Monday, March 15, 2010
The Sad, Doomed Story of Fred Lewis
Ah, Freddy, the former Mother's Day assassin and one of the few bright spots of the 2008 season, once one of my favorite Giants, who now seems destined to be flung into the garbage bin of Giants history. Say hello to Dax Jones for me. It's unfortunate, but not altogether unsurprising, as Lewis's fate has seemingly been set in stone since mid-summer of last year.
Lewis's skill set contains essentially every blind spot the Giants' front office has for evaluating ballplayers. He strikes out a lot, but also gets on base a lot; only one of these things actually matters. He takes horrible routes to fly balls on occasion, but every defensive metric I've seen rates him as a good outfielder with a lot of range (with some even rating him as outstanding). But when you fall down chasing a fly ball once a month, this Giants brass views your next role as standing in the outfield watching Walter Matthau pass out drunk on the pitcher's mound.
If Lewis is indeed cut loose this Spring, it just marks the final chapter of the Giants basically pissing on the career of a talented player. He's no star, but he was better than Dave Roberts, better than Aaron Rowand, and better than, need I even say it, Eugenio Velez. Except whenever it was time for Lewis to get his chance, after grinding through several years as an organizational soldier, the Giants felt that since he had never broken his nose chasing a long fly ball into a fence, then dammit, they'd go out and overpay someone who did.
By the time Lewis finally got a shot as a regular, he was in his late-20's, and still the Giants were seemingly looking for every reason to chop his playing time. A few called third strikes here, and an outfield dirtburger or two there, and sure enough, Lewis was riding the pine. I'm sure Lewis will latch on with some team and serve a few more years as a solid role player or platoon outfielder, with probably more than a few Ricky Ledee-esque, Giant-killing moments in his bat. Remember that when we're sitting in front of the TV wondering why we're still being bombared with daily doses of Eugenio.
--In today's WTF article, courtesy of Andrew Baggarly, comes a story about our pudgy pal Bengie Molina, and how he used to be a shortstop. Wait...what? Yeah, I can't believe it either, but check it out. It's Ripley's-level weirdness.
--More Irish fun as we gear up for St. Patrick's Day.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
--Funny how all it takes is one obese asshole to ruin a franchise I have always liked since childhood. Last week, after Barry Zito drilled the Brewers' Prince Fielder in apparent retaliation for his childish end-game theatrics after a walk-off home run last season, Fielder boasted that he would happily do the same thing all over again and that his antics were "worth it". Sigh, what would Harvey Kuenn think, Prince?
OK, the Giants should probably get over this (they surrendered the home run after all), but to celebrate a meaningless win on a crappy team in such an obnoxious way is classless, to say the least. That Fielder is so resolute in his insistence that he was in the right just makes him seem like a total jerk. I was hoping, just hoping, that some member of the Giants would have the balls to say that they weren't worried about Fielder charging the mound that game because a forklift would be required to get him out there.
--My favorite impending fiasco so far this Spring is the Freddy Sanchez situation. Signed to a two-year deal despite a recent history of injuries (recent, as in, he missed nearly a month after the Giants traded for him), the Giants tried to keep his shoulder surgery hush-hush (allegedly to have some leverage in re-signing Juan Uribe), and now he's behind schedule and will probably start the season on the DL. Translation: don't be surprised if we don't see him until late-June. Keep in mind that he's really not all that good in the first place and we have the makings of Edgar Renteria Part Deux.
Of course, the Giants had to re-sign Sanchez after trading prospect Tim Alderson to get him, in part to justify such a questionable move. If Sanchez is, indeed, an injury-riddled wreck for the next two years (not out of the question), well...I'm reminded of the lessons of Fargo. Crazy how one bad decision can snowball into a complete mess. Let's hope there's no woodchipper involved in this one.
--Madison Bumgarner continues to scare the hell out of everybody with his reduced velocity, and now it appears as though he won't be breaking camp with the big club, leaving the team with no clear fifth starter. One popular candidate to fill that vacancy is non-roster invitee Todd Wellemeyer, a journeyman famous for having one decent, Dave Duncan-derived season in St. Louis. Wellemeyer was jettisoned by the Redbirds last year after his ERA wandered periliously close to the sixes. Excuse me for having Russ Ortiz circa 2007 flashbacks.
Perusing Christina Kahrl's rundown of still-available free agents, there isn't much to shout about, unless you consider Braden Looper's innings-eating suckiness to be the stuff that fifth starter dreams are made of. One move that might be plausible would be to bring in Kiefer Sutherland clone Jarrod Washburn, if the Giants could sign him to a one-year deal. Yes, I realize Washburn's tidy 2.64 ERA with Seattle in '09 was largely a Franklin Gutierrez-made anomaly. However, his sudden awfulness in Detroit had more than a little to do with a knee injury.
You get Washburn and his fly-ball tendencies, put him in a park with a big outfield, with good defenders out there (like the Giants have), and you've got a viable fifth starter, one who should run you up 170-180 league average innings. Can the Giants get him for one year, and a couple million? There are worse ways to spend that money (the Giants know alllll about that). Washburn already stupidly turned down a $5 million offer from Minnesota, and the market for him doesn't seem to be very bearish, so I'd say he's an option worth looking into.
--Not for nothing, here's the most hilariously ridiculous trade rumor so far this year.
--In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, and in celebration of half of my lineage, I plan on posting an Irish-related video each day. Enjoy!