- Lineup: he sees Feliz and Molina at the bottom of the order (yeah, he sees that Feliz is nothing better than that!) but in the third position, while he sees lots of options there, including Durham, he is leaning towards Aurilia. Brian Murphy suggested a lineup of Roberts, Vizquel, Aurila, Bonds, Durham (then mistakingly, right after Bochy said Feliz at bottom, said Feliz, Winn, Molina).
- Closer: he thinks that Benitez can be good again, could return to his past greatness. He was a great reliever before and he don't see why he couldn't again. That said, Brian Wilson has been doing very well in Puerto Rico in the Winter Leagues (insane numbers, see sfgiants.com), so it is nice to have an option like that.
- Lincecum: management is talking about him quite a bit. He is impressive, special, with a hard to see ball and great velocity. He will be a long shot to make the roster (but does have a shot!), but could start or relieve, particularly set up or closing at first. Open mind on his role with an arm like his, they will see where they are with the staff before deciding what to do with him.
- Sanchez: for 2007, could start or relieve, depending on how the staff works out but they are leaning towards starting.
- Molina: his priority is handling the pitching staff, winning games, and helping the young pitchers develop. It is nice to have an offensive catcher plus he has been a clutch hitter during his career.
- Golden Gate Bridge: Apparently on game day he and the 'Dres GM walked from the St. Francis Hotel all the way over to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. He said his old catcher's knees started barking like bad during the walk. He also noted that he thinks he can survive a jump off the bridge. What a guy!
I would prefer Winn in the 3rd position, then we start the game off with 3 batters who have been leadoff guys and with speed, but perhaps Bochy wants less speed in the 3 spot since Barry would be up next. Plus then Winn can provide some speed at the bottom of the order, in the 6th spot. However, most lineup construction studies have found that the 3rd spot was not as critical to the offense as most of us thought while growing up in the 60's and 70's and 80's. At least he isn't talking up Feliz for the spot.
Armando as closer, returning to greatness? Isn't he a great company man already, hewing to the company line that Armando is a great reliever and thus hopefully inticing some reliever hungry team to take him off our hands, salary and all plus send us a prospect or two. The better news is that Brian Wilson is doing so great in Puerto Rico (with Todd Linden, who is also doing very well), after not doing so well during the season with the big club. If he can come through and claim a spot, that would greatly bolster the bullpen. In addition, the Giants had talked about him as a starter before, so I would pencil him in as a black horse candidate for the rotation if Sanchez, Hennessey, and Correia falters in the battle for the #5 spot, assuming the Giants pick up a retread now for #4.
Wow, Lincecum has a chance, albeit small, to make the roster coming out of spring training. That's exciting stuff! It will depend on both how the starters and relievers do: hopefully they will do enough that the Giants send him down to the minors, hopefully AAA, to see how he does in the hitters league first, he was so dominating in high-A with San Jose Giants. I would prefer to not see him in the bullpen but that might happen if the Giants trade Benitez somehow.
Yes, keep Sanchez a starter, don't just lean that way. Make do in the bullpen, have frequent flyer miles up from Fresno if they have to, sign every failed starter there is, but keep Sanchez starting. We need to see how he does in a full-time starter's role in the majors. If he can pitch the way he shows the potential for, what a rotation we would have in Cain, Lowry, Lincecum and Sanchez, we'll be set for the following 4 seasons in our rotation, from 2008 to 2011, more if we can keep them signed.
Nice to see that Molina's signing has more to do with handling the pitching staff and developing the young pitchers than just his offense, though that is nice too. We need to keep our staff developing and producing, they are our future.
People like to knock the Giants and, particularly, Sabean for only producing pitchers and no position players, but look at how the pitching staff has turned over in the past couple of years and all the pitchers who have come up and produced. If progress continues, we should start having pitchers who are good being pushed out of the rotation by our cream of the crop (Lowry comes to mind right now) and look at how much those types of pitchers are making, $10-11M per season (I'll be writing about that soon, FYI).
And look at what teams are offering for Mike Gonzalez, purportedly the Braves are dangling power hitting LaRoche for him, straight up, and what Washington got from the Reds for their two relievers, two starting postion players PLUS prospects.
Lastly, lets keep Bochy away from the Golden Gate Bridge before he decides to try out his idea, particularly if the team goes south the way many people have been predicting (to be clear, I can understand people's feelings right now, but I'm willing to wait until Spring Training to start panicking.