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2014 Outlook: San Francisco Giants

Feb 1, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

2013 record: 76-86, 3rd place in NL West
Manager: Bruce Bochy, 8th season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $154 million
Key additions: OF Michael Morse, SP Tim Hudson
Key losses: SP Barry Zito, RP Chad Gaudin, OF Andres Torres

Projected lineup
CF Angel Pagan
2B Marco Scutaro
1B Brandon Belt
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Michael Morse
SS Brandon Crawford

Projected rotation
RHP Matt Cain
LHP Madison Bumgarner
RHP Tim Lincecum
RHP Tim Hudson
RHP Ryan Vogelsong

Top relievers
CL Sergio Romo
RHP Santiago Casilla
LHP Jeremy Affeldt

Biggest questions entering 2014
1. Will their rotation bounce back? Before the 2013 season the Giants had ranked no worse than sixth in MLB in starting pitchers ERA for four straight years. From 2009-11 they ranked no lower than third. But last season, as both Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong struggled, the Giants dropped all the way to 24th in baseball with a 4.37 combined ERA from their rotation. For them to return to contention, that will obviously have to change. Cain will need to re-install himself as one of the game’s best pitchers, and Vogelsong will have to be better than the 5.73 ERA he posted last season. Tim Hudson has also joined their rotation. If healthy, he could be a great addition.

2. Can Brandon Belt take the next step? First baseman Brandon Belt finally tapped into his immense potential in 2013 with a strong year. He hit .289 with an .841 OPS, hit 17 home runs and drove in 67 RBI. Those are good numbers, but at 25-years-old Belt can be even better. Belt has All-Star potential, and if he builds off 2013, could reach that milestone this season. A big year for Belt would help the Giants get back to playoff contention.

3. Can they keep up with the Dodgers? The Giants won the World Series just two seasons ago, but since the Dodgers have passed them in the standings and figure to be a favorite for 2014. Los Angeles is loaded and will be a popular World Series pick. If the Giants can get their starting pitching in order, they should be legitimate contenders in the NL West. In order to win the division, however, it could take upwards of 95 wins when last year they won only 76.

  1. cayucosbaseballconservancy - Feb 1, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    The Beast lands in Tiburon land of the Shark.

  2. Chas - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Humm Baby!

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 1, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    still surprised that they have two world series out of last four times.

  4. natsfan1a - Feb 2, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    Go get ‘em, Buster!

  5. ArVAFan - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    Good morning (and it is a good morning)! Went to a concert last night, and was too wound up to go to bed, so finalized my Spring Training trip. Going early this year: Feb. 15-19. Work schedule dictated the timing. Staying on the beach at Melbourne. I promised my office that I wouldn’t rub it in by broadcasting my Monday call from the ball field–but I didn’t say anything about not broadcasting from the beach.

    So this will definitely be different than last year, when we were catching the early games and the minor league drills. For zmunchkin: last year, the day before the first game was the official photo day, so the major leaguers weren’t working out where you could see them (okay, we saw them over the stadium fence. Jayson Werth doing jumping jacks while in full hair is, well, memorable. And Desi was sporting that, um, mustache that we saw in his photo all year–even though he shaved it off right afterwards). But the minor leaguers were doing drills (no fences, exactly, but Rendon could hit the ball a long ways). So if the schedule is the same, the 27th may not be as interesting as the day before or after.

    Of course I’ll be posting, but it will be back at the hotel. I’ve discovered that posting from the phone means “waiting for administrator approval” of the post and by the time that arrives, the discussion has moved on.

    • unkyd59 - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      Hmmm… My phone posts go right up… Mebbe after a few more the admin will more readily recognize you?

      • ArVAFan - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:44 AM

        Worth trying. Maybe I’ll email our kind host and ask him if my phone can be added to a white list?

  6. tcostant - Feb 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Good luck old freind Michael Morse. I hope you have a big year and some big FA dollars in the fall.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 47 --
ATLANTA 58 48 --
MIAMI 53 53 5.0
NEW YORK 51 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 60 11.5
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m. TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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