Pitchers, Catchers and SF Giants worries reporting…
For many fans of the Orange and Black, Saturday’s KNBR Fan Fest was the official start of baseball season. The Q&A stage is always the highlight of the day and everyone is just so happy to see their favorite players again, old and new, that any potential issues or problems are far off in the distance.
If you are anything like me, it was a bigger deal that pitchers and catchers officially reported today than it being Valentine’s Day and now it’s officially official that baseball season is ON! It’s a chance for a fresh new start. Another opportunity to make it to the World Series. New records, new milestones, new chances to make a mark.
So what on earth could I possibly be worried about? We got a shiny new closer who’s been winning over fans since day 1. Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker are going to get an opportunity to provide some pop and youth in the outfield, something that has been lacking for longer than I can remember with our homegrown talent. (Seriously, why can’t we grow outfielders?!) Our starting rotation should be one of the best there is in the game, and even with Matt Cain having to compete with Ty Blach and Tyler Beede for that 5th spot, those all sound like amazing options for the backend of the rotation.
Everything is great right? RIGHT?!?
We lost a lot of players this offseason and more importantly, a lot of rings between all of those players. Maybe it was just something we all knew was going to happen but some of these players who are likely moving on to other teams have kind of slipped out of our minds and our hearts like they didn’t ever accomplish anything for the Giants.
The most obviously heartbreaking reality to me is the “Core 4" being officially no longer. Javier Lopez called a career, and an amazing one at that. The thought of never hearing “Coastin” again in the later innings on a Sunday afternoon makes me really sad. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla both were not offered contracts and chose to seek opportunities with other teams. That alone is enough to deal with.
On top of those beloved members of one of the best bullpens any team could hope for, the list of other players not returning is slightly staggering. Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan and Jake Peavy being the most significant players that are moving on from the City by the Bay. That’s a total of 14 combined World Series rings out the door.
The Veteran leadership of players like Jake Peavy and Javier Lopez will surely be missed more than their recent on the field contributions. Gregor Blanco was never really an offensive threat but his abilities defensively were magical. He was an integral part of the 2012 and 2014 World Series runs and no one will ever forget him saving Matt Cain’s perfecto.
That’s a lot of heart, soul and true grit for the other guys to pick up. It’s making me a little uneasy, at least for now.
Combine that with all of the things we are now learning about how bad the bullpen situation was between the players and Bochy and one has to wonder, “Has the window closed? Is our magical reign coming to an end? Is there trouble in paradise now?”.
It’s a lot to think about and process for me. And it will probably continue to weigh on me until there are actual baseball games being played and we have some tangible results to put with this team that should still be one of the best in the National League. Here’s hoping some of these new faces will not only win us all over on the field, but can step up and maintain the excellent clubhouse cohesion that we all expect to be present. And they can bring the fun stories and weird quirks we all love with them too.