SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Like it or not, the San Francisco Giants roster that ended Game 7 of the World Series passing around a trophy isn’t the same one that will be lined up for a World Series ring ceremony at AT&T Park next spring. What would be the biggest losses from the current free agent crop? Let’s start with the obvious…
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Before he’d even finished off his third World Series run the rumors were swirling that the Red Sox were in hot pursuit. Now there are reports that the White Sox and Blue Jays have also jumped into the race. Sandoval’s agent says the 28-year-old wants a six-year deal that would almost certainly cost more than $100 million. It’s a tough call for GM Brian Sabean and the ownership, they’ll likely either pay far more than they want to to keep a player with weight management problems long term, or they’ll be forced to watch a fan favorite who plays elite defense walk with no obvious backup plan.
Sergio Romo, RP
No longer the closer, Romo is still a key weapon for Bruce Bochy coming out of the bullpen. When paired with lefties Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt, Romo has created matchup nightmares for opposing managers on all three World Series campaigns. Like Sandoval, he says he wants to stay, but how much can Sabean tie up in the bullpen?
Michael Morse, LF
If you’ve watched the Giants offense whimper through 2013 then you know how much it means to have someone on the bench capable of hitting a homer whenever his name is called. Morse proved to be that guy this year (and in the NLCS) and was one of the reasons the team moved up from second to last in homers to #12. The left fielder was also responsible for what turned out to be the game-winning RBI in Game 7 of the series. Not a bad resume after a year in San Francisco. But the team got him at a bargain last year, and he likely won’t be a discount this year. Combine that with below-average defense, and a lot of people see him switching back to the American League this winter.
Jake Peavy, SP
Think Jake Peavy enjoyed his stop in San Francisco? He was 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA with Boston before being traded to the Giants for the stretch run. He closed out the season with a 2.17 ERA and ate up valuable innings as the Giants struggled recover from the loss of Matt Cain. Despite losing both World Series starts the 33-year-old may have rebuilt his reputation enough to earn a big payday this offseason. The Giants need starters, but it’s not clear how hard they’ll pursue Peavy.
Ryan Vogelsong, SP
Vogie’s career resurgence was one of the highlights of the 2011 campaign, and prior to his last two starts this year he was almost Madison Bumgarner-level dominant in the postseason (surrendering four runs in four starts). With pretty much all of the high points of his career coming in a Giants uniform. It’s hard to see him wanting to go anywhere else this offseason. Will the Giants include a 37-year-old in their rotation rebuilding plans? It may be a few months before we know. The Giants have already said Sandoval is their top priority.