2018 San Francisco Giants
2018 San Francisco Giants / Franchise: San Francisco Giants / BR Team Page
Managed by Bruce Bochy
The 2018 San Francisco Giants were coming off having the worst record in the National League in 2017. While most teams would have taken this as a cue to start tearing up the team in order to rebuild, most observers seemed to agree that the team was not really that bad, but instead was a victim of everything that could possibly have gone wrong doing so, saddling them with an awful record. So, instead of seeing what package of prospects they could extract by trading away their star players, the Giants decided to double down and add a few veterans to plug obvious holes in order to extend their cycle of competitiveness by one or two more years. After all this was a team that had made the postseason as recently as 2016, and had won three World Series title since the start of the decade.
The Giants made two big deals during the winter, the first one to acquire 3B Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays and the second to snag OF Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates. In both cases, the trades had only cost them some young players who were not expected to contribute much in 2018 - although in the longer term, their absence could prove costly. Both Longoria and McCutchen had been among the top players in the league only a few years ago and while still productive in 2017, were on the wrong side of 30, making them liable to experience a steep decline at any moment. The Giants were betting that this would not come for at least a couple of seasons. Other additions included P Tony Watson and OF Austin Jackson, the latter essentially taking the spot of Denard Span, who had gone to the Rays in the Longoria deal. They joined a solid core that included C Buster Posey, 1B Brandon Belt, 2B Joe Panik, SS Brandon Crawford and OF Hunter Pence, all of them former contributors to World Series titles. On the mound, the top three of Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto was as good on paper as any other team's - if they remained healthy. Sam with the bullpen tandem of Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson: potentially devastating, but both coming off recent stretches of awfulness. Everyone was expecting a bounce-back from the Giants; the question was whether it would be big enough to take them back into postseason contention.
For all the efforts put towards improving the offense in the off-season, the Giants started the year in a huge batting slump, scoring just two runs over their first four games. They still managed to exit that opening series with a .500 record, as they won 1-0 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day, March 29th, thanks to a solo homer by Panik off Clayton Kershaw. They won again by the same score the next day, again thanks to a solo homer by Panik as Cueto gave up just one hit in seven innings. But they lost the final two games of the series by a combined score of 14-0. They were the first team since the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, who lost their first 21 games, to score so few runs in their first four games.
Awards and Honors
- Associated Press: "Madison Bumgarner, Giants ready to rebound from last place", USA Today Sports, March 22, 2018. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Giants buck trend, infuse veteran players over youth to spark club", USA Today Sports, February 28, 2018.