The Giants beat the Rangers in five World Series games, but you can beat that shortly after the champagne dried in the visiting clubhouse at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, both respective general managers went right to work on the 2011 season.
Yeah, there is no offseason.
Though both clubs won pennants, they face varying degrees of difficulty regarding this offseason. We’ll start with the easiest …
Free agents: LHP Cliff Lee, RHP Frank Francisco, C Bengie Molina, C Matt Treanor, INF Jorge Cantu, INF Cristian Guzman, DH Vladimir Guerrero
Arbitration-eligible: LHP C.J. Wilson, OF Josh Hamilton, OF Nelson Cruz, OF Jeff Francoeur, OF David Murphy, RHP Darren O’Day, RHP Mark Lowe, RHP Dustin Nippert, RHP Brandon McCarthy, INF Esteban German
Needs: Catcher, right-handed relief, starting pitching, designated hitter
: Whether or not they resign Lee, the Rangers have laid the foundation, and they’re going to be a top-tier team in the American League for years to come
. But they of course need to go after Lee, because he’ll take them to a whole new level. Most of their core is coming back, though, which means they’ll once again have a great offense, a solid bullpen and pretty good rotation depth.
Texas’ payroll was at about $65 million in 2010 and will go up (perhaps all the way up to $90 million). If the Rangers don’t get Lee, they can counteract it a couple of different ways — by getting a mid-rotation starter like Carl Pavano, or moving closer Neftali Feliz to the rotation and getting a closer like Rafael Soriano — and then use the extra money to get a Victor Martinez or a Carl Crawford. Vlad should be brought back, especially since his option was declined and can be had at a much cheaper price.
Free agents: OF Pat Burrell, OF Jose Guillen, 1B Aubrey Huff, INF Juan Uribe, RHP Guillermo Mota
Arbitration eligible: RHP Santiago Casilla, INF Mike Fontenot, LHP Javier Lopez, RHP Ramon Ramirez, RHP Chris Ray, OF Cody Ross, LHP Jonathan Sanchez, OF Andres Torres
Needs: Corner outfield, corner infield, shortstop
Outlook: They didn’t call them the “misfits” for nothing. The Giants had a great starting rotation and bullpen, and they will continue to have that next season. But their offense needs a makeover, and rest assured GM Brian Sabean isn’t looking at last year’s phenomenal playoff run as any determination that the lineup is fine the way it is. It isn’t. The Giants need that steady run-producer they’ve always craved and could use some help at a few positions.
With that in mind, there is one player they need to go hard after: Jayson Werth. He gives them the pop they need and plays a position of need. On top of that, they need to bring back Ross, and I think they need to part ways with Burrell. Some help on the left side of the infield — in case Pablo Sandoval doesn’t bounce back, or Edgar Renteria (pictured; Associated Press) or Uribe aren’t brought back — would be a big help.
Celebrating is over. Time to get to work.
— Alden Gonzalez