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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shortstop Posing Giant Problem

Through the first month and a half of the season, the Giants have played pretty good baseball, but they've had one particular glaring hole in the lineup, and that hole has been at shortstop. Not only offensively, but there has been a significant defensive downgrade as well there, and it may be a position the Giants need to address if they're serious about repeating.

Miguel Tejada has come up with a few big hits here and there, but for the most part, wasn't getting the job done as the everyday SS. Then Pablo Sandoval got hurt and it's put Tejada at third for the most part while Mike Fontenot takes over short. Fontenot has been better offensively than Tejada at short, but still not what the Giant are looking for, and he's been exposed some as he's playing out of position (2nd and 3rd baseman most of career). Now Bochy is pretty much running out of options. The more you look at the situation, the more it seems like the Giants will have to, again, like they did so successfully last year with Burrell, Ross etc..., go outside the organization to get some help.The big name that was tossed around a lot a few weeks back when the Giants were in New York was the Mets' Jose Reyes, who would be just what the doctor ordered for the Giants at the shortstop position. Tons of speed, defense and average with surprising power, and would fit live a glove in the clubhouse. A guy who would probably excel hitting into AT&T Park's large gaps and provide Omar Vizquel-like defense. There's just one little problem, the Giants don't have the money to keep Reyes, and I certainly wouldn't give up top prospects for 2-3 months of Jose Reyes.

He'd be a great candidate for an extension, at age 28 and just entering his prime, but with $30 million alone booked in Rowand/Zito combo for 2012, another $100 contract would be pretty hard to fit into budget. Then think about the raises and contract extensions coming up for guys like Cain, Lincecum, Posey, Wilson and Sandoval! Even after the World Series win and budget increase, these are still the Giants, not the Yankees or Red Sox who can just go buy any player they so please. I think they have a good thing going right now, where they're producing some really good players like Sandoval, Posey, Belt, Schierholtz, Torres, all the pitchers, etc., and I say Torres because the Giants developed him in their system after attaining him. They have been making the right moves with the veteran adds ever since the Rowand and Zito blunders. So no, I would not give up Zach Wheeler, especially after watching him dominate Lancaster in the Cal League a few nights ago, or Brandon Belt plus someone like Ehire Adrianza or Francisco Peguero and Thomas Neal. Not for a 1/2 year rental, no way, and I just don't see any realistic way the Giants sign Jose Reyes with Rowand, Zito, Huff and Lincecum making the money they are and the Giants' budget where it's at. Maybe they can stretch the payroll $5-$10 million to add someone, but I don't think they can take on another $18M-a-year player until either Rowand's or Zito's contract is off the books.

So, where does that leave the Giants, who still need a shortstop. Well, Reyes, albeit the best option, isn't going to be the only shortstop available on the market. The Giants may need to wait another month or so until teams decide they're out of it, but a few guys I'm keeping an eye on are Toronto's Yunel Escobar, San Diego's Jason Bartlett and Pittsburgh's under-achieving Ronny Cedeno, who's hitting 50 points better and is better in the field than Miggy. The I really think should be their top target though (and should have been this offseason), the Orioles' J.J. Hardy. Consider this the beginning of my "Trade for J.J. Hardy" campaign. Not the biggest names, but upgrades. Prying Ian Desmond from the Nats would be great, but that's a no. Hardy, Escobar then if maybe Cedeno or Bartlett as backups (if you get them fairly). All would cost a fraction of what Reyes will (both in trade and contract), are more likely to stay with the team beyond 2011 at reasonable rates, and all would be welcome upgrades to Tejada/Fontenot.

Game Note: Ryan Vogelsong moves to 3-0 after 6 shutout innings vs. the Cubbies, collecting 7 K's in a rain-shortened, 3-0 complete game win at Wrigley. Nobody really stood out offensively, as it was a wet, ugly day in Chicago, but Buster Posey manged to drive in a run, going 1-3. Also going 1-3 with runs scored were Aaron Rowand and Freddy Sanchez.
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8 Comments:

  • At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just hope Pablo comes back sooner than later and doesn't miss a beat. As long as he returns closer to the 6 week time period, and is playing like he was when he got hurt, SS won't be as big an issue, but now they have Tejada splitting time at third and short and Fontetnot out there and it's screwing things up. I wish Bochy would keep Tejada at short, and let DeRosa or whoever mix into third and stop moving people out of position.

    The Giants are tied for first, but are a much better team than the Rockies. I think pretty much everyone who's not a Rockies fan will agree on that.

     
  • At 6:06 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Another huge performance in ugly weather by Vogelsong.

    Again, I don't think Zito will be coming off the DL any time soon, whether it be until Vogelsong starts struggling, or Zito moves to relief and replaces Runzler. Danny has great stuff, but needs to learn to harness it and find a consistent release point.

    I personally would like to see Zito contribute and earn some of that dough rather than sit on the DL, so I'd groom him for relief when he rehabs.

    He takes a long time to warm up, so that's why I'd have him relieve in Fresno for a few weeks before bringing him up. He can spot start if needed, no problem, then if the league adjusts to "V", you just re-insert Zito to the rotation.

    At least that would be my plan.

     
  • At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Vogelsong was so awesome today. It was a mess watching them out there. I thought there would be walks and wild pitches and high scores, if they got the game in at all.

    But no, Vogelsong just looked composed and comfortable as hell. Keep this guy in the rotation!
    3-0 -if they win-, 2.36 era, 1.05 WHIP through after Saturday's start! Way better stretch than Zito's had at any point in his Giant career!

     
  • At 6:43 PM, Anonymous J-Bill said…

    Ohh yeah, can't believe he only walked 1 batter in that weather, too!

     
  • At 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    why is it crazy he only walked 1 batter fool...its not like in bad weather the plate moves....it's still planted in the ground in the same friggin place!

     
  • At 10:50 PM, Blogger e-e-c said…

    If you've ever thrown a wet baseball in wet weather, you'll know that it's impressive to go 6 innings with just 1 walk and I think 2 3-ball counts. That's control!

     
  • At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Terrence said…

    What an ugly loss vs. the Rocks Monday. I can't wait to see what you have to say about it tomorrow. Can't believe Timmy was so wild. WTF happened out there? Wonder if the extra day off threw him out of whack?

     
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