Tuesday, January 24, 2006


From the Files Of WTF!: Jose Vizcaino

OK, as I warned, the blog has been in a state of hibernation for like a month. Well, that's what happens when you get Half Life 2 and Mike Shropshire's hilarious Seasons In Hell for Christmas. Not that anything big has happened in Giants Land in the past month, other than Barry Bonds' insistence on not batting second and horrifying rumors involving the thought of Josh Fogg in a Giants uniform. One minor transaction, though, did catch my eye.

In December, the Giants decided to sign Jose Vizcaino to a 1 year deal worth $1 million and change, basically the epitome of a "meh" signing. Vizcaino's line with Houston last season, in 187 at-bats: .246/.299/.337. No comment. The last time Vizcaino had an OPS over .700 was in 2002. The number of times in his career that he's had an OPS over .700 is twice. Again, no comment. I understand that a million bucks for a utility infielder isn't going to make or break a season, but it seems like there were certainly more viable replacements that could have been had for just as cheap, like Mark Bellhorn or something. You know, a guy who could actually come to the plate without sparking gales of laughter from the infielders. It's hard to believe that the Giants could find no other solution to the backup middle infield problem, either in-house or on the scrap heap. Hell, Angel Chavez hit .281 with 11 homers at Fresno last year, why is he not just as good as Vizcaino for, like, nothing. Just because the Giants need a guy to fill a backup role in the middle infield doesn't mean they have to find someone who hits like Jose fucking Macias.

The thing about Vizcaino, if he gets 100 at-bats and fields his position well and dunks in some singles, then OK, he's not hurting the team. That's the upside! Anything more than 100 at-bats and he's flat out hurting the team with his punchless bat. Fortunately, Felipe Alou has actually had a history of giving younger players a chance instead of washed-up dreck like Vizcaino, so maybe the threat of a 300-AB Vizcaino year isn't as evident as it might have been under Dusty Baker.

There have certainly been goofier signings this offseason for much more substantial money, but this move just reeks of a lack of imagination on Brian Sabean's part. There are any number of middle infielders who were available before Vizcaino signed but who the Giants passed on who could flat out hit, like Bellhorn or D'angelo Jiminez. Instead, we have another of Sabean's patented "He's a veteran, he's a former Giant, so he must be worthwhile!" signings. And once again, we've tossed real money down the toilet. Hell, I can think of about a billion better things the Giants could have done with that million bucks. They could have used it toward one of those first round draft picks Sabean is always bitching about. They could have given it to a third world country to help fund another one of their civil wars. They could have given it to me so I could buy a new Mercedes. I mean, anything would have been a more worthy investment than this. But hey, he was decent in 1997 and he's played on two World Series teams, so we've got to grab him. Never mind that he can't hit and won't contribute one iota to a winning cause.

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