So much depends on Fatso the Third Baseman.
For the San Francisco Giants, that is.
The Giants are in desperate need of a power hitter, and Fatso, in smaller incarnations, has been that guy. He has a quick bat from either side of the plate. He's just a natural-born hitter, except when he can't get around on the fastball — too many meatballs the night before. He's such a load he barely can bend for groundballs or field his position.
Rarely has a world-class athlete taken such poor care of his tools — his body and its various parts. I am not talking about run-of-the-mill overweight people like me. I'm talking about a professional athlete. The word is he's gone back to Venezuela this offseason instead of training and sweating in Arizona. You wonder if he'll show up for spring training in shape.
But this is not merely a get-Fatso column. It's a State of the Giants column. Specifically, it is about the Giants' baseball philosophy, because they sure have a philosophy.
Right now, they are acquiring and organizing their pitching. For this they deserve praise. Pitching always has been part of baseball.
They began with two blue-chip starters — Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. They re-signed Tim Lincecum. It is a risky signing. Not because they paid too much for the slight right-hander — their money is, well, their money. The potential problem is simple: No one, not even the Giants, knows if Lincecum, with his diminished skills, still is a quality starter. We'll find out pretty soon.
Last week, they signed Tim Hudson, another risk. He's 38 and coming off a busted ankle. But he could be good. That is to be determined.
They still need a fifth starter. Bronson Arroyo went on a San Francisco radio station last week and virtually begged the Giants to sign him.
Just the other day, the Giants re-signed reliever Javier Lopez. And all that means, in theory, the Giants have a competitive, perhaps even an elite pitching staff.
And that means the Giants' philosophy is, "Get pitching, and then get more pitching." They won two world championships as a pitching-heavy, pitching-dominated team. They are trying to replicate those successes by replicating the model of 2010 and 2012. Their philosophy is obvious.
So, OK, let's give them credit for being active, for trying to keep up with the Dodgers and for being philosophical.
There's just one thing. The Giants can't hit. They really can't hit. In the hitting department, they are hold-your-nose material. The Giants' brain trust — Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and others — may think pitching is enough. If they do, they better get another philosophy.
In 2010, the Giants got major offense from Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross and Juan Uribe among others. In 2012, they got major offense from none other than Fatso, the MVP of the World Series.
In addition to the hurler (don't you love the word hurler?) a National League team needs eight guys in the field and those guys need to hit. If the Giants think they can put eight cardboard cutouts at the various positions, they are mistaken.
After the Giants methodically complete their starting rotation and bullpen assignments, one hopes they acquire hitters. A reasonable person expects them to get hitters.