March 14, 2013
On the Beat
One Giant Leap for the Roster
If one thing can be said about the Giants—other than they have won two of the last three World Series, which is saying a lot—it is they are big believers in stability. General manager Brian Sabean is in his 17th season, giving him the longest tenure of any current GM. Bruce Bochy is in his ninth season as manager. Even the clubhouse manager, Mike Murphy, has been with the team since the Giants moved west to San Francisco from New York prior to the 1958 season.
Thus, it is not a surprise that of the 25 players projected to be on the Opening Day roster by Jason Martinez at MLBDepthCharts.com, 22 were in the organization last season when the Giants swept the Tigers in the World Series. The three “outsiders” are utility infielder Tony Abreu, reserve outfielder Andres Torres, and right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez. However, Torres was the center fielder and leadoff hitter and Ramirez was part of the bullpen on the Giants’ 2010 World Series champion squad before they were traded to the Mets for center fielder Angel Pagan during the 2011-12 offseason.
Sabean made sure he retained the Giants’ top two free agents during the offseason, signing Pagan to a four-year, $40-million contract and giving second baseman Marco Scutaro a three-year, $20-million deal. Pagan and Scutaro sparked the Giants’ offense from the top two spots of the batting order after Scutaro was acquired from the Rockies in a late-July trade.
However, many analysts believe Sabean overpaid both players. The 31-year-old Pagan has a .275 career True Average, while Scutaro is 37 and has a .263 lifetime TAv.
“Brian’s greatest strength is his loyalty to the people who work for him and his players,” one National League front-office type said. “Everyone loves working for him, and the players love playing for the Giants. However, his loyalty can also be a weakness. He tends to overpay, and I think just about everyone would agree that Pagan and Scutaro were both overpays, like Aubrey Huff.”
Sabean re-signed Huff for two years and $22 million after the first baseman/outfielder posted career highs with 5.8 WARP and a .312 TAv in 2010. However, Huff was below replacement level, at -0.2 WARP, in 579 plate appearances in 2011, then was limited to 95 PA last season.