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Prioritizing, Giants Baseball style

The baseball year is over (well, for some of us), and according to Chris Haft, who writes for Major League Baseball, the Giants have made a decision about top priority for this offseason.

The Giants, by the way, enter the last day of the season tied for last in the majors in runs scored (with the Nationals), 25th out of 30 in home runs, 15th in walks, tied for 28th in on base percentage, dead last in slugging percentage, dead last in OPS, and 29th in XBH. Oh, and our best hitter is not coming back, the fellow who led the team in homers, walks, OBP and SLG. There are a handful of young players, so there’s the possibility of improvement just by those players improving, but then there are a handful of old players, who are likely to decline. In other words, we had the worst offense in the major leagues, and we the roster we have signed for next year is significantly worse yet.

So, what is our top priority? Relief pitching.

Our relief pitching is 10th in ERA (which isn’t all that good a stat for a particular relief pitcher, due to some oddities, but isn’t all that bad a stat for a staff), 7th in Runs against, 14th in WHIP, 7th in SLG against, and 15th in OBA against. Not a good bullpen, but not an awful one.

So, how do we know that we improving our relief pitching would help?

“The Giants have played 93 games decided by two or fewer runs, most in the Major Leagues. Significantly, they're 39-54 in those contests.”

I am aware that Bruce Bochy has forgotten more about baseball than I will ever know. I’m just a schmuck with a blog. But it seems to me that if you have good pitching (Team ERA good for 10th in the majors, WHIP 14th, SLG against 7th, OBA against 15th), and you have lousy hitting, then you will play a lot of close games. This is not the fault of the pitching. If the Giants had scored more runs, those games would not have been close. If the pitching had given up fewer runs, those games would still have been close because we would have lost them 3-2 instead of 4-2. In those close games, by the way, they are 38-54; in the season they are 70-91, so they are 32-37 in the rest of the games. This surprises me: this team has won 32 games by more than two runs? How?

Look, this team getting below average offense at first base, second base, third base, shortstop and probably catcher. And the left fielder is leaving. That’s six lineup positions to fill. Sure, we could carry one slick-fielding weak-hitting position player. Conceivably two, if the fielding really is good, and it is. So. We need a first baseman, a second baseman and a left fielder, and maybe a catcher, just to pull our team up out of the bottom third offensively. Or we could worry about who is going to pitch seventh inning. It’s not easy to prioritize, but it’s not that hard.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,