Giants GM Brian Sabean built a deep bullpen, and now it could be the key to his team’s success in 2012
Sometimes the really important moves are the ones that go almost unnoticed. That’s how it looks with the Giants after new broke that closer Brian Wilson probably will have to undergo Tommy John surgery.” While we focused on GM Brian Sabean’s acquisitions of Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, his re-signing of left-handed relievers Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez could end up being just as important.
Sabean didn’t allow either of them to reach the free-agent market, and his construction of a deep, talented bullpen could be the key to the Giants’ season as Bruce Bochy searches for ninth-inning options. He also has right-handers Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, both of whom have terrific stuff. It’s not the way the Giants drew it up, but they’ve got some optimism that Wilson’s injury won’t deep-six their season.
“It’s always nice to have one closer, but a committee works, too,” Bochy said. “We’ve done that. We’ll probably have to make slight adjustments as we go–who’s available and who’s not, those types of things. But we’ve got experienced guys who are comfortable pitching late in the game. This is certainly a tough loss for us, but the guys that we have could soften this loss – like the great job they did filling in last year when Willie was gone.”
The Giants have jumped from 15th to fourth in runs, with Cabrera (.364), Pablo Sandoval (.333), Nate Schierholtz (.353) and especially Buster Posey (.300) all off to nice starts. Aubrey Huff’s 2011 slump has carried into 2012, and Brandon Belt hasn’t taken advantage so far.
But the Giants are still 4-4 despite the National League’s second-worst ERA. If you believe in Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, this is a part of the Giants that’ll right itself. The Dodgers appear to have changed the dynamics of the NL West race a bit, but there are miles and mores to go. Let’s all enjoy the ride.