San Francisco Giants Still Have a Solid Core


April 08, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) speaks with starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) between pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the third inning at AT

The season isn’t over, but with the San Francisco Giants 17.5 games back with 36 games to go, I’m choosing to look ahead to future possibilities rather than today’s predicament. The Giants are fortunate enough to have a solid foundation at key positions and the management to bring a strong team together around them.

We have to go all the way back September 30, 1996 to the day Brian Sabean earned his promotion and became the Giants General Manager to see when the longest-tenured individual on this list joined the team. Sabean’s first move on the job was to trade away Matt Williams, sparking fan outrage leading up to the Giants’ 1997 turnaround season.

It wasn’t until 2005 that the Giants had a losing season under the Sabean regime. Even though Sabean may have made mistakes, or miscalculated moves, he was responsible for signing Aubrey Huff and trading Bengie Molina so that Buster Posey received more playing time.

Speaking of Posey, he is the core of the Giants’ future. As catcher, he centers the defense, and settles pitchers, while igniting the offense with his bat. Such a spectacular player at the catching position is rare to find in baseball, and the Giants have him signed with a team option until 2022.

Posey will catch Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain for the foreseeable future. The right and left-handers pack a one-two punch to start the Giants rotation until 2017, and Sabean should have an easy time filling the rest of the rotation with Zito and Lincecum’s money coming off the books at the end of the season.

The Brandon’s (Belt and Crawford) have been making themselves comfortable in Giants uniforms this season. At shortstop, defense is incredibly important. Crawford has the ability to defend his position, and he seems to have locked up the position by improving his batting average to .270 this year.

Belt is in a little different situation, inconsistency and lack of production can’t occur at a power position, and until recently Belt wouldn’t be included as a player for the Giants to build around. However, his recent swing adjustment has done wonders for his month of August, and if he can learn to produce consistently, the 25-year-old could be a key figure for the next 5-10 years on the team.

Bruce Bochy is the man who led the Giants to two World Series titles. His patient management style works to bring wide ranging personalities together. Hunter Pence might be one of those personalities, but as he enters the free agency at the end of the year, it’s illogical to include him in thoughts of future Giants teams until he re-signs with them.

Looking at next year, there is a specific reason to be excited for a strong Giants run, and his name is Pablo Sandoval. Giants fans know Pablo for his switch hitting power, and for his likeness to the Kung Fu panda. That likeness has at times angered Giants fans who viewed Sandoval as overweight and out of shape in recent years. Fortunately, next year Pablo should be in great shape, and doing everything possible to produce quality numbers. Sandoval enters his contract year, and his performance will dictate how the rest of his career goes. Look for an offensive surge from the Giants third baseman next year.

The Giants should improve their play in 2013, and hopefully Sabean can find Bochy other key pieces to the team in free agency. In years to come, Posey and the pitching staff will look to utilize the pitcher friendly AT&T ballpark for many winning seasons.