Giant’s season preview

Brenna Thompson, Copy Editor

The San Francisco Giants walked on to the field in Scottsdale, AZ Feb. 6 with a sense of renewed hope and vigor. It marks the start of spring training, and the start of the 2014 MLB season. Expectations for the team are high this year, and the players know they carry the weight of winning the championship title back from Boston. Between returning aces looking for blood and new faces, the reinvigorated Giant’s roster is poised to grab that trophy come October.

Veteran pitcher Tim Hudson is expected to be a key member of the Giants’ 2014 starting pitching rotation. Previously an ace for the Atlanta Braves, he is one of only two pitchers in the game to have over 200 wins. The Giants signed him in hopes that he’s as dominant as he was before the ankle injury that jeopardized his career last year.

In a press conference, manager Bruce Bochy called Hudson “one of the most highly sought-out pitchers out there… [Hudson] brings great experience and is a winner.”

Filling the position vacated by Barry Zito, Hudson will most likely be slotted into the starting rotation with returning stars Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain.

Zito is not the only 2013 Giant to bid farewell to the organization. Other players that have left the team include first baseman Brett Pill, who signed with the Kia Tigers of South Korea, reserve pitcher Eric Surkamp, who was designated for assignment, and outfielder Francisco Peguero, who was later signed by the Baltimore Orioles.

The loss of these players should not impact the Giants’ overall performance. Last season, Peguero only appeared in 18 games and Surkamp only pitched in one. Below Brandon Belt and Buster Posey in the pecking order for first base, Pill also appeared rarely as a pinch hitter.

In the absence of Peguero, and with Andres Torres’s return looking doubtful, the team signed veteran outfielder Michael “The Beast” Morse for $6.7 million. Previously a utility player for the Mariners, Nationals and Orioles, Morse can play first base, shortstop and left field. He has 83 career homeruns and 272 runs batted in, which shows he is what the team needs to strengthen its defense.

While the new season is expected to yield new stars for the team, many returning members are hoping to have a breakout year. Two Giants to watch are standout players Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence. They were a success last season and are expected to be even better this year.

Belt hit .289 last year with 17 home runs, whereas former All Star Hunter Pence hit .283 with 27 home runs. Belt is arguably the most reliable first baseman in the league and Pence played every game of 2013 even with injuries. But Bochy doesn’t just want them to be reliable; he wants them to be outstanding. Paired with other strong key players like Posey, Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval, they should be just that.

This year already has Giants fans buzzing about a third World Series bid in five years, and they seem hopeful this year will bring another win.

No doubt, the 2014 season will be interesting and thrilling: with new talent on the Giants’ roster and the veterans looking for a comeback, all the components are there for a winning team. Now all they have to do is put the pieces together.