Monday, November 30, 2009


Bengie the Hunted

When we look back on Bengie Molina's time as a Giant I think it's clear that we can safely consider him a member of the exclusive club of Good Giants. Yes, the horrid OBPs in two of his three seasons here made him much less valuable than he appeared at first glance, and his RBI totals are likely to make him extremely overrated in the view of the casual fan. Having said that, a catcher averaging 18 homers a year is nothing to sneeze at, and it also helps that he had a reputation as a lovable rolly-polly guy, even when he wasn't. So, yes, flaws and all, I think we'll all remember him pretty fondly.

Which brings us to his looming free agency. The casual fan amongst us who remembers with a tear in his eye some of Bengie's big hits and his deathly slow gait around the bases will probably want to see him back with the team for at least another year. Me? I want him outta here. He served his purpose well, but now it's time to move on to better things, namely Buster Posey. The deadline for teams to offer impending free agents arbitration is tomorrow, and the Giants have a decision as to what to do about their erstwhile glacially slow-footed catcher.

Well, to be honest, it's really no decision at all. It should be a given that the Giants will offer Bengie arbitration, then watch him decline and hit the market in search of a multi-year deal. The Giants will gladly wish him adieu, scoop up the draft picks his departure will bring forth, and install Posey as the starting catcher for 2010. The nightmare scenario where Molina accepts arbitration is unlikely because 1) he feels, however deluded he may be, that some team out there will give him a multi-year deal and 2) he'd have to accept knowing full well that he'd be part of a time share, at best, if he came back to the Giants. Since he's already stated that he doesn't want a one-year deal, this is about the safest arbitration decision possible.

I guess there is a chance that Molina will have whacked-out flashbacks to the winter of 2005, when he hit the market coming off of a solid year, only to find that the demand for his services was completely dry. He openly contemplated playing a year in the independant leagues before finally landing a low-ball one-year deal in Spring Training with Toronto. Of course, the very next winter he found a team desperate enough for a catcher to throw a three-year deal at him. Thanks, Sabes.

The fear of that sort of disinterest recurring may be enough to drive Molina to accept a possible arb offer, but again, it's not likely. While the baseball industry as a whole has gotten exponentially smarter in valuing players, I'm sure there's still a front office out there dumb enough to believe that his RBI totals are indicative of his actual value. It's highly likely that whoever does sign Bengie is going to be appearing on snarky "Worst Offseason Moves" lists.

-Just because I like to post random clips on here for no purpose other than sheer awesomeness, here is Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th Anniversary concert. When I saw it the first time, my jaw hit the floor. Two of my favorite guitarists, rocking out to a badass song.

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