Of course, 1993 was the first season of OF Barry Bonds' new contract. The prior offseason, he signed as a free agent after leaving the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Giants had a solid everyday lineup with Darren Lewis leading off playing CF, followed by 2B Robby Thompson, LF Bonds, 3B Matt Williams, 1B Will Clark, RF Willie McGee, SS Royce Clayton and catcher Kirk Manwaring. 1993 was Clark's last season in San Francisco. The bench featured OFs Dave Martinez and Mark Carreon, infielders Todd Benzinger and Mike Benjamin and backup catcher Jeff Reed. Bonds (.336, 46, 123) and Williams (.294, 39, 110) led the offense that also got major contributions from Clark (.283, 14, 73), Thompson (.312, 19, 65) and Clayton (.282, 6, 70). Every regular played in at least 128 games and drove in at least 46 runs. Five players stole 10 of more bases, led by Lewis' 46 and five players (Bonds, Williams, Thompson, Lewis and Clark) scored at least 82 runs.
Though the pitching staff was led by 20 game winners Bill Swift (21-8, 2.82) and John Burkett (22-7, 3.65), they did need 11 pitchers to make 4 or more starts for them. If they had to round out their rotation, it would consist of oft injured pitchers Trevor Wilson (7-5, 3.26 in 22 games, 18 starts), Bud Black (8-2, 3.56, 16 starts) and either Bryan Hickerson (7-5, 4.27, in 47 games, 15 starts) or Jeff Brantley (5-6, 4.28, 53 games, 12 starts). While the team had difficulty filling out a rotation, which would have difficulty in the middle games of a playoff series, they did have a solid bullpen. Rod Beck (3-1, 2.18, 48 saves) had one of his best seasons and Mike Jackson (6-6, 3.03, 81 games) was the primary setup man. Kevin Rogers (2-2, 2.68, 62 games) was solid from the left side in his only full MLB season and Dave Burba (10-3, 4.25) joined Brantley, Hickerson and Dave Righetti rounding out the pen.
The Giants were beat out that season by the Atlanta Braves, who won the NL West division title before joining the NL East in 1994. The Braves made it to their 3rd consecutive NLCS, where they lost to the NL East Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Could the Giants have taken the Phillies if they had played in the NLCS? Possibly. The Braves bested the Giants by just one game, but they certainly had the better pitching staff. Dave Justice and Ron Gant equaled Bonds and Williams of that season, and remember, the Braves traded for Fred McGriff that season.
The Giants would fade over the next couple seasons, finishing under .500 each of the next three seasons and finishing with 94 losses in 1996. With a much different team, Dusty Baker would lead the Giants to six straight winning seasons, culminating with the 2002 NL Pennant. A World Series, by the way, that they should have won.