…. First or last

I’m sorry for beating a dead horse, but the idea that the Giants will once again, for something like the 8th consecutive season, head into the season with an enormous hole at first base…. I just can’t stop thinking about it. We’ve been in the bottom two or three in offense from that position for essentially as long as I’ve been following the team. And for someone who became a huge baseball fan way back in the glorious 1980′s in NY, when Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez, the two greatest defensive first basemen of the modern era, (IMHO), did it all, this torture.

The Giants have been trotting out a thin, watered-down version of that kind of ballplayer for a decade, while trying to sell us the idea that he was irreplacable. I’ve been advocating replacing Snow since I started this website. Snow’s long at-bats and endless string of singles, not to mention the insanity of Alou having in the #3 hole, have irritated and depressed me for years.

Sabean’s insistence that Snow “saves 20 games a year with his glove” at least gave some sense to the folly of keeping him around. If they really did think that was true (it wasn’t), at least you could see why they would put up with 7 or 8 home runs a year from an offense-first position. But if that were true, then how do you go out and sign Sweeney to replace him. Far from being a defensive minded first-baseman, he’s a pinch-hitting specialist for crying out loud!

You might as well keep Snow if you’re gonna go get a Mark Sweeney to replace him. Frank Thomas can be had for probably $3 millon a year for two years right now, I mean, the A’s are negotiating with him!!! He had 12 home runs in 105 at-bats, I mean, come on, that’s two seasons of Snow. I know he’s been injured a bunch the last two years, but jeez, the guy’s a Hall of Famer.

I’ve read that Sabean’s offering a two-year $4 million dollar contract to Bill Meuller. I mean, what the hell is that?!?! Make that offer to Thomas instead, you idiots, we’ve already got TWO THIRD BASEMEN!!! As bad as Alfonzo and Feli are, and they’ve got huge holes in their game, each of them; we still got…. uh, well, oops.

Just looked at the team by team stats for 3B, and the Giants were last in the NL. Dead. Last. Dead last in more than one category, too. OPS. Runs. 15th in OBP. Tied for 14th in HR and slugging. Ugly stuff. I guess Feliz did only play, what, thirty games there? But, even as ugly as they were at third, they were worse at first. 15th in runs scored, 14th in 2B, last in HR, last in total bases, 14th in RBI, 14th in BA, 14th in OBP, 15th in slugging, 5th in OPS. Actually, that’s so bad it needs to be adressed.

The SF Giants trotted out there just about the worst production from 1B and 3B in all of baseball. These are traditionally offensive positions, and the Giants got as little from those positions as they could. You have to be committed to achieve failure like that, really. You could run out just about any Triple AAA third or first baseman and get the kind of production the Giants are getting, and you know what really makes it great?

Over the last three seasons, we’ve paid very good money for this pile of crap. Between the $28 million dollars we’re throwing at Alfonzo, we’ve got the $11 million for Feliz at third. For Snow, he was cheap last season, but the two years prior to that, he was at the tail end of a four-year, $24 million dollar contract during which he produce 42 home runs, (which, incidentally, is what a healthy Frank Thomas puts up in a season).

Here’s an idea for Sabean. FIX YOUR PROBLEMS AT THE CORNERS!!!! The easiest positions to get offense from, and we get a combined 29 home runs from the 1st and 3rd, when the league average is 48. Last season, we got 39, which was pretty damn good by Giants standards, but also well below average. 2003 we had 38, again, well below average, and nowhere near the best teams. In 2003, Milwaukee got 73 home runs from first and third base. Florida got 68. This year, the Cubs got 84!, almost three times as much production as the Giants.

So, to solve what has been, for most of the last decade, a gaping hole at first base, Sabean signs a 36-year old, career pinch-hitter. Read that sentence a couple of times.

Listen people. Frank Thomas is negotiating with the Oakland A’s. That means he’s gonna be cheap. There’s no logical reason for Sabean to ignore him. Remember Galarraga? Thomas is a younger, better Andres Galarraga. He’s not worth two years for $6 million but Neifi Perez is worth two years for $5 million? Whatever drugs Sabean’s taking, he’s not sharing, that’s for sure.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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