Sunday, December 27, 2009


All I Got For Christmas Were Two Redundant Utility Players

I can't really tell if the Giants were naughty or nice this year because all Santa left was the signing of one solid, albeit 35-year-old, infielder and the rumor of the re-signing of a similarly skilled utility player. Today, the Giants signed super-utility man Mark Derosa to a two-year, $12 million deal, and there are rumors flying around that they're about to bring back Juan Uribe. Derosa can hit, he can play just about anywhere on the diamond, and he may make it so that we don't have to look at Edgar Renteria so much. Uribe, of course, turned down the Giants' original offer after having a solid year off the bench, but has now apparently had a change of heart.

Derosa is one of those guys who the Giants wouldn't have touched when he was struggling to prove himself as a younger player back in 2003 or so. It took a couple of years of decent production and enough veteran grizzle to get the Giants to even give him a second glance. I guess a nose-breaking defensive play and/or veteran neck beard is required before the Giants will extend you any kind of offer. Derosa's always been a good player, but he had a semi-inexplicable power spike two seasons ago, and his ability to pretty much fill in adequately at any position makes him an asset.

Yes, he's 35, and this won't stop the wags from taunting us by waving Depends wrappers any time soon, but he does improve the lineup, and if he craps out Renteria-style, no two-year contract can really hamstring a team. Plus, despite a poor showing in his time with St. Louis last year (likely brought on by a bum wrist), there isn't really any sign of a decline, not like the flashing red lights that should have kept the Giants away from Renteria a year ago. In the Stankeye book, without the safety net of hindsight, this signing gets the thumbs up.

If the Uribe rumors are true, it's another positive step. I had a long-standing hatred of Uribe for a long time after looking at his gawdawful hitting stats with the White Sox over the years, but after he came in and started mashing home runs for the Giants, my scowl quickly turned upside down. Uribe's deal is supposedly for one year with a club option for a second, which is just perfect. No one expects him to repeat his .824 OPS from last season, but if he completely craps out the team isn't on the hook for very long, and he's still a fine fielder. Hell, he can't be much worse than Renteria at this point.

I'm just wondering if the Giants need both of these guys. Don't they sort of fill the same role? Derosa is the better hitter, and he can fill in at several positions, and he isn't stretched as a regular. If he starts at third and pushes Pablo Sandoval to first base, where exactly does Uribe play? Unless Renteria just completely goes into the tank, I can't see him getting anywhere close to the 432 plate appearances that he got in 2009. Perhaps the Giants are keen to his limitations and don't intend to tempt fate by thinking he's got another 2009-caliber offensive season left.

I'd say it makes the most sense to give Derosa the majority of the time as the regular left fielder. First off, it monumentally improves what is now a brutal outfield situation. Second, it keeps Sandoval at third, where his bat has more value (and where his glove isn't, well, too terrible). It would also free the Giants from Eugenio Velez's Svengali-like hold on the team's brain trust. I have no idea how good of a defender Derosa is out there, but all reports say he's at least average. It would give the Giants a lineup scenario that goes something like this...

2B Sanchez
RF Schierholtz
3B Sandoval
LF Derosa
CF Rowand
C Posey
1B Ishikawa
SS Renteria

(/runs dry heaving into bathroom)

Yes, that offense still blows (and that's with me being insanely naive thinking Posey will be in there), but just picture that lineup with Velez at the top. I shudder to think. Derosa serves as an unquestionable upgrade, at a reasonable price, and it'll make the team better. There's still a long, long way to go, however.

I'm predicting

1 velez (gag me)
2 sanchez
3 Rowand
4 Sandoval
5 Derosa
6 Renteria
7 Schierholtz
8 Posey
9 Pitcher

With an occasional Uribe thrown in there. Maybe Nate bats a spot higher and Ishikawa gets (doubtful, but maybe) to play against the occasional righty.
Rowand batting 3rd is horrifying. Then again, so is the prospect of half those guys being regulars. I wonder if the Giants try the Rowand-as-leadoff-hitter experiment again. Hell, it worked out well for a while last year, and anything is better than Eugenio. Fred Lewis would make the most sense as the leadoff hitter, but the Giants hate him because they can't evaluate hitting talent any better than a 4th grader could.
I guess they might slide Renteria in the three spot (ew). They've said Pablo will bat cleanup and i thought I heard Derosa fifth.

It would be awesome if by the end of the year Posey hit third. Hopefully they don't wait too long to try it out. Put Rowand 1st and Posey 3rd. That wouldn't be the world's worst 1-5. At least it wouldn't be as awful as last year, but then no self respecting club should have to compare itself to the abomination that was the offense last year.
Or they could just hurry up and sign Dye. You know it's coming.

I like this lineup best:

1. Velez (LF)
2. Sanchez (2B)
3. Schierholtz (RF)
4. Sandoval (1B)
5. DeRosa (3B)
6. Rowand (CF)
7. Renteria (SS)
8. Posey (C)
9. Pitcher

- Uribe
- Lewis
- Ishikawa
- Torres
- Burris
Strike Burris and add another catcher and I don't think you'll be too far off
Yeah, there'll be an Eli Whiteside or some AAAA catcher type mixed in there somewhere. I like Schierholtz but I think he's going to end up basically as a bench bat. He just has no discipline whatsoever. Him hitting third is going to make us the butt of many a joke around the playground.

Any regular playing time for Velez is just a mistake. I'm thinking something disastrous along the lines of Tsuyoshi Shinjo, just without the defense or the cool wristbands.

RE: Dye. Oh, God, no. The last thing we need is a declining hitter with less outfield range than a Sasquatch running in quicksand.
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