Giants have ample production to replace six weeks into MLB free agency

Giants have ample production to replace six weeks into MLB free agency

If you go to a team page on baseball-reference, you'll see pictures of the top 12 players for each season, sorted by Wins Above Replacement. It can be a fun trip down memory lane. 

Click on the 2015 Giants and you'll see Matt Duffy, Jake Peavy, Chris Heston and George Kontos mixed in among the longtime core Giants. Go back to the last title team and you'll see photos of Jean Machi, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco. Pull up the legendary 2010 team and the first two photos are of Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres. 

The 2019 team didn't provide nearly as much value as most recent Giants clubs, but if you pull up the page for last season, the first thing you notice might be a little scary. Sorted by WAR, seven of the 12 Giants listed won't be on the roster on opening day. 

Now, the 2019 Giants weren't good, so it's not like running it back was ever something that should have been under consideration. They went 77-85 last year but won so many one-run games that they actually had a better record than expected. Their Pythagorean record (based on runs scored and allowed) was just 71-91. 

But Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris have said they want to be competitive as deep into next season as possible. This isn't a race for the No. 1 draft pick, and there's a lot of production that needs to be replaced before the team reports to camp in February ... 

Madison Bumgarner

He agreed to a deal with the Diamondbacks over the weekend, and no matter how you feel about the situation, there's no denying that Bumgarner brought a lot to the Giants last year. He was worth 2.8 Wins Above Replacement and leaves 207 2/3 innings that need to be filled. 

Will Smith

One of the best relievers in the NL, he's now a Brave. Smith was worth 2.2 WAR and the Giants don't currently have an obvious choice for the ninth inning. 

Pablo Sandoval

He sneakily provided 1.5 WAR and hit 14 homers while balancing out Evan Longoria. There was no choice to be made with this one. Sandoval had Tommy John surgery and will miss most of the season, but that's still some production that will need to be made up. 

Kevin Pillar

Before Bumgarner departed, non-tendering Pillar stood as the most controversial roster decision of the offseason. There are valid baseball reasons for the move, but that's still 1.4 WAR and 21 homers that's headed elsewhere. You're not supposed to talk about RBI in 2019, but Pillar drove in 87 runs last year. That production will need to be replaced. 

Stephen Vogt

He'll now catch Bumgarner in Arizona, and the Giants will need to find another backup catcher. Vogt was a perfect complement to Buster Posey, and he actually outpaced him by some metrics. Baseball-reference had Vogt at 1.2 WAR and Posey at 0.9; FanGraphs has Posey at 1.8 and Vogt at 0.9. 

Reyes Moronta and Sam Dyson

The Giants traded Dyson in July, he had shoulder surgery, and there are very good off-field reasons beyond that to keep him out of a clubhouse. But he threw 51 strong innings in four months for the 2019 team and Moronta, who is out until July or August with his own shoulder surgery, threw 56 2/3. These guys made solid contributions to last year's win total and will need to be replaced. 

[RELATED: Why Giants didn't keep MadBum forever]

Just from the free agents alone, that's over nine Wins Above Replacement no longer on the roster. You can argue that those players were likely to decline or not worth the investment, but there's no arguing how much raw production the Giants have to replace. 

There is some good news when you look at that leaderboard, though. Mike Yastrzemski (2.8 WAR) and Donovan Solano (1.6) ranked in the Giants' top six, and Zaidi has proven adept at finding those types of players in his career. The Giants will keep churning through the roster in hopes of building a sustainable winner. They'd better hope some of the players shine sooner than later because otherwise, it's going to be another very ugly number in the loss column.  

Ever wonder what happened to Ashkon, creator of Giants' postseason anthem?

Ever wonder what happened to Ashkon, creator of Giants' postseason anthem?

Editor's note: Every Tuesday and Thursday during this sports hiatus, we'll answer questions that Bay Area sports fans long have debated in "Ever Wonder?" Third up in the series: What happened to Ashkon, the creator of the Giants' 2010 postseason anthem?

The Giants' 2010 postseason run was blanketed with “Don’t Stop Believing” blaring in the background, covered by singer/songwriter Ashkon.

Ashkon created his own Giants-themed lyrics to Journey's classic hit, which you probably heard one night in a dive bar you frequented.

The song was the unofficial anthem for that 2010 Giants squad, who went on to win the franchise's first World Series since the team moved to San Francisco in 1958.

So, what happened to Ashkon?

He details what he's up to in the video above, and also discusses where the idea for the song came from. 

It appears he hasn’t aged one bit. 

More from "Ever Wonder"

Why Gabe Kapler feels Giants will return with same strong spring energy


Why Gabe Kapler feels Giants will return with same strong spring energy

It has been less than a month since Gabe Kapler addressed his team for the final time. The Giants were having an energetic camp, one in which new ideas flowed and veterans and young players were fully buying into what Kapler and a 13-coach staff were bringing.

Baseball reality would have hit them on March 26. The Giants were scheduled to start their season against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks on the road, with those two NL West frontrunners then coming to Oracle Park. Today, the Giants would have been playing their 11th game, and they would have already had a pretty good idea of how big of a talent gap still had to be made up. 

The Giants knew during camp that they would be outgunned, but Kapler was hoping to make incremental gains in other areas. He wanted his team to out-compete and out-prepare opponents and felt good about the progress. It's unclear when baseball will resume and what kind of Spring Training 2.0 teams will have if it does, but Kapler is confident that what the Giants were building will remain.

On an interview that aired on this week's Giants Insider Podcast, Kapler explained why he thinks the good vibes from a month of spring training will carry over whenever the Giants are allowed to compete again. 

"I don't think that that's going to be a problem," he said. "I don't think I'm alone in assuming that when we get to baseball, and we're going to get back to baseball, but when we get back there, there's going to be so much energy and excitement and appreciation for the game that I just can't imagine that that won't spill over onto the field."

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That was something the staff tried to instill over a month in Scottsdale. Kapler preferred to keep things positive, but above all the Giants were about competition. Veterans like Evan Longoria noted early on that there was a different feel to drills, which were faster-paced and often pitted players against one another. At the time the Giants went their separate ways, there were still plenty of jobs up for grabs. Kapler had not named a fifth starter or closer, and much of the bullpen and bench mix remained a competition.

"Our players embraced and supported and endorsed the new coaching style, the competition-driven coaching style, the challenging drills that we implemented," Kapler said. "And I can't think of a reason why, when we get back to baseball, that they wouldn't be craving more of that and that our coaches wouldn't be enthusiastic about implementing it."

[RELATED: MLB working on plan for May return]

On the podcast, Kapler discussed the day the Giants realize baseball was coming to a stop, how he's using a PlayStation game to get some managing work in, what the coaching staff is doing to try to stay sharp and how he's keeping in touch with his players. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here.