Monday, June 09, 2008



Last season, if you had brought a metal detector to Mays Field and scoured around the second base area, you would have been driven deaf by the manic and increasingly loud beeping brought upon by the gigantic fork sticking out of the back of Ray Durham. Fortunately, this season, some courteous soul has wrested the said utensil out from between Durham's shoulder blades, as the Giants' second baseman has bounced back nicely with a decidedly Durham-esque year.

After his four-hits today, Ray-Ray's line stands at .306/.390/.425. The power hasn't really been there, but the on-base skills have returned in full-force, and that .815 OPS fits in right around his .785 career mark. After a slow start, he's raked to a .329 average since the beginning of May. His defense still begs for a late-game replacement, but even so, ladies and gents, we have our asset back at second base.

Durham's return to respectability is great for a variety of reasons. First, it's a personal joy to have one of my favorite Giants hitting well again. I always liked him as a player and he's been a productive Giant for most of his tenure (sans 2007, of course). A lot of Giants fans still bitch about his original four-year deal, for reasons that aren't abundantly clear. He put up three years of above-average production at second base and one monster year. He did everything he could to help this team win from 2003-2006. If you want to blame someone for the team's shitty performance in the last two of those years, blame Pedro fucking Feliz.

Second, Durham's resurgence makes his two-year deal, signed before 2007, look a little less ridiculous. I liked the deal when it was inked, and yes, I look like an ass, but really, no one could have predicted Durham would just completely go off the rails last year. If Durham splits the difference and gives the team one good year to go with that awful one, well, at least he earned $7 of the $14 million. At the beginning of this season I don't think any of us fans thought we'd be saying even that.

Third, trade value, bitches. The longer Durham continues to hit, the higher his trade value will go, as, in a perfect world, a couple of contenders will fall all over themselves outbidding one another for a good second baseman and a good prospect could land in the Giants' lap. Looking around, the Cardinals (who I thought were going to sign Durham when he hit the market after '06), Cubs, and the White Sox (who are suffering Juan Uribe's positively Bocockian production) look like they might be in the running for a quick second base fix before long.

Whatever was going on with Durham last year, it looks like a fluke. Just a blip in a long line of consistent good work, the Miami Vice in the Michael Mann film festival. While Durham may cool off and not hit a scorching .300 for the season, the Durham we're seeing now is a lot closer to our old friend than the evil 2007 version that invaded the Bay Area, and it's a much rosier sight. So let's raise a glass to the rejuvenated Ray-Ray and hope he continues the tear.

--I meant to link to this a while back, but busy times and such. A new site opened last month called SFGiantWire, a neat newswire-type page that collects all of the most popular headlines and posts from around the Giants blogging world and posts them in one spot. For those who aren't aware, there is a lot of brilliant Giants writing on the web these days (just mosey on over to the sidebar there for a list of some of the best), and it's all on SFGiantsWire for easy reference. So go on over and check it out.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?