-GM Brian Sabean masterfully signed SP Randy Johnson to a one year contract that gives the Giants a veteran presence in the middle of their rotation. Even though Johnson is well past his prime, he can still be an effective pitcher and strike out plenty of hitters. Oh, and did I mention that Johnson is only 5 victories away from the elusive 300 victories plateau? Pretty exciting stuff for Giants fans.
2. Sandoval and Ishikawa
-Can these two young guys produce? That's the big question facing the Giants in 2009. Both Ishikawa and Sandoval had terrific seasons in the minors in 2008 and as a result, the Giants will be counting on both players to succeed at the plate. The Giants offense was terrible last season and Sandoval and Ishikawa will be the major reason why the Giants offense improves in 2009 or if the offense gets worse.
3. Will the real Barry Zito please stand up?
-When the Giants signed Zito after the 2006 season, the team believed that they had just signed their ace long term. However, Zito's two years with the Giants have been terrible. He has gone from one of the better pitchers in baseball to a complete waste of a roster spot. Zito has lost several MPH on his fastball and thus can no longer fool hitters with his breaking pitchers. Can Zito turn it around? This will turn out to be one of the better sub plots of 2009.
4. Tim Lincecum
-The reigning Cy Young Award winner gave Giants fans a reason to watch Giants games last season. The diminutive righty is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game today with his electric fastball and knee buckling off speed pitches. He is by far the best thing the Giants have going for them and it remains to be seen if Lincecum can defy physics and continue to perform at such a high level with his intense delivery. We're rooting for ya, Tim!
5. Will they score?
-The Giants offense sucked in 2008. Seriously, they had no punch, power, or consistency. As we head into the 2009 season, Giants fans will be eager to see if the offense improves at all with the additions of Edgar Renteria, Travis Ishikawa, Pablo Sandoval to the lineup. With the type of pitching the Giants have, if they are able to get substantial production from the offense, then this could be a team to be reckoned with in the NL West. If not, look for GM Brian Sabean to face intense scrutiny for not signing Manny Ramirez when he had the chance...