2014 Giants are plenty deep for Bochy

AT&T PARK — Last year’s injury-riddled season exposed a major flaw in the San Francisco Giants organization: Depth in the starting rotation and the field.

With the Giants bringing back nearly an identical team to last year’s — and failing to add much depth in either category — fans may be holding their breath every time a Giant shows the slightest hint of a limp.

But don’t count on manager Bruce Bochy being worried:

“I think we have more depth than we’ve ever had.”

After losing second baseman Marco Scutaro to a series of injuries in 2013, the Giants were forced to try Joaquin Arias, Tony Abreu and Nick Noonan.

While none could recreate the consistency that Scutaro showed in the field and at the plate, Bochy wasn’t discouraged by what he saw:

“I think if you look at our depth, Joaquin (Arias) we just signed to a two-year deal, and you have to love a guy that can play third, short and second. He’s gifted defensively, but he’s a pretty good bat up there. (Ehire) Adrianza’s a gifted shortstop, that he’s out of options so we’re gonna have a tough decision with him, and Abreu showed a knack for coming off the bench and delivering big hits for us. He can play second and third. And I think Noonan will be there.”

Shortstop Brandon Crawford acknowledged how big of a blow it was to lose Scutaro, citing both the chemistry they developed up the middle of the field and the importance of Scutaro’s bat in the lineup.

Crawford also echoed Bochy’s sentiment about the bench players being able to step in for the injured player:

“I played with Nick in the minor leagues, so we’ve had time together where we can kind of establish a relationship up the middle. And then Tony, I played with in spring training a decent amount. Really we get to know each other during spring training or through the minor leagues enough that we can still manage up the middle.”

Retaining Arias, Noonan and Abreu gives the Giants a certain level of comfort in the infield with Scutaro and Sandoval being prone to injury,

Bochy acknowledged one of the biggest blows to the team came from losing center fielder Angel Pagan:

“We really missed him. That showed up even more than I thought it would. I knew we would miss him, I don’t want to take that lightly, or him as the talent that he is.”

The addition of Michael Morse as a potential everyday outfielder should help bring a rise in both average and slugging percentage to an outfield group that hit a collective .262 according to Fangraphs.com,

The Giants hope Morse can return to the form he showed in his final three years with the Washington Nationals where his average never dropped beneath .289.

Morse’s ability to produce those types of numbers are in question, though, as a nagging wrist injury dropped his average dramatically over the course of last season.

Though the Giants wouldn’t have signed him if they had any serious doubts regarding the injury, Bochy said that Morse may still be limited heading into spring training due to offseason surgery

The Giants offense struggled mightily with both Pagan and Scutaro out for extended periods of time, with the top of the lineup often failing to provide the heart of the order the chance to drive in runs. The Giants ended up in 22nd place in the majors in RBI’s finishing with 596. 

While Morse’s power may add to that number in 2014, the Giants starters must stay healthy in order to compete in the NL West. The Giants may have solidified infield depth, but the division rivals Los Angeles Dodgers’ pockets are even deeper.

Giants Media Day

SFBay photos by Scot Tucker and Godofredo Vasquez

SFBay photos by Scot Tucker and Godofredo Vasquez