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Grant Cohn: Whether fluke or trend, 2013 season should be Giants' signal to get busy

  • San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence reacts in the dugout after scoring a run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth inning of a baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Giants failed this season.

The defending World Series Champions will not defend their championship this postseason. They ended play Wednesday 15 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot with 23 games to go. They haven't been mathematically eliminated yet, but they're history.

We're talking about the same players who won the World Series last year minus Angel Pagan, who tore a hamstring and missed three months this season.

And now, the Giants are one of the worst teams in the majors.

Is that a fluke?

Will the Giants be World Series contenders next year? And which players absolutely are essential to their future?

Let's go position-by-position with the help of New York Mets' scout and CSN Bay Area commentator Shooty Babitt:

Babitt on the Giants' starting pitchers: "Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are essential, obviously. They are front-of-the-rotation studs.

"Tim Lincecum, that's where the Giants are going to start looking at dollars and cents. How much money do they make every time Lincecum pitches? People love Lincecum, so I think that's the value. I don't know what his value is going to be on the market. That's going to be real interesting to see if teams think he can reinvent himself. He's been 50/50 with that. I don't think anyone knows."

Babitt on the catcher: "I guess the Giants are all right at this position."

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