Coming off of a World Series victory, 2013 is shaping up to be a significant year for the San Francisco Giants’ front office with the pending free agency of core players and arbitration of some younger ones.
The Giants success has been largely thanks to their pitching staff (until recently any pitcher not named Zito), and a couple of key pieces will be considering or entering free agency after this season. The Giants also spent cash solidifying their lineup, and this year could make or break the futures of some single-season contract holders.
With that in mind, here are the 5 players on the 2013 Giants with the most to lose this season:
5. Angel Pagan
Known as one of the the most underrated players of the past four years, Pagan’s 2012 performace was rewarded with a 4 year, $45 million dollar deal making him the fifth highest paid player on the Giants.
After a sub-par 2011, Pagan rebounded with an excellent 2012 season and was rewarded for his efforts. Pagan will be expected to play at or near his career levels to prove he is worth his multi-year deal. The first year of this deal will make or break both the fan’s and organization’s opinions of Angel.
4. Brandon Belt
One of the Giants younger prospects, Belt will come into 2013 with high expectations as the starting first baseman. While not having a terrible year in 2012, Belt only hit seven home runs, which will not cut it as a corner infielder.
If Belt gets off to a slow start, look for the Giants to begin considering giving Hector Sanchez some starts at 1B or possibly even look for someone near the trade deadline.
3. Sergio Romo
Thrust into the closer role due to injuries, Romo proved he was the man for the job in both the regular season and the post-season. With Romo’s injury history and recent 2 year contract extension, the pressure to put together a healthy and successful season will be high.
Romo will be on a short leash, as many closers are, and an injury could open the door for another reliever to overtake the closer role. Losing closer status could not only cost Romo playing time, but future money after the 2014 season.
2. Buster Posey
Fresh off his MVP 2012 season, Posey inked a one-year, $8 million dollar contract to avoid arbitration. While Posey would not be expected to exceed his 2012 season, matching his 2012 production could allow Posey to cash in again during arbitration.
A down year or (gulp) another serious injury would hurt Posey’s value for a muilti-year dear down the road. With Posey carrying the Giant’s offense, he will be looking for big money at the end of this season with another MVP-type season in 2013.
1. Tim Lincecum
Entering the last year of his deal, the former 2-time Cy Young winner will be looking to rebound from his abysmal 2012 season. Tim will be looking to prove that last year was a fluke, and that he deserves a large multi-year similar to the deal he signed two years ago.
If Lincecum doesn’t put up numbers at least above league average, concerns about his wind-up and arm strength may arise, and teams may hesitate to ink a long term deal. Tim could leave a lot of money on the table if his performance doesn’t improve in 2013.