The San Francisco Giants capped off their 2012 season with a resilient run through the postseason, finishing the year as World Series champions.
As they look forward to next year, there are many important potential free agents who they'll need to consider this offseason.
Perhaps the biggest key to the Giants' success in the second half of the season and in the postseason, Scutaro was the NLCS MVP and one of the hottest hitters in the game. While he was invaluable at second base and as the second-place hitter, he will be 37 next season, which may affect the kind of contract the team is willing to give him. An undeniable integral part of the team, the Giants should and will try to do what they can to re-sign him.
The player who scored the game-winning run in Game 4 of the World Series, Theriot was solid at second base for the first half of the season before Scutaro's trade from the Colorado Rockies. While a nice veteran infielder, his status with the team depends on Scutaro's return to the team. He'll be a borderline returning player based on how the offseason plays out.
Out all season, Scutaro and Theriot filled in well for the former NL batting champion. Unless he's willing to come back for the minimum, there is little likelihood he returns.
The only current player with a contract option, Huff has a $10 million club option and $2 million buyout. Given how he performed all season, his age and his injury concerns, he will likely be bought out of his contract.
A star for the Giants in center field and atop the lineup, Pagan had an excellent season in his first year with San Francisco. He will be a highly-sought commodity this offseason that will inflate his value. With needs elsewhere and a price that may be too high, Pagan may be one of the better players on the roster who may not be brought back due to financial reasons.
The most curious free agent case for the Giants this offseason, Cabrera enters free agency after serving his 50-game suspension. Despite all the negativity produced by Cabrera, he is still a young, flourishing outfielder who could be signed at a more affordable price due to his suspension. If he and the team can get back on the same page, Cabrera could potentially return to the Giants, an unlikely scenario a couple months ago.
Nady was a late addition to the roster after being released by the Washington Nationals. He was a part of the team's 25-man postseason roster but played sparingly and was the team's only backup outfielder in the playoffs. Unless coveted as one of the last members of the roster for next season, Nady's time with the team may have been short-lived.
Despite making $5 million in 2012, a high amount for a setup pitcher, Affeldt proved to be a huge contributor this season, especially for his efforts in the playoffs. With Jose MIjares and Javier Lopez on the roster, Affeldt may be one of the cost-cutting moves the team needs to make in order to re-sign other players at bigger positions of need.
Mota pitched fewer innings than usual during the regular season due to his 100-game suspension. While he did have some solid outings, his age is rising and interest for the veteran may only exist in the form of another minor-league contract.
Originally signed to a minor-league contract, Penny pitched in various low-stress outings in the year. He will likely not be brought back to the pitching staff.
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Austin Chang is a lifelong San Francisco Bay Area native, baseball fan, and supporter of the San Francisco Giants. Follow this Featured Contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.
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- Ryan Theriot