After disappointing season, Giants face many offseason questions

Buster Posey glanced toward Tim Lincecum's locker and pondered what the Giants' clubhouse might look like without “The Freak” or fellow starter Barry Zito, and only because the catcher got asked about it last week.

“Honestly, I guess I haven't really put much thought into that,” Posey said.

He might not have to for long, either.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean plans to do all he can — and soon — to keep Lincecum around. The club already took care of its first order of business: Signing right fielder Hunter Pence to a $90 million, five-year contract. He played every game this season.

Two others with multiyear contracts struggled to stay on the field this season.

San Francisco lost center fielder Angel Pagan to a serious hamstring injury, while another key piece of last season's World Series run — second baseman Marco Scutaro — dealt with lingering back and finger problems that limited last year's NL Championship Series MVP for much of 2013.

The Giants struggled at AT&T Park, where they ran their sellout streak to 246 but underachieved and finished 76-86 with most of the same faces that were part of the franchise's second World Series in three years last fall.

Injuries played a big part, as well as lack of production.

“Overall, we didn't have a good year as a team … after a great year last year,” Scutaro said.

San Francisco also missed right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who was sidelined more than 2½ months after breaking bones in the pinkie area of his pitching hand on a swing in May. He had problems when he was healthy to pitch.

The Giants must decide whether to bring him back.

“I don't worry about Scutaro as much as we really have to fill in the blanks what went haywire with Vogey," Sabean said.

Zito's $18 million option for 2014 won't be exercised, so he is to receive a $7 million buyout to end his $126 million, seven-year contract.

The Giants find themselves again challenging the mindset of third baseman Pablo Sandoval, last year's World Series MVP who will enter his contract year next season trying once again to maintain a healthy weight in what has become his biggest issue.

He batted .276 with 14 home runs and 78 RBIs.

“You're amazed when you look at the scoreboard and see the stats,” Sabean said. “It hasn't been a full, complete or good year for him.”

Niners outlast Vikings behind Deebo Samuel’s wizardry

San Francisco’s versatile receiver emerges as NFL superstar

By Al Saracevic
How the Warriors use data, analytics to engineer more wins

‘It is a new Moneyball’

By Jeff Elder
Why Steph Curry is the NBA’s leading MVP candidate

It’s never too early to speculate on the league’s top prize

By John Krolik Special to The Examiner