Monday, April 21, 2008


One for the Blunder Books

I was reading this writeup about our good friend Bocock! and the lack of shortstop alternatives on McCovey Chronicles today when I thought of a horrifying scenario. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Omar Vizquel comes back in the middle of May. He hits .300 the rest of the way, and the Giants have this miraculous season, at least when you take into account our expectations for them. They win 90 games, guys like Fred Lewis and John Bowker continue to produce, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain come through with awesome seasons, and the bullpen, anchored by Brian Wilson, stabilizes and turns into one of the best units in the game. All of this happens, we all dance in the streets, Brian Sabean is re-christened with the name Genius...and yet the Giants still fall two games short of a playoff berth. It's a successful season, no doubt, buuuuut...

Now, in this same scenario, realize that in the six weeks prior to Vizquel's return, Bocock! has been given just about all of the at-bats, and he's continued to hit just as atrociously as he is right at this moment (I think it's safe to say that his hitting won't improve exponentially because...I mean, just watch the guy bat ferchrissakes).

If this were to really happen, then 30 years from now, when Rob Neyer publishes a new or extended version of his wonderful Big Book of Baseball Blunders, the decision to give Bocock! 150 at-bats or whatever would be right up at the top of the new list. If the Giants do somehow manage to squeak their way into a pennant race this season (hey, I'm still optimistic or naive enough at this point to believe it), then giving so much playing time to a sub-replacement level bat is going to kill them. Over the course of two months, playing a guy who hits worse than a pitcher will do that.

This isn't an indictment of Bocock! I love the guy. I'm rooting for him harder than any Giant on the field at this point. He's a great defensive player and he at least has some semblance of plate patience and speed. As I said last week, it's not his fault that he's been put into a situation where he has virtually no chance of succeeding. Plucking him from A-ball and throwing him to the wolves in the majors is like dropping a slack-jawed yokel in the middle of Times Square.

No, all the blame lies on the shoulders of Mr. Sabean, for not coming up with an adequate backup. Worse, he didn't have an adequate backup ready even after re-signing a shortstop who was 40 years old! A scan of the Giants' farm system reveals nothing even close to major league-ready at the shortstop position. This is bad enough, but Sabean didn't even bring in a player from outside the organization who could fill in at a utility role. I guess there was always Rich Aurilia to count on...but wait! That's right, he's our starting first baseman (yes, I just died a little inside as those words flashed across my computer screen). That's a rant for another day though.

No word at all when Vizquel is going to come back, so now we're watching the Bocock!/Manny Burriss tandem hit weak ground balls everywhere. All this because the Giants found a Marco Scutaro-type wanting, I suppose. Sabean will already have a lot to answer for even if the Giants live up (err...down?) to expectations and have a crappy year. Crazily enough, though, if the Giants do somehow stay in competition, he may still have a ton of criticism shoveled on him for the Bocock! debacle. The Pierzynski trade needs company in the Blunder books, I guess.

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