Edgar Renteria signed with the Cardinals after that season, Juan Uribe got his deal in LA and is now a scrub with the Dodgers. Freddy Sanchez, whose three consecutive doubles off Cliff Lee in the 2010 World Series opener mimicked Sandoval's three-homer night Wednesday, began this season on the disabled list and ended it there, too, plagued by a bad back.
Only Aubrey Huff remains of the starting infield, and he's a $9 million pinch-hitter these days, salary, supplanted by sure-handed Brandon Belt.
The 2010 outfield is missing, too. Cody Ross is in Boston. Andres Torres was dealt to the Mets last December as part of the deal to procure current Giants centerfielder Angel Pagan. Nate Schierholtz went to the Phillies as part of the Hunter Pence deal. Aaron Rowand went unsigned last season. Pat Burrell can be seen sitting next to Giants scouting director John Barr, a South Jersey native and current resident whose drafts have heavily influenced this overhaul.
"I think what we're proud of most is how many guys we have who are homegrown," Barr said over the phone Thursday from San Francisco.
Hired away from the Dodgers after the 2007 season, Barr and GM Brian Sabean have drafted Posey, Belt and shortstop Brandon Crawford and used some of their other homegrown talent to acquire Pagan and Pence. According to Barr, 11 homegrown players are on the current roster and seven players were acquired via trade, using draft picks. The key trade piece in the deal to get Pence from the Phillies, for example, was catching prospect Tommy Joseph.
Here's what the Giants' Game 1 lineup against Texas in 2010 looked like:
Here is Wednesday's lineup:
Four players from that 2010 team played in Game 1: Posey, Tim Lincecum, Huff, who pinch-hit, and reliever Jeremy Affeldt, who got the final out in the ninth. The Giants don't even have the same closer as they did 2 years ago, replacing injured Brian Wilson with Sergio Romo.
No team has replaced this many starters and role players in such a short amount of time and returned to the Fall Classic.
Core group? What core group? All this talk about the Phillies' window closing kind of seems silly when you see what San Francisco has done from 2010 to now.
Odder still, the Giants have strengthened their position for the long haul in the process. Their postseason star, Scutaro, was acquired from Colorado after Sanchez was lost. At 36, he is this year's version of Cody Ross. But the rest of the infield is young: Belt is 24. Crawford is 25. Sandoval is 26.
Pagan will be a free agent (who might fit well in Philadelphia), but Pence is signed for another season. Blanco, the great-gloved outfielder, is 28 and arbitration eligible.
"Brian does a tremendous job putting together all the pieces," Barr said. "The pitching staff is still pretty young and pretty solid. And now the position players are all coming in. You try to win the World Series every year, but you also try to build for stability and longevity."
This team, in fact, is more of what the model is supposed to look like than that 2010 team. Madison Bumgarner, the 16-game winner who started Game 2, is 23. Matt Cain is 28 and in the first year of a 6-year deal. Lincecum is still only 28, Wilson is 30, Romo, his replacement, 29.
Even well-traveled starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong began his career in the Giants system.
They will have to tinker, no doubt, in the years to come. Every team does. But if they do return to the Series in the immediate years after this one, it seems impossible that there will be anything near the overhaul this team has undergone in the 24 months since it won the 2010 Series. This was the plan. The run in 2010 was a lucky ticket on the way to it.
"You know what's been the most fun?" Barr said. "So many of these guys have grown up together, played together, been in the system . . . And now they're here, doing this together."
Contact Sam Donnellon at firstname.lastname@example.org.