Wednesday, December 01, 2010


The Bat Is Back

Two immediate reactions upon hearing the news that the Giants had (surprisingly, in my view) re-signed left fielder Pat Burrell to a very team-friendly one-year contract (actual terms haven't been disclosed). One: well, Carl Crawford would have looked really good in Orange and Black, and two: I guess this means we won't be seeing top prospect Brandon Belt in the majors any time soon. I thought that the Giants might be planning to stick the recently re-signed Aubrey Huff in left field to make room for Belt at first base, but I guess that was just wishful thinking by yours truly.

So it looks like the 2011 Giants are going to be a reasonable facsimile of the 2010 championship team, sans one Juan Uribe and plus a whinier substitute. There's an inherent peril in continuing to rely on players like Huff and Burrell who may have just had a couple of fluky stretches last year. Glass-half-empty types might point to Burrell's disastrous postseason and awful American League experience as a an indication that his torrid hitting in San Francisco might fizzle.

Remember the days when the Giants were signing questionable veteran players to three-year deals? Shudder. I guess Brian Sabean has learned. One year deals, once again, are hard to get worked up over. Burrell might sink into Old Player Skills hell and be a non-factor, or he might smack 25 homers and draw 90-100 walks. For what is probably going to amount to pennies, it's worth it to find out if Burrell has got that latter season in him. If so, this is a great deal, giving the Giants a productive one-year plug-in while Belt continues to develop.

It's true enough that it's better to sign players like this to one year contracts. I still remember when they signed Randy Winn to that longish term deal based merely on two months worth of hitting. He was never that good again and over time, declined. A solid player, sure, but not at that price.

However, there's still the problem in that the team still isn't prepared for the future. Maybe the callups won't be ready for another year. Maybe management believes that by bringing essentially the same team to the table for a year nothing can possibly go wrong.

But it wasn't like the team was tearing the league up on a regular basis. I know I wouldn't want to keep relying on the good graces of the Lady in resigning all these older players.
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