Home-grown or store-bought, that is the question. If you are talking about a foundation for a team, such as the San Francisco Giants compared to the Los Angeles Dodgers, then the answer is clearly a knee-jerk response: Home-grown is always better than store-bought.
However, when it comes to any given position, the same does not apply. Take Pablo Sandoval, for instance, before the Boston Red Sox snag him, since that seems to be the inevitable direction in which the Giants are heading. When (it does not seem to be “if” any more) The Panda departs, how should the sizable gap be filled-through free agency or from within?
Looking at the bigger picture first, before addressing the current third base gappage, the Giants obviously believe producing their own players from within is best, because they have made a habit of it. The entire infield from the just-completed postseason, comprised of Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval, all came up through San Francisco’s minor league system.
On the other hand, when home-grown product Nate Schierholtz did not pan out in right field, Brian Sabean went out and obtained Hunter Pence, quite possibly the single best acquisition of his storied career.
Sabean only pursues impact players through free agency. Is Ryan Zimmerman avaiable? End of discussion.
Earlier, Sabean had obtainedAngel Pagan
, and when he saw how Pagan meshed with the team, he re-signed him for four years, figuring that a defensive captain and offensive spark plug, all rolled into one, was the only way to go.
So ultimately, San Francisco picks and chooses its moments to dip into free agency, but when it does, expect an impact player. Remember Marco Scutaro? Jake Peavy? Impact players, both of them, regardless of how long they remain(ed) with the team.
Marco Scutaro was huge for the Giants, as a mid-summer addition in 2012. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
So Brian Sabean must ask himself if there is an impact player available at third base (besides The Panda), and if the answer is no, then he must look from within. Is Chase Headley an impact player? No, because if he were, I would not be asking the question. Is there another player available, that Sabean knows can get it done, through free agency?
The answer would again, appear to be no, unless he wants to go in the direction of Pedro Alvarez, recently deposed Pittsburgh Pirate third baseman, who lost his job to Josh Harrison in August, and now would appear to be searching for a new home. Prior to any move on Sabean’s part, would have to be some kind of explanation for Alvarez’ 24 errors at third base, by August 3rd of this past season.
No one is going to forget Pablo Sandoval’s being a finalist for a Gold Glove, if his replacement resembles a sieve, not that anyone will ever completely forget the Panda, and all that he brought to the table. If it weren’t for that very table, at which Sandoval seems, at times, to tarry a bit too long, the Giants would not be so reluctant to keep him in the fold.
That is all bamboo under the bridge, in terms of the future. If Brian Sabean cannot find the impact third baseman that he is seeking, then the next avenue of choice is to look from within. Line them up, count them off, and send them to winter ball to see who wants the job bad enough to develop his skills the most.
Begin with Adam Duvall and Chris Dominguez, add Matt Duffy and Hector Sanchez, and top it off with Ehire Adrianza and of course, Joaquin Arias, and let them duke it out for the spot. There is a great deal of talent in the bunch, with Duvall and Dominguez posing deep threats, and Duffy having the innate ability to get on base. If Andrew Susac is indeed going to back up Posey, then maybe Sanchez can make the transition to the hot corner. After all, Pablo Sandoval started out as a catcher.
All I am saying is that Sabean is not going to pursue free agency unless there is a worthy candidate, so with the success the organization has had from within, it makes sense to continue that trend, at least until something more viable pops up on the radar.
If you tell me Ryan Zimmerman is is available, I’m all ears. Otherwise, fergeddit, and look within.
Aug 8, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants second basemen Matt Duffy (50) chases down a ground ball against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports