SAN FRANCISCO -- Acquiring one impact player is a sufficient cause for celebration for most teams. Imagine adding three potential difference-makers to the roster, and you'll know why the Giants sense more than their usual optimism as Spring Training approaches.
The Giants committed more than $250 million to right-handers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija and center fielder Denard Span in the hope that the trio can help the club return to the postseason. San Francisco was among the most aggressive teams in free agency this offseason, and the organization believes that attitude can carry over onto the field.
RHP Cueto: At first glance, the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Cueto may appear out of shape, but people who knew him in Cincinnati insist that he's dedicated to conditioning himself properly. This doesn't explain why Cueto has performed significantly better in the regular season's first half (58-39, 3.00 ERA) than in the second half (38-31, 3.73), though.
RHP Samardzija: Ascertaining why Samardzija yielded 29 home runs, matching four other starters for last year's American League high, should be an engrossing spring project for the Giants. Performing in the thin Arizona air should help Samardzija prove to himself whether his adjustments are working, even if the games don't count.
CF Span: Health is as much of an issue for Span as it is for Angel Pagan, who appears destined to step aside into left field and let the newcomer handle center. Recovering from three surgeries in nine months, which Span experienced, would be a formidable task for anybody. Span insisted that he'll be able to participate in as many spring drills and games as the Giants want him to.