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November 20, 2017

You’ll notice two common themes at and near the bottom of this list. First, you’ll find teams in full rebuild mode, former contenders who stripped away parts and are now gearing up for what they hope will be major rebounds in the years to come. The second group of teams consists of former contenders who got really old, and now must deal with painful reckonings as they chart their future.

No team offers a clearer example of that latter predicament than the Giants. They ran out the oldest collection of position players in the National League this year, and it showed. Thirty-four-year-old Hunter Pence collapsed to a .260/.315/.385 showing. Thirty-year-old Brandon Crawford slipped to .253/.305/.403. Brandon Belt capped his 20s by missing 58 games due to injuries. And left field was a complete black hole. The top levels of the farm system sorely lack high-upside talent, meaning the Giants might need to spend heavily on 30-something free agents. That’s a move that could help short term, but make the team’s downfall even uglier, and its turnaround efforts that much tougher.

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