Err, I mean Cody Ross. Okay, I kid – a little. Maybe.
With Andres Torres out for at least 10-14 days (and probably longer, since I can see the future), the Giants have a bit of a problem in center field. Manning the corners are Pat Burrell and Jose Guillen, so speed is, well – nonexistent. As important as Torres was to the leadoff position, he might have just been that much more important to the team defense. How many times have you seen Torres sprint over in front of Pat or Jose to claim a ball they were burning wind to get to? Plenty.
So that leaves the Giants with quite a predicament. Who replaces Andres The Giant? The options look painfully bleak.
Defensively, Nate Schierholtz seems to be the best of the potential outfield replacements. But, he’s played a total of zero career games in center field. So, I guess we can quickly scratch that one off the list.
Aaron Rowand? Do I really have to? Ugh.
I don’t dislike Rowand the person, but, watching Rowand the baseball player is pretty much the equivalent of having some deranged dentist play connect four with your teeth. An opposing pitcher could throw a beach ball up there and if it broke more than two inches, Rowand would miss it. Fuck, he could use one of those giant, red, plastic bats you buy in the toy aisle at CVS and he’d still whiff strong enough to create a tidal wave out in the bay. And as for his defense? Well, he tries. I’ll give him that. But, he continually misses his cut off man. He can’t get to balls he could about five years ago. And well, despite his best efforts, he’s really just an average center fielder for the most part.
So I guess that leaves us with Cody Ross. Painfully.
Ross has played 348 career games in center, so, he’s fully capable of playing the position and playing it pretty well defensively. I’m not one of the guys that feels Ross is a premier defender out there, but, he’s not awful. And that’s what we’re looking for. He’s faster than Rowand and plays a more controlled game. None of those “see how far you can throw it over the cutoff man” last ditch efforts to show off your below average arm, Scott.
The problem with Ross (as with Rowand) is the offense. Neither is going to get it done. Ross has been blind worthy bad with the Giants at the dish and his career .265 average is, well, average – at best. Rowand is equally as awful and neither player deserves the leadoff spot in which Torres was manning.
To me, it’s clear that Cody Ross should be given the majority of starts and be given all starts versus left handed pitching. He’s a better defender than Rowand and at least his speed could be considered an asset in the lineup.
The Giants have a clear issue at the top of the order though – a problem that really lacks a fix. Cody Ross, despite his speed, isn’t much of an asset in the one hole. A career .321 OBP makes Rowands career .335 look impressive.
Looking through the lineup, Freddy Sanchez appears to be a potential choice. In 79 career games batting leadoff, Sanchez has amassed a .308 avg and a .343 OBP. Edgar Renteria also has similar numbers batting first with a career .289 average and .362 OBP in his 79 games as well. Neither player fixes what Torres leaves behind, but, considering the alternatives…the Giants don’t have a lot of options.