Moody column: Giants focus on Sandoval

Much of the dialog surrounding the San Francisco Giants has centered around third baseman Pablo Sandoval, and whether the Giants can keep their popular third baseman on the club.

I like Sandoval. He’s baseball’s version of Charles Barkley, a tad overweight but a great player. Now Sandoval isn’t destined for Cooperstown or anything like that, but he’s one of the best third-base packages in the game today with his arm, glove and bat. For a big man, he moves well. Are the Giants making too big of a deal about his weight? Maybe.

It would be better for Sandoval’s health long term if he lost some weight, and I know a little something about that, having gone from obese to overweight. Still, the Giants aren’t signing him for the rest of his life, and if they make too big of a deal about it, Sandovl may take his skills somewhere else. I think he’d be great in the American League where he could DH once in a while.

Sandoval has already rejected the Giants’ qualifying offer. There’s three years on the table, but the Sandoval camp wants five or six. Can Sandoval stay healthy for that long?

If Sandoval were to leave, why not take a pek to see if Buster Posey could play third base. Heck, the guy was a shortstop in college. Who’s to say he couldn’t make the transition to third base? Posey certainly needs to get out from behind the plate so he can extend his year and save his knees. He hit higher as a first baseman, and that doesn’t surprise me. There’s less pressure at first. It’s less taxing physically. Could Posey play left field? That is something which is worth looking at, too.

The Giants also need to make some decisions on their pitching staff.

Let’s start with the bullpen. Hunter Strickland was up and down in his brief appearances last year, and Santiago Casilla is OK as a closer. If I’m the Giants, I’m looking for a dominant closer. I’m OK with Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo, who I think will bounce back from his mediocre season of 2014.

In terms of starting pitching, a key to next year will be how Matt Cain comes back from his injury. Can he regain his form from a couple of years ago, or is he through? Tim Hudson, Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong are old. I’m guessing only one of the three will be back in the fold next season. The Giants say Tim Lincecum will be back in the starting rotation. He’s certainly popular with the fans, but can he start anymore, and is he worth the money he’s making? The answers are no and no. I’d like to see Yusmeiro Petit in the starting rotation along with Cain and Bumgarner.

Would the Giants open the pocketbook for Jon Lester?

I love Joe Panik at second base, and I believe Marco Scutaro seems destined for being released or being a utility player. Matt Duffy came up with some big hits and showed versatility. I’m not a big Joaquin Arias fan because he doesn’t hit well enough. What about Oakland’s Jed Lowrie?

Angel Pagan is a great table setter at the top of the order, and the Giants missed that when he missed the latter part of the season with back issues. Gregor Banco is better hitting seventh or eighth, or even the No. 2 slot. We’ll see what the Giants want to do with Michael Morse, who got of to a fast start and faded.

I like Michael Cuddyer, but can he stay healthy?

A lot of questions to be answered.


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