During the much-ballyhooed return of the Walkoff Walk podcast, your crack editorial team took time out of reciting quotes from Sideways to heap a little scorn on the San Francisco Giants. A classic case of tough love, our collective enjoyment of All Things Gigantic makes the puzzling choices of the front office that much more difficult to take.
The Giants made several "key" acquisitions during the off-season; ostensibly to improve their atrocious offense. The hidden meaning behind these pickups includes a decent aroma of defiance from Brian Sabean. He won't be swayed by modern thinking or reason! He sees a damn ballplayer, he signs him the heck up!
While the good people at Beyond the Box Score suggest this Giants offense could and/or should score more runs than last year, I, along with Grant of McCovey Chronicles, think they might even struggle to achieve that modest feat.
I just want the Giants to think, gee, we've finished in the bottom third for runs scored for five straight years. Is that because of the park? Let's find out. (The answer is no, it's not the park.) Okay, then what's going on? Is it a lack of execution on sacrifice buns and moving runners over? Let's find out where we stack up to the rest of the league. (The answer is no, the Giants execute bunts and move runners over as well as other teams.) Well, what is it?
As I look at it, the Giants will struggle to score runs and struggling to prevent them. The 2010 team should have more power, but they certainly won't get on base at anywhere near an effective rate.
Who will get on base? A quick glance at the Giants depth chart gives us a good sense of who should start. If Bruce Bochy could be counted on to not shoot his team in the foot in partner with the front office, that is. Consider these 8 men likely to start around the diamond and some pertinent on base information:
- Pablo Sandoval 2009 OBB - .387!
- Freddy Sanchez 2009 OBP - .295
- Edgar Renteria 2009 OBP - .307 (.339 since 2007)
- Mark DeRosa 2009 OBP - .319 (.355 since 2007)
- Aubrey Huff 2009 OBP - .310 (.336 since 2007)
- Aaron Rowand 2009 OBP - .319 (.344 since 2007)
- Nate Schierholtz 2009 OBP - .302
- Bengie Molina!! 2009 OBP - 285 (.302 since 2007)
I realize there is more than one way to skin a cat; but giving the bulk of your at bats to that collection of aging guys (all but two are over 30) who make a ton of outs doesn't seem like good business.
The defense looks just as bad. Gone (likely) is the Giants best defender from last year. Two other top-notch defenders &mdash namely Juan Uribe and Travis Ishikawa &mdash will find themselves on the bench waiting for late inning leads (and perfect games) to protect. Some combination Mark DeRosa, Pablo Sandoval, and Aubrey Huff need to cover first, third and left field. Some combination of car batteries and smelling salts need to keep Renteria and Rowand from losing their tenuous grip on "league-average" as defenders up the middle.
Should the good people of San Fran give up hope, abandon the Giants to tend to their vineyards? Hardly. Rescue is on the way, in the form of Eric Byrnes! Seriously bros, he's totes healthy now and ready to dink infield pop ups after riding his fixed gear to the ballpark!
Add in the requisite arbitration ugliness between the team and its once-in-a-generation ace and somehow, after a season of such unexpected promise, the Giants are poised to disappoint the loyal Bay Area citizens once again. The only thing more shocking than Brian Sabean's apparent inability to capitalize on the exceptional talent of the Giants core is his ability to acquire it in the first place.