Monday, September 30, 2013

Despite the Poor Season, I Still Think the Future is Bright

It was a tough year for the Giants, with a little bit of a rally by winning 6 of their last 10 games they pulled into a tie for 3rd place in the division with a record of 76-86.  I had high hopes going into the year and while I thought 3 World Series Titles in the past 4 years wasn't likely, I thought a return to the playoffs was in the cards.  I can honestly say that the 2 titles makes a season like this much easier to deal with.  Also thinking forward to next year already (I sound like a Cubs fan!), I have quite a few reasons to feel optimistic.

I thought I would share my reasons with a few recent pick ups for the Giants collection.

First up is the Giants ace:

Madison Bumgarner truly stepped up to become the ace this year.  I believe he is easily one of the top 10 pitchers in the game and could possible by top 5.  He is still very young and locked up for a few years and I expect a Cy Young or two from him.

One of the Giants major issues this year was their starting pitching and Matt Cain contributed greatly to the team's challenges in the first half.  However he pitched quite well over the second half of the season despite a lack of run support - is there anyone over the last 5-6 years who has suffered the consistent lack of run support that has plagued Cain?  Like Bumgarner, Cain is locked up and I am very happy the Giants poured their resources into Cain instead of Tim Lincecum.

 The Giants just locked up Hunter Pence for the next 5 years.  He was their statistical leader and their inspirational leader and I, for one, am very happy to have him back.  If you look at his numbers, he had quite a year finishing off with a walk off hit today to win the final game.  Many Giants and baseball fans are complaining that he was paid too much but I don't agree. With the Dodgers bottomless pockets and the every increasing revenue to baseball teams I think his salary is probably just about right.  You also have to factor in how hard it is to put up power numbers at AT&T Park.

Brandon Belt had a fairly decent season, he ended up leading the Giants in OPS to go along with 39 doubles, 4 triples and 17 homers.  These aren't All Star numbers but fairly solid.  There is talk that the Giants may pick up a new first baseman in the off season and move Belt to LF.  He is a pretty awesome defender but I would support the move if it improved the lineup, LF was an offensive black hole in 2013.

All 4 of these are 2013 Ginter relics that I have picked up.  There are 8 total Giants relics in this year's release so I guess I am half way there.  Didn't really hear why there are 2 different designs for the mini relics, I think I like the darker border of the top 3 the best.

There are a couple other reasons I am feeling optimistic as well, these two guys in the 2013 Topps Chipz release:
Angel Pagan signed a fairly lucrative 3 year contract and spent most of the season injured.  I am hopeful for a bounce back season next year.  In 2012 he was a key piece to the team and this year in his absence the outfield consisted of Pence and a couple scrubs.  Belt, Pagan and Pence makes for a pretty solid OF.

Beyond solid is Giants C Buster Posey.  He is locked up for most of the next decade and in my opinion is the best catcher in baseball.  I will admit that Yadier Molina is very good but I would want Buster on my team.  He didn't have a repeat performance of his MVP year but had a pretty nice year in 2013.

Not sure about these Chipz, I bought a few packs at Target and only have these 2 Giants to show for it.  Now I have a stack of poker looking chips on my desk and most aren't even from teams I usually trade.  They are only 50 cents/chip ($2 for a 4 pack) so they are easy on the wallet but I really don't have a solid way to display them so I will probably go after a few more Giants and try to rid myself of the dups.

Maybe I am the eternal optimist, but I am already looking forward to next year.  As for the year, I think I am going to have to cheer for the team across the bay - the Oakland A's.  As long as the Dodgers don't win I am happy - I am already sick of all the fair weather LA fans talking about the team.

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