Thursday, August 11, 2005
Stick A Fork In Her...
As for the Giants, let's not kid ourselves, they're done. This has been the most depressing season since 1996, when flotsam such as Dax Jones and Desi Wilson floated across the San Francisco Bay and somehow got blown onto the Candlestick ground. As much as I'd love to see a miracle run to a playoff birth, I'm realistic enough to realize that this team simply has no such run inside it. Just when it seems like the Giants are about to go on a hot streak, they cough, they wheeze, they run for the respirators, and they give Brian Cooper a start against Roger Clemens. Geez, I thought dry humps like this were reserved strictly for middle schoolers.
The overall suckiness of the NL West has created the illusion that this is anyone's division, but with the Giants now a grotesque 16 games under .500, it's time to start looking at next year and see what moves can be made, or not made (cough Jerome Williams cough) to improve the team and turn this burning Wright Flyer back into a Boeing 767. We'll look at the catching and infield today and look at the outfield and the pitching staff in the future, which, at the rate this blog is going, will be sometime in 2009.
Catcher It would seem I owe Mike Matheny an apology. After the Giants signed him I basically accused the guy of everything from being an overpaid lout to being the second coming of Heinrich Himmler. Since he's batting .252/.310./.435 on the season, I've been forced to digress, as he's been a solid bat at the bottom of the order and has been a lot better than most catchers (emphasis on most). Some scribes have gone so far as to hail his signing as a fabulous acquisition by Sabean, but hold on, Chief, let's not start rubbing each other with baby oil just yet. This is still a guy with a career .639 OPS and a guy who we're going to be paying about $3 million to for the next two years. His defense has been good but hardly game-altering, and he's more likely to revert back to his old craptastic ways at the plate next season than continue on his current pace. I'd certainly rather have him out there than Yamid "G" Haad, but I'm still dubious at the prospect of an aging Matheny as our starting catcher for two more years.
First Base The Giants are going to have to make a decision here for next year, and the decision really isn't all that hard, but then again we are talking about Brian "If You Aren't Over 33 Then Get The Hell Out Of My Face" Sabean here. Lance Neikro should be given the starting job and J.T. Snow should be given the 21-gun salute, but the face of loyalty can sometimes be grim. Neikro this season has shown a propensity for destroying lefties but looks positively Lemaster-like against righties. Still, he's young and his .842 OPS speaks for itself. If Snow can be kept around cheaply for use next season against tough righties, I guess it's all right, as he can still get on base and field his position with the best of them. Still, I think it'd be better for everybody if Snow just hung it up and became a TV color analyst with Kruk and Kuip. Hell, give him Larry Krueger's old job, but just tell him to lay off those Caribbean hitters, okay?
Second Base Ray durham enters the final year of his contract and should be one of the team's best hitters when he's not icing down in the trainer's room. For all the bitching Giants fans do about Durham's gimpy legs and his crummy fielding, it's sort of been glossed over what a good hitter he's been. Durham is currently hitting .300/.371/.432 despite a gawdawful start and completely lit it up last year. Hitting out of the 5th spot may not be the thing for him (as if the Giants have any better options), and a return to the top of the lineup (maybe the three spot when Bonds returns next season?) would probably be beneficial to the team. Post-Durham, your guess is as good as mine because, just like pretty much every position on the Giants, there's no help coming from the farm system. God, I love Sabean.
Shortstop Omar Vizquel's signing hasn't really done a damn thing for the Giants in terms of on-field success, but hey, he is fun to watch. He's Baryshnikov in the field and a pesky gnat at the plate, and he's one of the few reasons to watch the Giants this year. He'll be a year older in 2006 and maybe less of an acrobat, but he shouldn't be any worse than he is now. However, it just goes to show how screwed up Sabean's line of thinking is that he convinced himself that grabbing Vizquel was going to have some sort of cataclysmic impact on the team. It hasn't, and it won't.
Third Base Now here's a position of controversy, and I have a solution for it. Trade Feliz! Trade him while his value is high. Yeah, he's versatile and he's got some game-changing pop, but his .754 OPS is underwhelming and folks, he just ain't going to get any better. Sabean needs to unload him on some poorly-managed pseudo-contender (the Mets come to mind) and get a decent young pitcher in return. Maybe that's just sports talk show-type raving, but something needs to be done. Alfonso isn't as good as Feliz, but the difference isn't so large that trading Feliz would sorely hurt the team. Plus, Alfonso and his $8 million contract won't draw as much attention as Feliz will. If the Giants go into 2006 with Bonds back in left and the same cluster-f*** situation at third base, we need to toss Sabean into McCovey Cove to be ravaged by Portuguese water dogs. There's no excuse for having two mediocre 3rd Basemen when there are so many other holes on the team.
Tomorrow (we can only hope) the outfield. Winn or Ellison? Bonds or Feliz? Alou or Benard? Wait, check that last one.
HAHA this is gold. A wonderful post. I have been thinking this all along but can't convince anyone else about this. I am also assuming the Yorvit and Foppert dump will be discussed in the next edition
See Ya There!!