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San Francisco Giants
When the Giants pulled off that late season "trade" with the White Sox for Roberto Hernandez, Wilson Alvarez and Danny Darwin, it seemed as if they'd landed two stars and a throw-in. Well, lo and behold, the throw-in is the only one still in town. Not that Darwin, a 42-year-old veteran, is complaining. With a rubber arm and the ability to start or relieve, he'll get lots of work on this shaky staff. In fact, Darwin will be a good index of San Francisco's success: If he starts more than 10 games, that means injuries or ineptness are still plaguing the Giants. Darwin's still got some juice, but not enough to regularly start for a contender.
What They Needed: A closer to replace Rod Beck. A shortstop to replace Jose Vizcaino. More starting pitchers. A backup third baseman.
What They Got: Robb Nen is the new closer, and Steve Reed and Dean Hartgraves will help in relief. Orel Hershiser steps into the rotation, and Charlie Hayes returns to platoon with Bill Mueller at third.
What it All Means: The Giants surprised everyone last season, and they may be even better this year, but they will need 12-15 wins from Hershiser and steady contributions from Kirk Rueter and Julian Tavarez. Hayes will add power. When Nen is at his best, he's better than Beck.
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