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Giants don't look good

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Editor's Note: Stephen Nover makes his return to VegasInsider.com's pro baseball handicapping roster. Be sure to cash daily with his winning selections. Click to win!

Talk the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates all you want. My candidate for worst team this season is the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants were 71-91 last year. That was with Barry Bonds. Slight improvement, with the emphasis on slight, is expected this season. The Giants’ current regular season ‘over/under’ win total is 71 ½.

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San Francisco isn’t reaching 70 victories. The Giants will be fortunate to win 68 games. Morale is better without the insufferable Bonds. The talent sure isn’t, though.

How bad are the Giants? Catcher Benjie Molina could be batting clean-up.

How bad are the Giants? Kevin Frandsen tore his left Achilles’ tendon and probably will be out for the year. This is being treated as a major setback.

How bad are the Giants? Their outfielders, minus Bonds, hit a combined 22 homers last year. The team was last in slugging percentage at .387.

How bad are the Giants? Their starting infield by mid-April could consist of 36-year-old Rich Aurilia, 36-year-old Ray Durham and 40-year-old Omar Vizquel, who already is starting the season on the DL following knee surgery. Durham isn’t far behind having recently missed five games because of a hamstring injury.

San Francisco has promising young arms, but its offense is so bad it negates any pitching improvement. And it’s not like the Giants have a Hall of Fame pitching rotation and bullpen.

Barry Zito had a terrible season last year and didn’t look good during spring training. Hope the Giants enjoy paying him $126 million. Noah Lowry may be out until May.

The bullpen suffered 33 losses last year, the most in the majors. The long relievers and setup men still look brutal on paper and closer Brian Wilson is unproven.

Another problem for the Giants is the improvement in the National League West Division. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies proved themselves last season. San Diego has the best pitching in baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers looked improved as their outstanding prospects have another year of seasoning.

The Giants got themselves in this mess by kissing Bonds’ big butt for too long and forfeiting premium 2004 and 2005 draft choices by signing bad free agents. I have no sympathy for them.

Put me down for Giants ‘under’ 71 ½ wins. If you can afford to tie up your money for six months it’s a wise investment.

  
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