Darrell Moody: San Francisco Giants sure up rotation
If you are a San Francisco Giants fan, and I am, you are a pretty happy camper right now.
The Giants have made two of the splashier off-season moves by signing Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto to multi-year contracts. It definitely strengthens a staff that has struggled because of ineffectiveness and injuries.
The addition of the two right-handers give the Giants a rotation of Madison Bumgarner, Samardzija, Cueto, Jake Peavy and Matt Cain. Given the health issues of Cain and Peavy in recent years, keep an eye on Chris Heston, who was the Giants’ second-best pitcher at times last year. Heston may be a long or middle man at the start of the year.
That is six pitchers right there, and throw in Santiago Casilla, George Kontos, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez, and you have a very solid 10-man staff. If Bruce Bochy is craving another lefty and an 11th pitcher, I would think that Josh Osich would get the call.
The departure of Hector Sanchez means that Andrew Susac is the logical back-up to Buster Posey. Susac, however, hit just .218 in 133 at-bats with just three homers. I liked Sanchez because he was a left-handed hitter.
The infield consists of Brandon Belt, who hit a solid .280 with 18 homers at first, Joe Panik (.303) at second, Brandon Crawford (.256) at short and Matt Duffy (.295) at third. I truly like this group, but can Panik rebound from his injury issues of last year? Can Duffy hit .285 every year? Can Crawford be a consistent double-digit homer guy? Those are huge questions.
Kelby Tomlinson did well filling in for Panik last year. I’m not even close to being sold on Ehire Adrianza, however. He hit .186, and that doesn’t cut it. I don’t care if he can play three infield positions or not. That sixth infield spot needs somebody better.
Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence figure to start, left to right, on Opening Day. Jarrett Parker made a big splash late last year, hitting six homers in 49 at-bats. I’m not sold on Mac Williamson, who had one big year in the California League. If you are looking for outfield depth, I’d rather have seen the team keep Marlon Byrd, who had 31 RBI and 39 games, or even Alex De Aza, .262 in 24 games. Pence hopefully returns 100 percent after being limited to just 52 games last year.
According to reports, GM Brian Sabean is looking to get help in the bullpen and infield. Let’s extend that to the outfield, please.
And, while we’re on the subject of baseball, local umpires Nate White and Clint Vondrak, will head back to the same leagues when spring training rolls around.
White will be starting his second season in Triple-A in the Pacific Coast League, while Vondrak is headed back to Double-A. Vondrak, who now lives in Reno, keeps in shape by officiting high school basketball.
Two area pitchers, Colby Blueberg and Adam Whitt, will leave in a couple of months for spring training.
Blueberg, who pitches in the Padres organization, was 4-1 with 21 saves and a 1.07 ERA in the Midwest League last season. The next logical step would be to the California League. Whitt, who is in the Astros’ chain, was 2-2 with a 5.33 ERA with two saves.