And Bochy Played Orlando Cabrera Over Brandon Crawford, Why!?
By Bryan Rose
So, I think we can all pretty much conclude that Brandon Crawford wont ever be the next Troy Tulowitzki – hell, he might not even be Royce Clayton. But one thing he already has down is defense and given the Giants’ strengths in 2011, defense from the infield anchor spot was crucial. Yet, we were continually subjected to the likes of Miguel Tejada and Orlando Cabrera over Crawford, much to the chagrin of we fans.
So what did Bruce Bochy think of playing Orlando Cabrera over Brandon Crawford in the seasons final two months? Glad you asked…
"Does Bochy still feel acquiring Cabrera was the right move?“I do,” he said. “He’s a proven winner and an experienced player. You’re protecting the kid, who was having his problems offensively, hadn’t played at a higher level, and you know the pressure’s going to mount up, not just on him individually but on the club as you go down the wire in the pennant race. I felt we got a good, experienced player to help us in that role.”"
I really don’t even know where to start.
First off, problems offensively? Okay, Crawford was struggling at the dish – finishing the season (well, sans the final four games) with a .192/.282/.278 line. Not pretty. Clearly, the defensive downgrade from Crawford to Cabrera was worth the offensive punch OCab provided, right? I mean, he’s sitting on a .222/.241/.270 triple slash during his first forty games with the Giants. Cabrera had five errors in 36 games at shortstop and was unable to make countless other plays due to his lack of speed. Brandon Crawford made seven in 62 games, multiple of those charged because he tried to make a super-human play. In short, offensively, Cabrera was no better than Crawford and was incredibly sub-par defensively when compared to baseball’s version of The Professor.
From an offensive standpoint, Mike Fontenot was the superior of the three. That might not be saying much, but, it is what it is. Between Fontenot and Cabrera defensively, there isn’t much difference at all. They’re both sub-par from a range standpoint, both well behind Crawford. But, if you wanted to replace Crawford for his offensive impotence, Fontenot was the guy – not OCab.
Second, the experience factor? Bochy buys into this far too much. I mean, he himself said yesterday that the Giants clenched up – so isn’t that a bit of a contradiction? Saying you played Cabrera to avoid choking yet you admitted the Giants played too tight? I saw Orlando make quite a few mental mistakes during his short tenure with the black and orange – something one is supposed to avoid with “experience”. Not to mention, who got the hit that knocked the Giants out of the NL West race? It wasn’t a rookie hitting about .250, was it?
Listen, I know I harp on Bochy a bit – maybe that’s because I watched his ways in San Diego, first hand for ten years before he came to the Giants. But he refuses to alter his ways, no matter how obvious the signs. He continually mismanages his younger players – this is the same guy who more or less banished Shane Victorino in San Diego after less than forty games, almost ironically similar to the way he did Brandon Belt. Xavier Nady couldn’t find playing time no matter what he did in San Diego. The list goes on.
Bruce certainly has his strong points – I think he’s one of the best player managers in the game – he can control a clubhouse with the best of them. But it’s so difficult to watch him rely on aging vets like Aubrey Huff, Orlando Cabrera and Miguel Tejada despite the alternatives.
For his quote, what was he to say? Orlando sucks? I get the politically correct approach, but given the fact I heard the same speech when asked why he continually played Ryan Klesko, Phil Nevin and Vinny Castilla over younger players in San Diego, I actually think he believes it. And to me, that’s the scary part.