Things may be looking up for Giants

Jonathan Little, jlittle[email protected]

Just like the Oakland A’s column that was published last year, I made an outlandish prediction for how the 2017 San Francisco Giants season was going to go for the team in the city by the bay. I said that the Giants had the team to challenge the Dodgers, the Cubs and go to the World Series. However that didn’t happen, and in fact my prediction was way off. The Giants ended up finishing the 2017 season last in the National League West division with a record of 64-98, tied with the worst record in all of Major League Baseball.

     The way the Giants played last year caught many fans by surprise, because with a roster that includes Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Madison Bumgarner and many household names that play at an elite level, we expected the best and last year wasn’t the best. The 2017 Giants were hit with the injury bug for a good portion of the season, as their starting nine players played together only a handful of times throughout the year. For Giants fans, it was hard to watch, and as a viewer it was difficult to know what Giants team we would be getting on a game-to-game basis.

     On those days fans were wondering if we were going to see the team that has won three World Series championships or the team that couldn’t find its way out of a cellar. The 2017 season was frustrating and the Giants front office knew that changes needed to be made if they were going to contend in the following season.

     Throughout the offseason, the Giant’s front office were looking to upgrade their outfield, bullpen, and looking to add depth to have options during the 2018 season. However, the big news of the winter from the Giants was the pursuit of 2017 NL MVP Giancarlos Stanton, and taking on his 295-million-dollar contract. Throughout the process, the Giants were looked at as the favorites to land Stanton, but the efforts were for nothing as the front office had to watch Stanton slip right through their fingers as he was acquired by the New York Yankees, after Stanton denied the Giants trade for him. So after spending two months focusing on Stanton the Giants need to find a new plan and acquire players that can lead to success in 2018.

     Only two days after the Stanton trade went down, the Giants made the surprising acquisition of all-star third basemen Evan Longoria, who spent all of 10 seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. Longoria saw a lot of success in his ten years in Tampa Bay, as he racked up many All-Star game appearances, and solidified himself as an elite third baseman. In 2017, it was a down year for Longoria as he had a batting average of only .261, but he drove in 86 RBI’s (runs batted in) which is a category the Giants struggled with in 2017.

     After upgrading at the third-base position, the Giants made another trade for an all-star and former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, who played nine years with the Pittsburgh Pirates. For McCutchen he had a solid bounce back season in 2017 slashing a batting average of .279 and had 88 RBI’s. For the Giants, they made trades that could be considered risky due to the age of the players but are solid to the extent that they are performing well now, and the Giants are looking to contend in 2018.

     After the two big deals of the winter for the Giants, they were able to make small deals with outfielder Austin Jackson adding depth to a struggling outfield, and relief pitcher Tony Watson to bolster a bullpen who in years past have dominated Major League Baseball. With the team now set and ready to go, and rookie prospects such as Steven Duggar, Tyler Beede and Chris Shaw on the rise in the Giants system the team looks ready to contend in 2018.

   A few key aspects for Giants fans to pay attention to this year are scoring runs, the effectiveness of the bullpen and maintaining depth to build success. If the Giants can succeed at those three levels of the game we could see a very competitive NL West the features the NL champs Los Angeles Dodgers, the rising power of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the young Colorado Rockies.

     The 2018 San Francisco Giants on paper again have the looks of playoff caliber team, and as the season goes on we will have to see if the Giants veteran approach will lead to a successful 2018 campaign. Look for the black and orange to compete in the NL west as it may be hard to bring down the rivals to the southern Los Angeles Dodger’s but if they can win ball games and build success look for them to compete in 2018 and push toward a postseason berth.