Giants top first offseason power rankings
December, 18, 2012
By Buster Olney | ESPN.com
Michael Bourn is still looking for a job, and so are Kyle Lohse, Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher, Adam LaRoche, A.J. Pierzynski and Edwin Jackson. Rick Porcello is going to be traded, and as much as the Detroit Tigers keep telling everybody they're prepared to open the season with a minor league pitcher as their closer, it seems inevitable that they will make a deal for someone to pitch the ninth. The Texas Rangers need to do something with their lineup, and the Baltimore Orioles haven't really fired any bullets yet. The Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners have money to spend.
But with the trade of R.A. Dickey, it appears the heavy lifting of the winter is all but over, and with winter solstice right around the corner, we present our first official offseason power rankings:
1. San Francisco Giants
The World Series champ has been king of the mountain two of the past three seasons, and unlike last spring, there are no significant overriding questions. Buster Posey demonstrated he is all the way back. Even without Tim Lincecum pitching at a Cy Young level, the Giants' pitching staff is deep, and they re-signed Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro. Time will tell what kind of condition Pablo Sandoval will be when he arrives in spring training, but the Panda wasn't exactly svelte when the Giants won the World Series two months ago. They've earned this spot.
2. Washington Nationals
They added Denard Span to the top of an already deep lineup. If Bryce Harper's numbers in the last month are a sign of what's to come -- the guy had a 1.043 OPS down the stretch -- he could be a monster at age 20 after having the best season of any 19-year-old in history. And Stephen Strasburg's innings count will climb to 190 or so, at the front of an outstanding rotation. They could still sign Adam LaRoche and J.P. Howell, but either way, Washington will go into next season as the favorite to win the NL East.