…. Senseless

This makes no sense at all:

…. The agent for shortstop Edgar Renteria said Wednesday that he’s making significant progress toward a deal that would bring the five-time All-Star to the San Francisco Giants. “We’re working on it and we’re certainly much, much closer, but nothing is done,” said agent Barry Meister. A source told that Renteria is looking at a contract in the two-year, $18 million range with San Francisco.

So, it appears that our beloved Giants are still trapped in their unimaginative, business as usual, overpay for mediocrity, mode of building a team. $9 million per, for a player whose best years are far, far behind him, on a team that will struggle to win 75 games…. Yeah, sounds like Brian Sabean to me.

To suggest that Renteria would even be an improvement over the stack of cordwood the Giants have been trotting out to short the last couple of seasons is laughable.

The Giants ranked dead last in all of baseball in production from short, running out a horrific .228/.295/.281 .576 OPS line that actually understates how bad it really was. The Giants shortstops scored 51 runs, accumulated 156 total bases, hit 1 home run, and made something like 450 outs.

Renteria (.270/.318/.382 .699 OPS) scored 69 runs, accumulated 192 total bases, hit 10 home runs, and also made something like 450 outs. To oversimplify just a bit, virtually all of the difference between him and the Giants shortstops was in the extra 9 home runs he hit; which he will never hit in a Giants uniform.

Again, a team as far from contention as the Giants shouldn’t even consider paying a 33-year old that kind of money, regardless of how good he is; and Renteria just isn’t all that good anymore. He had a fluky .332 season two years ago, but other than that, he’s been a league average hitter with modest defensive skills, who will be 34-years old this season.

Here’s what the boys at Baseball Prospectus said about Renteria before last season:

…. This may come as a surprise given his recent production, but PECOTA is not a fan of Edgar Renteria heading into 2008. His forecast is just .279/.343/.393 with a Collapse Rate of 50 percent. Part of the reason why for that decline is easy to spot—his BABIP was .375 last season, which helped him hit .332 on the season. There’s a significant drop in his projected power production as well, stemming from a combination of his getting older and also switching from the better league for hitters. If we adjusted his line from last year just for his BABIP, he would be somewhere around .307/.365/.445; that high Collapse Rate is PECOTA’s way of saying he isn’t as good as his 2007.

And then he wasn’t as good as his projection. You think he’s gonna be better this season, a right-hander with little power playing half his games at PacBell? $9 million good?

I don’t.

UPDATE: Apparently, what I think doesn’t matter ;-)

…. The team announced this morning it has signed 33-year-old Edgar Renteria to a two-year, $18.5 million contract that includes a third-year option for $9.5 million.

…. The Renteria signing appears to contradict the Giants’ master plan of going young and not signing players who might be on the down slope of their careers. But a team official, explaining recently why the Giants were pursuing an older shortstop, noted that it would be tough on the team’s young pitching staff to have an infield consisting of four rookies or second-year players.

Really? Why is that? Under what circumstances would young, healthy players that don’t spend weeks and weeks on the DL be worse for a pitcher than old, declining players with limited range.

Oh, and by the by, the best Renteria career highlight they could come up with for this article was this one:

…. In his younger days, he was one of the most dangerous clutch hitters in baseball. Just ask Vizquel, who watched Renteria single home the winning run for Florida in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series against Cleveland.

So, yeah, that was 12 years ago. As in, when Lincecum was in 7th grade. Talk about a great acquisition.

The Giants continue to fumble along, with nothing resembling a long-term plan, or vision. They simply apply stop-gap analysis to any perceived issue or idea. Remember signing Barry Zito? This happened at almost the exact time we were reading how the Giants had the best young –read, inexpensive, and cost-controlled– pitching staff in the game. It was about ten minutes later that the team inexplicably decided to go after a free agent pitcher –a declining one at that– with the biggest contract in baseball history.

Now, they sign an aging, declining shortstop, a position that is the easiest one to fill, by the way, since you can forgo offense for a good gloveman, even though they have no legitimate reason to do so.

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