With the Giants having the best top brass in baseball, how concerned were they about our starting pitching at the beginning of the year, given starters' ages and injury histories? Knowing what we know now, would our offseason pursuit of starting pitchers have been a little more serious? Also, how much do we miss the Panda [Pablo Sandoval]?
-- Bob B., Riverside, Iowa
I think the front office genuinely wanted to upgrade the starting pitching. You'll recall that early in the offseason, they seriously pursued Jon Lester. Later, they supposedly offered James Shields roughly the same amount of money that he eventually took from the Padres. I don't understand why so many free-agent pitchers spurn the Giants and the opportunity to perform at AT&T Park, where they can lower their ERAs by up to a full run. Of course, by joining the Padres, Shields went to another pitchers' park. And, at the risk of contradicting myself, I wonder whether the Giants could have explored the market more intently for second- and even third-tier starters -- the Aaron Harangs of the world, for instance.