The 2018 season, which started with hope for the San Francisco Giants, turned out differently than imagined by many. The moves made by the front office in free agency brought talent to the ball club, but it didn’t pan out as well as they hoped. As we recap the 2018 MLB season, we can see what went wrong and what, perhaps, went right for San Francisco.
The Giants brought in two perennial All-Stars in Evan Longoria and former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. These big-name players both came in via trades with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively. Although both players didn’t feature in the All-Star game for multiple years before this season, the trades still got fans talking.
Longoria finished his first season in San Francisco with a career joint-worst batting average of .244, along with the least RBI and home runs in a year over his career – 16 and 54, respectively. Longoria was still an effective piece, on a losing team, and amongst the better defensive players on the roster. These stats were partially limited due to his restrictions at-bat, sharing the third base position with others – Pablo Sandoval.
McCutchen’s tenure in San Francisco came to an abrupt ending. He was traded to the New York Yankees in August for two players from the Yankees farm system. McCutchen appeared in 130 games for the Giants. He posted a .255 BA, 15 RBI, and 55 home runs. His effect was similar to Longoria’s, but had significantly more playing time, prior to his trade.
A Long Season
The Giants looked to be in a bad spot going into the year. The moves they made pre-season were good but the transitional period that they’re in had the season as a no-go all along. Bruce Bochy lead the team to a 73-89 record, finishing fourth in the NL West. The Giants’ April and May were gloomy – consisting of a six-game losing streak. Madison Bumgarner‘s return boosted the Giants defense, as he picked up his first win of the year during the San Diego Padres series in June. The Giants ace finished the year with a 6-7 record through his limited 21 starts. His 3.26 ERA wasn’t terrible, but the Giants’ pitching struggled this year.
The Giants offense wasn’t the best that has been seen, in recent years, however, there were times when runs came in quick succession. The Giants scored runs in double figures on six occasions during the year. For a team going through a transitional spot, there is still plenty of talent. The likes of veterans Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford were present. The latter having a terrific start to the year. Posey missed a large portion of the year, but was able to contribute, hitting .284. The team lacked in firepower. There were plenty of noticeable faces on the roster, but it wasn’t working out. The trading of McCutchen marked the end of a failed pre-season plan, which was liked by many but also questioned by others.
The Giants look to 2019 with a restructure needed. The tenth pick in the draft will help them add a prospect to their farm system. A handful of players will need replacing as the likes of Hunter Pence hit the free agency market. But, perhaps, free agency isn’t the way to go to get the depth needed. The bigger contracts given out already will hold the Giants back in the search for the players they need. The front office has a challenging task on their hands, but for a larger market team like San Francisco, it could happen.
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