1. For the first time in recent memory, Barry Bonds really had no offseason health issues, meaning he reported to spring fresh and in good condition. So if Barry is Barry, even at 42 years old, he should be better than last year, when he pounded out 26 homers and drove in 77 runs, definitely subpar by Bonds’ elite standards. While his offense will certainly be a key factor as he chases the career homer record, just as important is Bonds’ defense. At his age and following several knee surgeries, he doesn’t get around as well as he used to, which could frustrate the pitchers.
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2. While the pitchers should grab most of the non-Barry headlines, it will be how the offense performs that determines where the Giants finish. And that begins with Bonds’ protection. Ray Durham will need to repeat his career power year and Pedro Feliz has to clean anything else up. Dave Roberts and Omar Vizquel are good tablesetters, but someone will need to provide the clutch hits missing from 2006, especially with Moises Alou gone.
3. There wasn’t much done to improve the bullpen in the offseason. The return to health of Armando Benitez is supposed to solve the end-of-game issues, but he still is a question mark. Closer-in-waiting Brian Wilson is on deck. Steve Kline provides veteran leadership, while Jonathan Sanchez is back in a relief role.