Friday, January 16, 2009

San Francisco Giants in 2009: Fighting the Rise in Expectation

I'm fighting it, I really am. But it's getting harder and harder to resist the urge to give in. The San Francisco Giants have made a fool of me so many times recently, yet I'm beginning to believe in them again. Like I said, I'm trying to keep it on the level. The problem is that their offseason keeps getting shinier and shinier as the rest of the division continues to hang in suspended animation.

To say that this isn't exactly new territory would be generous. I've written not once, but twice before on this very subject (and I've mentioned it obliquely several thousand other times).

Some of it's shock. Some's confusion. And some's excitement.

I'm shocked that the rest of the clubs have done so little to replace some considerable losses. I'm confused because the stasis makes no sense considering how weak the National League West has been recently. I'm excited because, the longer it lasts, the better the Giants' chances become of grabbing the pennant that's just sitting there for the taking.

Well, don't look now sports fans. But, not only is the deep freeze still clamping down on the Senior Circuit's left-most division, it seems to be getting icier.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have already officially lost Derek Lowe, Takashi Saito, and Brad Penny. They just cut ties with Andruw Jones, which means they'll probably pay him $18+ million in 2009 to ride the pine for another squad (here's an idea: it'd only cost the Giants $400K and maybe he'd come to camp motivated). Additionally, the Bums figure to lose Jeff Kent, Nomar Garciaparra, and Joe Biemel.

To counter these losses, LA has brought in Mark Loretta and re-signed Rafeal Furcal as well as Casey Blake. The boys from Chavez Ravine remain the odds on favorites to re-land Manny Ramirez.

I'm still not impressed.

The San Diego Padres, 2008's cellar-dweller in the NL West, had almost nowhere to go but up.


The Padres have managed to find a little more air to let out of the tank. Khalil Greene will be lacing 'em up for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009. Trevor Hoffman will be in a Milwaukee Brewer uniform. The response? SD signed David Eckstein and are rumored to be interested in Omar Vizquel. Wow, talk about a soft middle infield. Those guys probably wouldn't manage five homeruns combined.

And forget about help via a trade.

The only rumor involving SD has Jake Peavy departing for talent that won't be Major League Baseball ready for a year or two (if not three).

Not only that, the owner is trotting out some nonsense about his divorce and subsequent financial difficulties as his defense. It appears his marital discord and dissolution will prohibit the Fathers from seeking any celestial help through the wire.

See, this is the reason you can't really dislike San Diego baseball fans. No matter how great their offenses, there are still so many more/better reasons to pity them.

Nothing much has changed since last I addressed the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.

Arizona still sits on its hands as Brandon Lyon, Juan Cruz, Orlando Hudson, and Adam Dunn all languish on the wire. Folks in Mile Hile Country still await a rebuttal to Matt Holliday's exodus although Brian Fuentes is now officially a memory (not that he was still necessary with Huston Street and Manny Corpas in residence).

Oh, and the Rox brought in Jason Marquis.

Again, yawn.

When the Orange and Black signed Randy Johnson, I was a little skeptical about San Francisco's chances. But then I warmed to the idea. As time passed and the silence from the rest of the division grew deafening, I warmed a little more. But I never gave over completely because I knew the flurry of activity was coming.

Pitchers and catchers report in 28 days and, still, nothing. Just more regression.

So, yeah, I'm fighting it.

And I've never before enjoyed getting my ass whipped so thoroughly.

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