It’s official: The Giants are no longer flying under the radar. Coming off a season in which they rallied to their second World Series title in three years, no teams will be underestimating the Giants in 2013.
Despite hitting the fewest home runs in the majors last season, the Giants were able to compete with an established pitching staff and some young players coming into their own to get to the playoffs.
From there, the road got a little bumpy, but the tight-knit group showed remarkable chemistry, staving off elimination six times in the playoffs.
Outfielder Andres Torres, who returns to the team this season after spending 2012 with the New York Mets, watched from afar as the Giants heated up going into the playoffs, winning a World Series crown.
“I knew they were going to the playoffs,” Torres said. “I know they always had a great team and the chemistry here is so good.”
Giants general manager Brian Sabean reacted to the championship much the same way he did in 2010, rewarding players with contracts and mostly keeping the team intact. While the Giants generally stand pat, other National League West teams have been buzzing with activity over the offseason.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, in particular, intend to make the Giants’ road to the playoffs much more difficult this time around. The Dodgers made a splash at the trade deadline last season, acquiring stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett from the Boston Red Sox along with hundreds of millions of dollars in salary. The spending continued in the offseason with the signing of right-handers Zack Greinke and Brandon League.
The blockbuster moves do have the Giants looking over their shoulders.
Veteran left-hander Barry Zito enjoyed a resurgence with the Giants in the postseason, delivering key wins in the National League Championship Series and the World Series.
As far as that target on their back? The Giants are still taking it one game at a time.
“Repeat and all that stuff, there’s no way we can even think about that right now,” Zito said. “We just have to play every day and play hard and see what happens. There’s no formula.”