I am tempted to just take what I wrote about the White Sox, copy it, change a few names, and wonder if people will notice. The Giants really are the National League version of the south side Chicago club; really good rotation, some bullpen talent, and a group of position players that mostly makes you cringe.
The bad: So much of the payroll is tied up in mediocre veterans that the team lacks the volume of good players it needs to surround that group in order to build a quality team. 47 percent of their 2010 payroll is tied up in Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, and Edgar Renteria. That hurts. With Lincecum getting good so quickly, he’s no longer cheap, so there just isn’t much money to go around, and that leads to things like Aubrey Huff, Starting First Baseman.
The end result is a weird roster, a team that has enough pieces to potentially contend but some glaringly obvious holes and a lot of question marks. Can the rotation make up for everything else? Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it, and if Lincecum lands on the DL for any length of time, this could get very ugly, very quickly.
Looking ahead, the farm system is weak after Posey and Bumgarner, whose missing velocity is a real concern. They don’t have a GM that has shown he can make shrewd, low cost acquisitions, and they lack payroll flexibility. The young guys on the major league team are good enough to keep this team from being dreadful (as long as they all stay healthy), but there aren’t enough of them, and it’s not clear where the help is going to come from.
Add it all up, and you have an organization with some good pieces in place, but too many problems to be considered one of the better clubs in baseball.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.