It was a lackluster finish to the San Francisco Giants 2011 campaign, though there is a lot to be positive about for the upcoming 2012 season. Just what can you expect from the Black and Orange next year? Well, first we must take a look at some glaring questions about their future....
1) Will the Giants sign Carlos Beltran?
I really, really hope they do, but I would not be shocked if he was somewhere else next season. The Yankees and Red Sox will undoubtedly be interest, as will any other team with a decent sized pocket book and a hope for a switch-hitting machine like Beltran. We'll have to wait and see on that one.
2) Will Buster Posey be Healthy by Spring Training?
He's already getting there. He's been working in Arizona since the end of the season with side bullpen sessions and getting back into the routine of being a catcher. He lost some muscle while he was out, though I doubt that will be a problem. My biggest questions is what he can bring to the plate next year, as almost six months of no baseball activities has to kill your timing.
3) What about Freddy Sanchez? Is he coming back?
Yes, Freddy will be back and ready to go by Spring Training, but I'd still have to think they'd be trying to pick up another middle infielder this offseason. Jeff Keppinger and Mike Fontenot did well filling in, but Brandon Crawford simply isn't ready yet hitting wise for the big leagues, so look for a new face on the team next year in that department.
4) Will the Giants Keep the Pitching Staff Intact?
Most of the starters and bullpen will likely be back next year, though two names jump out at me as possible candidates for trade. Jonathan Sanchez would be some great trade bait this offseason has is value is still high, though maybe not as much with the Giants. His injury plagued season kept him from really getting into a groove, and his high amount of walks was just unacceptable. He could be part of a deal that landed a middle infielder, or better yet, another slugger.
5) Can the Giants Make the Playoffs Next Year?
Of course they can! They managed to stay afloat and in the race for a majority of the season despite being absolutely depleted with injuries, and if they can get power hitters like Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Beltran into a lineup together, with a guy like Tim Lincecum on the mound, that is a formidable team right there.
For more on the Giants, head over to McCovey Chronicles.