, again. They need somebody who gets on base. They need somebody who consistently creates runs. Jay Bruce, for all his homeruns in Great America Ballpark, couldn’t hit for his life in New York. Gee! It’s a lot like taking players from AT&T and putting them in Coors, offensive numbers soar! But for how many teams that consistently are in the top ten of the offensive categories, not many have been winning the last few years.

The Cubs are the anomaly. Why? Because they brought up a whole host of young, power, hitters through their farm system. Even then, they still had holes in their squad before last season.

The majority of their starting rotation, and their bullpen didn’t come from within the organization. That’s huge. Ben Zobrist and Dexter Fowler were their consistent on-base threats this season in front of their middle lineup guys. For players like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, who are world class hitters, the Cubs got guys on base in front of their best hitters. That’s how they scored a lot of runs.

The Giants hitters never put their middle of the lineup guys in positions to succeed at the plate. The Cubs had a legitimate leadoff hitter, and number two hitter. That setup immediately puts pressure on a starter. The Giants didn’t. That makes a significant difference in the offense.

To be clear, the Giants do have a legitimate number two hitter in Joe Panik. He had a bad start to the year at the plate, and then the concussion did him absolutely no favors in the second half. Joe Panik will go back to being Joe Panik though. They need somebody in front of him to pressure pitchers when Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Crawford come up to the plate. None of those guys are Jay Bruce, J.D. Martinez, or Jose Bautista. None. The only significant free agency fit would be Dexter Fowler, but Bob Nightengale tweeted that the Giants won’t be paying any more money in massive contracts.S

Bye Bye Fowler! Who is the next good target? I present the case for Adam Eaton

Adam Eaton, the guy who had the highest UZR in baseball, and second highest dRS in baseball. He’s a defensive freak, can cover all sorts of room in the outfield. The Giants saw plenty of him in Arizona, and since he went to Chicago, he’s only gotten better. How about his plate approach? Last season he had a 6.0 WAR, his wRC+ was higher than any other Giants outfielder. A slashline of .286/.362/.428 screams leadoff hitter. Not to mention, he’s on a cheap, team friendly contract with team options through 2021! Wow!

His salary between now and the 2021 season would top out at $10.5 million, in his final year of the contract. This is too good to be true guys. The best thing for it all? It gives the Giants a legitimate fourth outfielder in Denard Span. The competition in the spring for left field would go between, Mac Williamson, Span, and Jarrett Parker. The Giants would have to have Span beat them out at the plate, and in the field, and I’m just not sure he could beat out Williamson. Especially if Williamson is the type of hitter he was during June and July (137wRC+, .500 slugging percentage during his most consistent playing time).

This move would put Eaton on base in front of Panik. We would see the Giants offense would really start clicking. Early pressure, and consistent pressure, that will bring runs. That’s the type of player the Giants NEED in their lineup, and in the outfield.

All this to say, Jay Bruce, Jose Bautista, and J.D. Martinez aren’t the answers. They are a luxury when there is room in the budget, and plenty of people to get on base for them. So stop asking about them, stop wishing for them. They won’t be Giants. IF the Giants end up moving for them, then they will have abandoned all that brought them success.

They never won a world series with big name guys in the middle of their lineup. Not 30-40 hr a year guys anyways. So stop abandoning what you know made the Giants good enough to win the World Series three times in five years. Double down on what brought them success: pitching, defense, and getting on base in front of hitters who bring them home.

Stay tuned as we bring you updates from the Winter Meetings throughout the week!

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