Monday, January 25, 2010


Bengie, Bengie...Bengie Is Back

The San Francisco Giants re-sign Bengie Molina to a one-year, $4.5 million deal. When I first read this headline, it was on my phone while on lunch break at work. I distinctly remember letting out a loud, "You've got to be fucking kidding me!" in the middle of line at the lunch stand, before continuing to stand there, jaw agape, refusing to believe what I was reading. I'm sure the people around me thought I was receiving news that a family member had died or something.

Well, here we are, and the seemingly unthinkable has happened. Molina is back, ensuring more first-pitch ground balls to the shortstop than we'll know what to do with. This of course means that Molina will be the Opening Day catcher, with Buster Posey heading to AAA. Get ready for more sub-.300 OBP fun and photo finish races to beat the center fielder's throw to first base on a single.

Ok, so I was absolutely aghast when I first caught wind of this, but with some time to think it over, this signing isn't really all bad. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Posey really isn't ready. Well, that means that the Giants need a one-year stopgap to hold the fort while their catching phenom gets more seasoning in the minors. Who is that guy going to be?

It'd be nice to just be able reach out and grab a catcher who can draw walks, play good defense, and hit for a modicum of power, but sadly that's the farthest thing from reality. The alternatives to Molina look something like this: Signing Yorvit Torrealba to be a regular (no thanks), signing Rod Barajas, who is like a B-movie remake of Bengie (double no thanks), or making Eli Whiteside the starter (eeeek!). When you look at it that way, the Molina option doesn't seem half bad. For all of his faults, his power and still decent glove give him a leg up over the other guys' nothing.

Plus, Molina comes back to the Giants basically with hat in hand, having tested the free agent market and found out that no one sees him as a long-term regular. If Posey tears up Spring Training, tears up AAA, and forces himself into the starting role, Molina can't complain. Having re-signed he most likely understands his role as a placeholder at this point.

So as much as I never wanted to see Bengie back, this is an okay deal. Yeah, I realize that's going 100 mph in the opposite direction of my initial opinion on the signing, but really, it's not that bad. I still think that the Giants are going to screw this up somehow and ruin Posey's career while Molina returns for 2011 and beyond, but for now, I can deal with this.

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