To say Brian Sabean has struggled to find a permanent solution to the Giants shortstop problem the last few years would be quite the understatement.
In the past five seasons, the following offensive campaigns have been turned in by the Giants’ SS:
2007 – Omar Vizquel: .246/.305 OBP%/4 HR/51 RBI
2008 – Omar Vizquel: .222/.283 OBP%/0 HR/23 RBI (in 92 games)
2009 – Edgar Renteria: .250/.307 OBP%/5 HR/ 48 RBI
2010 – Juan Uribe: .248/.319 OBP%/24 HR/85 RBI (Renteria played only 72 games)
2011 – Miguel Tejada: .239/.270 OBP%/4 HR/26 RBI (in 91 games)
2011 – Orlando Cabrera: .222/.241 OBP%/1 HR/13 RBI (in 39 games)
2011 – Brandon Crawford: .204/.288 OBP%/3 HR/21 RBI (in 66 games)
Yeah. It’s been that bad. The solution?
Well apparently, it was Willie Bloomquist – you know, that same Willie who’s a career .264 hitter with a career .317 OBP% – oh, and like all the previously mentioned (outside of Crawford) he’s on the wrong side of 34 years old. Thankfully though, Willie spurned the Giants more lucrative offer and returned to the Arizona Diamondbacks for less money, saving Brian Sabean from yet another blunder – but don’t you worry, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to fix that during this offseason.
While offensively competent shortstops like Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes remain on the open market (although expensive), the Giants continue to shift their focus on offensive beasts like Clint Barmes and Yuniesky Betancourt – two guys who couldn’t hit a beach ball with a fungo bat and make Eugenio Velez look more Ozzie Smith than, uh, well Eugenio Velez.
Listen, if you’re not going to spend on Reyes or Rollins (and I understand the desire not to given the price tag) – just stop with the shortstop Cinderella wishes. The players in your financial range are no more beneficial than your current shortstop, Brandon Crawford.
Crawford is going to have a very sub-par offensive campaign in 2012 – anything above .250 would be deemed a successful year, but unlike the aforementioned collection of shortstop scrubs, Crawford is smooth as butter with the leather – something a team who so heavily relies on pitching needs. Shortstop is the defensive anchor to your infield. Giving that up for an extra five home runs and fifteen RBI in the span of a season simply isn’t worth it – and that doesn’t include the unearned runs the spotty defense from a Barmes/Betancourt would produce or the money they’d be stealing from their “rainy day fund”.
If you’re not going to go big for shortstop, stop trying to go at all. That glass slipper isn’t going to fit. You already have a player who can make plays defensively and easily is a top 10 glove at his position in the National League. The alternatives just aren’t there. There are plenty of more beneficial ways to throw out 4-8 million dollars – you’d think you’d have understood that by now.
Wait. You just tried to start a bidding war for Willie Bloomquist.