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Friday, January 23, 2009

Jesus Guzman Wins VWL MVP

Ever since the Giants swooped up Jesus Guzman on a minor league deal at the beginning of the off-season, he's really been getting some attention. The 24 year-old third-basemen set records in the Venezuela Winter League this year and was just named the MVP of the 2008 VWL. This couldn't have come at a better time for Guzman who's employer is looking to find a long-term solution at third base. There are thoughts that Pablo Sandoval is best suited for third base and that's where he'll be come opening day, but the Giants have shown interest in guys like Joe Crede and Ty Wigginton which tells me they may have ideas for Sandoval at first. Guzman, however, is the dark horse in the situation and could make this all a non-issue if he shows up to camp and starts tearing the cover off of the ball like he did all winter long, and like he's done over his past 2 minor league campaigns. The youngster has really come into his own over the last couple of years and appears to have done all he can do in the minor leagues. Although the Giants will be taking a look at Joe Crede who will be in Arizona next week to go through a series of workouts for various teams, I'm doubting the Giants will end up with him, which in all likelihood would lead to them using an in-house candidate. Right now I'd say the competition for at-bats and possibly a roster spot is going to fall between Travis Ishikawa and Guzman. If Guzman is swinging a better bat, he'll be seeing time at third with Sandoval at first. If he doesn't make the team or struggles out of the gate, the Giants will likely roll with Sandy at the hot-corner and an Ishikawa/Travis Phelps combo at first.

Two big-named former Giants were in the news over this week as one has a new home and one has decided to stay at home. Former Giants' second basemen, all-star and MVP, Jeff Kent, announced his retirement on Thursday at Dodger Stadium in LA. Kent was loved when he was here and was arguably the most prolific hitting second basemen in baseball during his tenure in San Francisco. Kent was extremely clutch and never failed to post a 100 RBI season in his six years here. Sure, he was easily hated after he moved on and bad-mouthed the Giants ball-park, their uniforms and kind of took a shot at this city of San Francisco in general, but you can't say that you didn't root for him when he was wearing the orange and black. Kent admitted during his farewell speech that his best years ultimately came in San Francisco and that Dusty Baker had more of an impact on him than any other manager/coach. He also payed respect to Barry Bonds and J.T. Snow as guys who helped him become the player he was. I do think Jeff Kent is more than worthy for hall-of-fame consideration and when he does get enshrined, look for him to be wearing an SF hat on the plaque.

The other former Giant/future-hall-of-famer that was in the news was Omar Vizquel. The veteran shortstop signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers and will get a shot to win their starting job after they moved Michael Young to third base. Vizquel is another guy who had a nice run here, although his final 2 years didn't go terrifically. I really hope we get to see the magician play shortstop in this yard one more time before he hangs them up. He may not have the bat to carry an everyday job anymore, but your still going to have a tough time finding an infielder with the range and fluidity of Omar, even at age 42.
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65 Comments:

  • At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Bleacher Bum said…

    Jeff Kent was a great Giants indeed. But the man became a bum and he want to the friggen dodgers for crying out loud. If he dawns a giants cap in the hall, all is forgiven though. He was fun to watch here though. He always gave 110 percent.

     
  • At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm glad Omar got a job. He's the man and can still pick it clean at the shortstop position. Rangers Fans will have a treat to watch.

     
  • At 7:59 AM, Blogger rxmeister said…

    From what I've read, the Twins are the Giants' main competition for Crede, and that's not much of a competition because the Twins don't spend money. Don't forget that the Giants' tried to trade for Crede last season, so why wouldn't they want him now when they don't have to give up any talent to get him? I'm going to assume that Crede looks good in this workout, because he wouldn't be working out if he wasn't healthy. That means that the only thing holding up a Crede signing is the demands of Scott Boras. Needless to say this is a huge wildcard, but I would be suprised if the Giants' don't sign Crede. I don't think Jesus Guzman is an option for 2009, because despite his monster AA season and winter league performance, he didn't do much when promoted to AAA, so I think the Giants' will want to see him raking at Fresno first before they consider him an option. They also want him to improve his defense, and a team built on pitching as much as the 2009 Giants will be, needs a solid defense. When healthy, Crede is a Gold Glove type third baseman, and fits in with the pitching and defense philosophy. There's a need here, and I think the Crede signing will be the last move of the offseason.

     
  • At 2:10 AM, Anonymous ItalianFan said…

    I agree Jeff Kent was a great Giant. He gave us a lot.
    I'm sure he hasn't forgot he's a Giant.

     
  • At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    After reading several of your blogs, I am reminded how ignorant and myopic Giants fans are. Seriously, Sandoval is now being considered the great hope and backbone of SF's lineup, yet he takes less than one walk per week (he projects to walk about 11 times per year). Pitchers will always find holes in a player's swing when he lacks a discriminating eye. He is Pedro Feliz part II. Look for a .250 BA and .290 OBP.

    I know Sabian seems to take pride in being anti "Money Ball" but the truth of the matter is that if you remove Bonds (a player he inherited) from Sabian's decade with SF, the lineup would consistently be one of the worst in baseball.

    Further more, Giant fans hang their collective hat on pitching, when the actual numbers say otherwise. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Sanchez is at best a 4.50-5.00 pitcher, Johnson, at this point in his career is similar to Sanchez's output, Zito, well you know, and Cain is, brace yourselves, Russ Ortiz all over again. Face facts, Cain is one of those "effectively" wild pitchers that seems great until his implodes 5 years into his career (Estes, Ortiz, to name a few). You just can't walk 4 batters every nine innings and get away with it.

    If I were a Giant's fan I would pray for the day Sabian is fired. The guy lacks imagination and can't evaluate talent. He is content fielding a sub-mediocre team that lacks the offense and defense needed to compete in a much younger and more talented division.

    2009 NL West:
    LA
    ARZ
    COL
    SD
    SF

    I hope I am wrong!

     
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