Your MLB Season Preview Starts Right Now: San Francisco Treat

With approximately 28 days until the 2009 MLB Spring Training season kicks off I'll do my best to give you a small preview of every team in league.

I will try to break each team down division by division starting with the NL West and more specifically, the San Francisco Giants, today.

When you take a look at the lineup it's easy to see why the Giants struggled toward a second to last place finish in 2008.

To be perfectly honest, the addition of shortstop Edgar Renteria doesn't make much of a difference to a lineup filled with no. 7-9 hitters. Renteria didn't have a particularly good year as his .270/.317/.382 line would indicate. His age, 33, also insists that he'll only get worse from here on out with regards to his defensive range.

The rest of the lineup is comprised of incumbent players lead by center fielder Aaron Rowand, second baseman Pablo Sandoval and catcher Bengie Molina.

Rowand put up numbers in 2008 that mirrored his 2005 season with a .270 average coupled with great defense. The problem is that Rowand is getting paid like a premier player, which is he not. In the first year of his contract with the Giants he tallied 13 home runs and 70 RBIs which was a considerable dip from the 27 home run, 89 RBI season he had with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007.

Sandoval figures to be a prime candidate for a breakout season after posting a .345 average over a span of 41 games. The Puerto Cabello, Venezuela native is only 22-years-old could be a nice player to have at the top of the lineup.

The final player I'm highlighting is Molina because of the fact he led the Giants in home runs (16) and RBIs (95). It's a scary thought to think that Molina would lead his team any category but that just goes to show how bare the offensive cupboard is at AT&T Park since Barry Lemar Bonds left.

While the offense will struggled to get more than three-plus runs-per-game ownership may have one more move up its sleeve. Throughout the winter free-agent left fielder Manny Ramirez has been rumored to stay in Los Angeles or leave for rival San Francisco. If the Giants pull in Ramirez it obviously makes the lineup significantly better while adding the starpower void left by Bonds' departure.

If they don't add anyone else the pitching staff could keep the Giants in the race in a very weak division. With NL Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain returning and the addition of Randy Johnson, the rotation should be rock solid if Johnson has any gas left in the tank. Should the Giants get anything respectable out off the 100-million dollar-plus man Barry Zito, it will have one of the better rotations in the game.

But unless the back end of the rotation shapes up and the offensive gets a shot in the arm the Giants probably aren't good enough to bump the Dodgers from their perch, much less the Arizona Diamondbacks.