Tuesday, March 11, 2008
No Lineup For Young Men
The Giants' infield situation is now a complete mess with Vizquel out, and the team is reduced to the unenviable position of gagging through a Frandsen/Eugenio Velez/Rich Aurilia dogfight at third base and shortstop. Here's a (very, very) tentative projected Opening Day lineup, updated to fit the void left by Vizquel. People with heart conditions may want to leave the room now.
I'm not sure what's more disgusting: the fact that any team would be content to trot this out on Opening Day, or the fact that this actually represents an upgrade over the Giants' ideal lineup with Vizquel gone. Obviously, it's a huge defensive dropoff with Vizquel out, but in any case, if we're using movie analogies, this lineup is pure Manos: Hands of Fate territory.
If Frandsen doesn't win the third base job, or moves to second in the event that the Giants can unload Durham, it'd likely mean that either a Joe Crede trade becomes a sure thing, or Velez gets a shot. Since it's probably a bad idea to give up a good pitcher for the honor of watching Crede star in Feliz II: Electric Boogaloo, it seems best to see what Velez has to offer.
Velez opened some eyes after putting up a .318/.373/.560 line at single A in 2006, with 64 stolen bases in 80 attempts. Unfortunately, he was way older than most of the competition and was playing in the hitter-happy Sally League. He's another of these slap-happy guys who can't work a walk to save his life, and I'm sure he'd just be a nightmare at the major league level. Then again, he's young enough to possibly make good on those minor league numbers, so why the hell not at least give him a chance to exceed my Neifi-level expectations?
Of course, there's a better option sitting in front of everybody's face, and yet no one (well, almost no one) gives him a mention. Justin Leone is now batting .571 in the Spring and is practically begging for someone to notice him. I've said it before and I'll say it again: give the guy a @#&$! chance! His career OPS in the minors is .846, so he clearly has something in his bat. He's likely a better option than the unholy Frandsen/Aurila/Velez troika and if he does end up stinking he can be discarded because he isn't getting paid much. It makes no sense, I tells ya.
Still, it looks like the Giants are considering between Bocock and Ochoa. If they needed a SS for a month, I would think that makes sense. But for one week, it seems foolish to start the clock on Bocock. Ochoa, given the business side of things, makes the most sense. I agree with you regarding Leone, why not see what the guy has. He clearly has consistently demonstrated some hitting prowess at the highest minor league level - the only way to find out if that translates is to play him at the MLB level.