…. Keep it continuous

Here’s Bonehead Bochy’s early lineup card:

RF Randy Winn

SS Edgar Rentereia

3B Pablo Sandoval

C Bengie Molina

LF Fred Lewis

CF Aaron Rowand

1B Travis Ishikawa

2B Emmanuel Burriss, Kevin Frandsen or Eugenio Velez

Last season, the Giants were at or near the bottom in virtually every offensive category from the 3 and 4 spots in the lineup. Adding Renteria in the third slot, and leaving Molina as our cleanup hitter is the same as doing nothing. It means that we will be the same team we were last season, an anemic offense with some decent to spectacular starting pitching.

Not for nothing, but I don’t really have a problem with Sabean shit-canning the year and focusing on next. Just be honest about it.

But saying you are going to try and win, and then going out and making no significant changes to a last place offense, well, that’s infuriating. Sabean and company should be broiled for ignoring Texeria, a 28-year old stud who could carry the offense for the next six or seven years.

In fact, this team could hardly need Texeira more, if they intend to play to win, as Sabean seems to be suggesting they are.

Instead, we get to hear how we’re gonna go get the “still dominating” 45-year old Randy Johnson. Again, the team’s strength is supposed to be starting pitching, but we’re gonna sign a fossil of a starting pitcher. Great And after we’re done signing Johnson to another $10 million dollar deal, you will see that the $20 million needed to land Texeira will be laying on the ground between him and Renteria.

That’s just plain stupid.

UPDATE: As pointed out by Giantsrainman, Renteria is batting second. My bad.

But even so, the Giants were at the bottom in that slot as well (87 runs, 14th in the NL, 258 total bases, 12th, .322 OBP, 12th), and Renteria is projected to produce something just like that, so my point still holds. In his last big season, 2007, he scored 87 runs, had 232 total bases, and a .390 OBP, and that was the best season he’s run out in his last five. Last season he was nowhere near any of those numbers.

And your argument that Sandoval will be a big upgrade with the bat and the glove is based on what? Here’s how John Sickels sees him:

…. 2006 was an odd year. He hit just .265/.309/.322 for Augusta in the Sally League, with significant slippage in his plate discipline and no power. He played first base and third base, but without showing enough offense for either position. I left him out of the 2007 book, but would rate him a Grade C prospect, looking like he might get lost in the shuffle, though he was still just 19.

He recovered some stock value in 2007, hitting .287/.312/.476 for San Jose in the Cal League and moving back to catcher. Arm strength remained an asset, but problems with footwork and polish were present, granted moving positions didn’t help him gain consistency. His walk rate was quite low, just 16 walks in 401 at-bats, but the strikeouts weren’t out of bounds at 52 and the better power production was notable. I gave him a Grade C in the book this year, writing that the bat was intriguing but that I wasn’t sure where he would fit defensively.

Sandoval has been terrific this year: .359/.412/.597 in the California League, .337/.364/.549 in the Eastern League, .349/.366/.500 for the Giants. Given his age, I think this improvement is mostly for real, although I don’t think the .349 average will be sustainable over a full season. But I think he can hit .280-.300, with at least moderate power. Defensively, he’s spent time at first base, catcher, and third base for the Giants. The sample sizes are too small at each position for the defensive numbers to mean much, so I’m still unsure where he fits best in the long run. Obviously having a catcher who can hit like that is harder to find than a first baseman.

Poor footwork, lack of experience at the corner infield spots, devastatingly low OBP, and one good year out of four in the minors means he’s better than Pedro Feliz or whoever that horror show was last season?

I sure hope so, because, once again, the team has chosen to ignore the possibility of going after any of the top hitters available. And you can argue all you want about why you think they didn’t, but in the end, not having the financial wherewithal has to be considered one of the primary reasons. And $10 million dollars year for the Edgar Renteria’s of the baseball world is the reason they are in that spot.

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