Giants roster reflects youth over loyalty

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Giants roster reflects youth over loyalty

SAN FRANCISCO -- Proving if nothing else that they are not prisoners of a run-deficient status quo, the Giants churned up their Opening Day roster Wednesday.

Stuck with a conundrum at first base between Aubrey Huff, Brandon Belt and Brett Pill, they kept all three. Looking for a cushion for Buster Posey, they dropped Eli Whiteside (who was optioned) and Chris Stewart (who was traded to the Yankees for pitcher George Kontos) and made a place for Hector Sanchez. Trying to remake their outfield, they finished with Gregor Blanco.

They also promoted Dan Otero to their bullpen, though that is mostly pro forma until Ryan Vogelsong returns.

Then again, it wasnt the pitching that needed the makeover.

Still, eight of their 13 everyday players were playing every day somewhere else last April, which is an impressive remodel for a team that won 86 games a year ago.

The problem, though, was that based on their run differential in 2011, they were lucky to have won those last six, and everyone who pays attention to baseball knew it. In other words, overachieving with no offense pays off just as poorly as not.

The decisions made Wednesday means that only Posey, Huff, Nate Schierholtz and Emmanuel Burriss are everyday players with 2010 World Series rings. There would be a fifth if Freddy Sanchez were healthy, but that is so yesterdays news.

Thus, the allegedly conservative Brian Sabean shows that he has overcome his one instance of romantic loyalty, and the stereotypically age-bound Bruce Bochy now has 13 players whose average age is a shade over 27.

In short, if the Giants are any kind of team at all, they are a team in flux, and they are because a team with 590 runs on their resume has to be. Wednesday was not the day it all blew up, but it was the day they committed to a new broom.

Sanchez made it because he had the best spring of the three backup catchers, so much so that he overcame Whitesides reputation as a handler of pitcher and Stewarts arm. Belt made it because he hit too well in Arizona not to, and Pill made it because Ryan Theriot could not be the right-handed bench power alone. Blanco made it despite Huff being moved to the outfield.

And they all made it because 2010 is a million years ago.

There is still the question of whether this roster will work better than the one last year although the Galactic Overlord is the only one who could imagine how it could be worse but it is considerably different, which means that Sabean and Bochy were as sick of looking at last year as the rest of you.

And if you are prone to self-absorption, you can pretend that they listened to you specifically. Nice work, Miscellaneous Giants Fans. Your incessant whining paid off . . . kind of. Maybe. Youll know for sure in 162 games.

But if you didnt whine for the right people, you could be just as gone as Cody Ross or Chris Stewart. So watch yourselves.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

After five seasons with the Giants, outfielder Gregor Blanco has a new home.

The veteran outfielder has agreed to a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to his agent Wilfredo Polidor.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

The deal includes a $1 million base salary if Blanco makes the major league roster, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo. Blanco has a chance to earn an addition $2.7 million in performance-based incentives and has an opt-out of April 1 in the deal.

Shortly after Polidor made the announcement, Blanco thanked the D'backs on Twitter for the bringing him to the organization.

"Thanks to the @Dbacks for let me part of a dream the same dream I got another ring another championship let's all dream together we can doit," Blanco wrote.

Blanco bounced around from Braves to the Royals from 2008 to 2010, but found a home with the Giants prior to the 2012 season.

Over five seasons with the Giants, Blanco appeared in 649 games. He hit .259/.338/.360 with 244 runs scored, 78 doubles, 24 triples, 19 home runs, 157 RBI and 75 stolen bases.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Barack Obama pardoned Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey on Tuesday.

McCovey, along with Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in July of 1995. The crime came from not reporting income McCovey earned from signing autographs and appearing at sports memorabilia shows. 

McCovey previously pleaded guilty to not listing $70,000 he made from 1988-90, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Through the Giants, McCovey said: "I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Obama not only for this kind gesture on my behalf, but also for his tireless service to all Americans. He will be deeply missed and I wish him all the best in the future."

The 79-year-old McCovey was one of 64 people who received pardons from President Obama Tuesday as his final days in office wind down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.