Big League Stew - MLB

The initial response of the San Francisco Giants fanbase to the Cliff Lee-Philly news contained at least one wry and funny line.

Tweeted @gggiants on Monday:  

[Lee] probably feels better surrounded by other pitchers who lost to the Giants in the playoffs.

But despite that humorous and accurate observation — the Giants did record wins over each member of R2C2 in the 2010 playoffs — you have to wonder if fans of the defending world champions will be laughing as much come next season. 

After all, while teams like the Phillies and Boston Red Sox load up for an assault on their Commissioner's Trophy, the Giants have been remarkably quiet for a newly ascended champ. So far, they've re-signed Aubrey Huff(notes) and Pat Burrell(notes) (overpaying the former, but getting the latter for a $1 million song), they've replaced one aging shortstop (Edgar Renteria(notes)) with another (Miguel Tejada(notes)), and they've said goodbye to infielder Juan Uribe(notes) when he defected to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-year, $21 million deal.

Not exactly the type of stuff that "we must protect this house!" cries are made of.

That's not to say that the Giants needed to immediately break into fire-drill mode and start spraying money at anything that moved on the free-agent market. They'll start next season with Buster Posey(notes) and Freddy Sanchez(notes) ready to play, GM Brian Sabean handcuffed himself with Barry Zito(notes) and Aaron Rowand's(notes) awful deals, and the other teams in the NL West have either neutered themselves (the San Diego Padres) or stood relatively pat during the early offseason.

There's also the not-so-little fact that the Giants boast a starting rotation that any of their fans will gladly put up against Philly's quartet of Halladay-Lee-Oswalt-Hamels. (Not to mention a superior bullpen.)

Still, you'd like to see Sabean doing a bit more juggling to boost the offense while the existing rotation remains young and cheap.

Yes, it was that pitching that dragged the rest of the team into the playoffs and the offense did catch lightning in a bottle in the month of October. The same thing could happen in 2011, but it's hard to imagine that Huff, Burrell and Cody Ross(notes) can replicate their performances, and Giants fans have to admit they'd feel more comfortable with a left-handed power bat in their runs-challenged lineup.

Whether such an acquisition meant using their playoff coffers to make a strong run at Adam Dunn(notes) (before the Chicago White Sox swooped in) or seeing what a one-year rental of Prince Fielder(notes) might cost (a deal that's still possible), Sabean would have been (or would be) well served to check out the possibilities of mixing up his deck a bit. It's rare that a team can repeat as World Series champs these days, but it's a task that's made even more difficult when a team doesn't make changes where changes are definitely warranted.

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