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.