By TED SILLANPAA
There’s no earthly reason to really be thinking about the world champion Giants’ 2013 season, but it appears some folks insist upon doing so. They’re wondering if the organization will pay to retain the services of second baseman Marco Scutaro and center fielder Angel Pagan.
Given that the Giants kept the 2010 world championship in tact, built around a young pitching staff, there’s no reason to expect the organization to approach preparation for the upcoming season differently.
Pagan isn’t really that far removed from a mid-summer swoon that even had KNBR’s forever-upbeat Marty Lurie calling for more Gregor Blanco in center field. The fact that Blanco was hitting around .200 for a good long spell at the same time spoke volumes for the disenchantment locally with Pagan.
The Giants won the World Series with Pagan a charismatic sparkplug at the top of the order and defensively at a position where speed is valuable in AT&T Park. Unless he somehow being on a championship team into a huge contract, the Giants have the money to keep him with a contract that covers a couple of seasons that they can live with. (No way I’m talking about free agents like Shane Victorino or Josh Hamilton! Not yet. No!)
Scutaro is 37 years old and had a career season with the bat, while just making every play defensively. The Giants wouldn’t have made the playoffs with Scutaro providing the punch that was expected to come from right fielder Hunter Pence when he came over in trade from Philadelphia. Pence, in fairness, provided an offensive upgrade over second baseman Ryan Theriot so … it all worked out perfectly.
Scutaro is to the 2012 Giants what first baseman Aubrey Huff was to the 2010 club. Both produced well beyond their offensive mean in the championship seasons. Both were deep into their 30s when the Giants were faced with re-signing them as free agents in light of the reflection of the world championshp ring they won for the club.
It seems inconceivable that Scutaro would be anything but magnificent for the Giants in 2013. It also seemed that there was no way that Huff would simply go bust in 2011. We know how things turned out for Huff after the Giants signed him to a rich, two-year deal.
Still, Scutaro’s just one of those guys who seems to get better and better. The club has no real alternative at second base and, really, unless some club offers him a deal that takes him into his 40s … he’ll be with San Francisco in 2013. (If he’s hitting .213 in July, remember how inconceivable the idea of letting him go seems right now.)
The fact that Pence became some sort of inspirational leader who produced in some clutch spots in the World Series means the Giants will keep him at whatever cost arbitration brings. If he produces like he has typically produced with the bat in his career, he could be the right fielder for years to come.