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2006 San Francisco Giants Preview

2005 Overview:

Without all star Barry Bonds in their lineup the 2005 San Francisco Giants struggled to score runs and find an identity. Newcomer Moises Alou (.321 19 63) didnít quite match his 2004 numbers with Chicago when he hit 39 homers and drove in 106 runs but his bat proved a reliable addition. Joining Alou in the 2005 lineup were Mike Matheny (.242 13 59), Pedro Feliz (.250 20 81) and Ray Durham (.290 12 62) with rookie 1st baseman Lance Niekro (.252 12 46) providing the majority of offense.

Giant pitching in 2005 was led by Jason Schmidt (12 7 4.40) who fell from his 18 win season in 2004. Joining Schmidt for the bulk of the pitching duties where Noah Lowry (13-13 3.78), Brett Tomko (8-15 4.48) and newcomer Brad Hennessey (5-8 4.64). The bullpen remained stable with Tyler Walker (6-4 4.23 23 saves) and closer Armando Benitez (2-3 4.50 19 saves) combining to save a total of 42 games between the two of them.

Off Season Moves:

The Giants sought starting pitching help in the off season and look to improve with the signing of right hander Matt Morris (14-10 4.11 with the Cardinals in 2005). Morris was signed for three years, $27 million follars. Longtime starter Kirk Rueter was released and Brett Tomko signed as a free agent with the Dodgers. San Francisco traded for Baltimore's Steve Kline (2-4 4.28) and signed Tim Worrell (1-2 4.07). The team lost Scott Eyre to the Cubs via free agency. Veteran first baseman J.T. Snow, who played for 9 seasons with the Giants moved on to the Red Sox, clearing the way for young Lance Niekro to play in more games. Steve Finley (.222 12 54) was also acquired via trade with the Angels in exchange for 3rd Baseman Edgardo Alfonzo. The Giants also picked up Free Agent Mark Sweeney (.294 8 40) who matched his career high in RBI with the Padres in 2005.

2006 Analysis:

The return of slugger Barry Bonds alone should mean a better offense in 2006. Expect the Giants to be better then their 75-87 record in 2005. Finley is an interesting pickup. In 2004 he hit 36 home runs which were a career high. The Giants are hoping that Finley can have a rebound year and can perhaps hit 30 or more home runs hitting along side Bonds and Alou. Sweeney might surprise fans is allowed to hit regularly. Niekro also should blossom with better hitters around him. The lineup is much improved with a healthy Bonds returning.

If Schmidt rebounds and Matt Morris turns in a similar performance as he did last year (14 wins) then the starting rotation will be solid as well. Expect Lowry and Hennessey to also improve in 2006 with more innings under their belts. The Giants are also looking for a full season from closer Armando Benitez which should also help the bullpen. The Giants should be much better in 2006 and will chase the Padres for the NL West title.

Submitted by:

Jack Scrafford

Jack Scrafford recommends PlatinumTickets to buy San Francisco Giants tickets. See http://www.platinumtickets.com/mlb/san_francisco_giants_tickets.html for more information




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