The Giants’ Big Flaw

When it comes to season-long success, I remain convinced that depth is an underrated asset – every team is going to struggle with injuries or unexpected poor performance, and those that have reliable alternatives in house can limit the damage and keep from being caught off guard. In that sense, I think we have to give the San Francisco Giants quite a bit of credit – they might be the deepest team in baseball.

Andres Torres, Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Mark DeRosa, and Nate Schierholtz give the team five useful outfielders, and that’s before we consider that Brandon Belt‘s arrival could push Aubrey Huff into the outfield as well. Belt also serves as insurance at first base, should Huff get injured or fail to hit. Barry Zito is their fifth starter. They have enough power arms to live without Brian Wilson for a few weeks if he’s not ready to go by opening day.

At most positions, the Giants have some insurance, and should be able to plug leaks that spring up during the season. But there’s one spot on the field that they’ve left themselves vulnerable at, and it happens to be a pretty important one.

It’s relatively shocking to me that a team with aspirations of defending their World Championship is planning on going into the season with Miguel Tejada as their starting shortstop and Mike Fontenot as the only guy on the roster capable of filling in for him. Tejada turns 37 in May, and was already moved off of shortstop once due to a lack of range. Now, he’s being asked to shoulder the load at a position that he probably shouldn’t be playing to begin with, and the Giants have opted to give him a go without any kind of safety net.

Fontenot, a second baseman by trade, is good enough defensively to handle the keystone position, but he’s simply not a shortstop. He’s ill-suited for the role of primary reserve for the position, especially when the starter is aging and in decline, as is the case with Tejada. The Giants have essentially handed shortstop over to a third baseman who is being backed up by a second baseman.

I get that this wasn’t their first choice. I know that they tried to get Jason Bartlett over the winter, but he ended up in San Diego and Tejada was the best guy left on the market. There is some justification for hoping to get one last decent offensive season out of the guy, but if you’re going to take that gamble, you have to at least give yourself a viable alternative in case it doesn’t work.

Fontenot does not qualify as a viable alternative at shortstop for a team trying to win. While shortstops are scarce at the moment, the Giants need to be kicking down every door they can, looking for a guy who can handle the position with some regularity if need be. At the least, they need a guy who can give Tejada a day off when Madison Bumgarner takes his sinker to the mound – it’s simply unfair to ask him to get many groundball outs with Tejada and Pablo Sandoval composing the left side of the infield.

With Brandon Belt creating a squeeze for playing time, the Giants have some guys they can spare. It’d be well worth their while to start shopping around and seeing whether they can convert some of the depth they have at other positions into a real Major League shortstop. Call me crazy, but I think a team trying to win the NL West should have at least one on the roster.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


102 Responses to “The Giants’ Big Flaw”

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  1. Mark says:

    We need Bocock back now!

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  2. jp_on_rye says:

    I am still disappointed they didn’t hold out for Hardy. I’m not all that worried about shortstop though. That said, I strongly doubt that either Tejada or Fontenot will be manning the position for the Giants by July.

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    • GiantHusker says:

      There are a lot of games before July. Don’t forget that the Giants sneaked into the playoffs on the last day of the season last year.

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  3. eastsider says:

    Your assertion that they should use some of their depth to get a better shortstop is pretty clear. But I think the answer why they haven’t is also in the article – their aren’t any shortstops available. And they aren’t the only ones looking. Do you think Milwaukee is happy with Yuni? St Louis with The Riot? Those are the first two that come to mind. I’m sure there are others.

    Wouldn’t it just have been better to throw more money at Bartlett? Seems to me however much that would have cost over Tejada would be less than the cost of whoever they would trade for plus the cost in outfield depth. I think that calculation was pretty clear to the Giants during the offseason and they made their decision with their eyes open and no trade is coming.

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    • Adam W says:

      The Red Sox will almost certainly be shopping either Scutaro or Lowrie at the deadline, and the Dodgers could look to unload either Furcal or Jamie Carrol.

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      • Tom Pinzone says:

        Why? They’re planning on using Lowrie to cover all four spots in the infield, minus catcher, this season and all four of their infield starters are coming off injuries from 2010. Francona tends to err on the side of caution in terms of sitting guys with even slight physical issues, and working in off days throughout the season to keep everyone fresh. Lowrie is immensely useful in the capacity of a super utility role.

        Scutaro has an option for 2012 and could be let go if they think Lowrie can step in at short until Iglesias is ready. I see no reason a team trying to win it all would trade either one of them and cause problems for them depth wise, especially after last season.

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      • RC says:

        The only way Lowrie isn’t the staring shortstop by June is if he gets hurt again.

        He’s a better defender than Scutaro at SS, and is worth about 30 runs more with the bat. Scutaro may ‘start’ at SS, but Lowrie will get more overall playing time, and ABs.

        Scutaro WILL be available.

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      • Tom Pinzone says:

        RC: You can’t seriously think a team with playoff aspirations is going to willingly trade away proven MLB talent at shortstop in mid season, for literally, no reason?

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      • doug K says:

        Gotta disagree with this. By June, Lowrie is the starter and Scutaro is the utility IF and the Sox have no reason to do anything else unless they get hit with worse injuries in the OF than they even did last year.

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    • GiantHusker says:

      Bartlett wasn’t a free agent, so they could not have just “throw(n) more money” at Bartlett.

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  4. Telo says:

    Point noted, but as you said, they tried to improve, there just ain’t much floating around in the way of help at SS right now. I don’t think settling for a cheap 0-2 WAR at a single position necessarily precludes a team from winning their division, or having success in the postseason. Is it less than ideal? Sure, but don’t mortgage the future to squeeze out one more win when the market is more or less dry.

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  5. DrBGiantsfan says:

    That’s a valid point. They may be hoping Tejada can hold to fort until mid-season and see if Brandon Crawford hits at all in Fresno. Crawford could probably handle the position defensivey right now, but is also probably not ready to take on MLB pitching. Emmanuel Burriss has intriguing speed, but seems to have fumble-fingers in the field even though his range is undoubtedly better than Tejada’s.

    I don’t know how many organizations have a surplus of SS’s or one that is blocked that might be available. It’s a very thin position right now.

    The Giants pitchers get a lot of K’s and are a pretty extreme flyball group, so defense at the position may not be as critical as, say, for the St. Louis Cardinals but it’s still important.

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    • Dan says:

      I absolutely agree…the Giants as a pitching staff posted the 5th lowest GB% of any team last year. They are a flyball staff in a good park for that. Their lack of a serviceable SS is not NEARLY as critical as it is for a team like the Cardinals or Braves who posted the top GB%’s. There is also a pretty solid chance that as a SS trade market opens up the Giants will become players if and when Tejada fails. The team on March 31st/April 1st is hardly ever the team on August or September 1st (aka the very same Giants last year!).

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      • ElJimador says:

        A few more stats from last season to underscore how the Giants w/their pitching staff probably need a good defensive SS less than any other team in baseball:

        386 BIZ to SS last year = 2nd fewest in MLB (3 more than FLA)
        39 OOZ by SS = fewest in baseball
        340 total Plays (on BIZ) + OOZ = fewest in baseball (tied with FLA)
        392 Assists = 2nd fewest in baseball (4 more than FLA)
        614 PO+Assists = fewest in baseball

        Plus if we remember, few people considered Uribe a credible SS anymore when the Giants signed him, or even going into last season when the old and brittle Renteria was the “only real SS” on the depth chart ahead of him. And somehow that worked out okay.

        So I’m not questioning that SS is a weakness for the Giants. Obviously it is and Dave is right to point it out. However I think the Giants are right to recognize their own unique circumstances and try players at the position who other teams wouldn’t, rather than overpay for a legit SS supposedly out of need. Because like last year it might just work out, and if it doesn’t they’ll still have the opportunity to acquire someone by the trade deadline, or possibly bring up Crawford or Adrianza to at least be the late game defensive replacement like Schierholtz was for Burrell last year.

        Without knowing what the asking price was for Hardy or Bartlett (or Scutaro, since supposedly they were in talks w/the Sox too), I’m willing to give Sabean the benefit of the doubt that he knew the needs of his team well enough not to overpay for a position that’s less of a need for his team than for any other.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Well, we know the Padres gave up a pair of MLB quality relievers for Bartlett, something I don’t think the Giants wanted to do.

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    • GiantHusker says:

      I see no sign that Crawford is ready to hit AA pitching, let alone AAA or Major League. I don’t really consider him a prospect.

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    • PiratesBreak500 says:

      I think one thing worth noting, even with the flyball/K rates is that there’s a cascading effect when groundballs which could/should be outs get through for hits. Forget the increase in expected run values; What if the having Tejada over a better defensive shortstop becomes a difference of 10-20 pitches a game for the pitching staff? Magnified over the course of a season, what’s the increased probability of pitcher injury from increased pitches per outing?

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  6. EnglishMariner says:

    Jack Wilson is available!

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  7. M.Twain says:

    Josh Wilson will be available soon.

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  8. Matt Kremnitzer says:

    Why didn’t they just trade for J.J. Hardy? The O’s acquired him from the Twins for two average to below-average prospects (both are bullpen guys). It wouldn’t have taken that much to get him.

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    • Nate says:

      The impression is that by signing Tejada, the Giants severely depressed Hardy’s price, in that the Oriole’s weren’t competing for him.

      That said, it could be argued that with all options being crap, the best course of action would be let someone else make the first move.

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      • quincy0191 says:

        Of course, if you do that, then you may be held hostage by a team or player that knows you need them. The Twins didn’t have to trade Hardy; what if the Giants wait for the O’s to sign Tejada and then they NEED to get Hardy? The Orioles weren’t in that position – Cesar Izturis may not be good, but they think he is – and got Hardy for the same reason they got Mark Reynolds; he was better than what they were playing there, and he didn’t cost much. They had leverage, whereas if the Giants had waited they wouldn’t, since their other options were defensive specialists who didn’t hit at all.

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  9. Ed says:

    How about Jack Wilson for Fontenot straight up? That would give the M’s someone to hold down second base until Ackley is ready in June.

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    • Nate says:

      That’d make Freddy the happiest guy in the world.

      Also brings to mind images of Burrell and Huff stuffing Sanchez and Wilson into in lockers. :)

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  10. Jeremy says:

    Their best bet is probably to deal some of the minor league talent for Jose Reyes and try to resign him. He would be a beast playing his home games with triple’s alley there….

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    • bgrosnick says:

      Ugh. From the Mets perspective, that sounds awful. I advocate trading Reyes, but for pitching. Unless all of a sudden the Giants are willing to deal Bumgarner, Sanchez, or Wheeler, the Giants pitching prospects don’t fill me with glee.

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      • Danya says:

        I’m guessing Reyes-to-Giants-for-a-package-beginning-with-Wheeler rumors will be heard a lot this season.

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      • ofMontreal says:

        I like this idea too. Actually I think Sanchez would be the guy they’d offer, but maybe the money concern by the Mets would make it Wheeler. But this could work out.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        Which Sanchez? If they offered Freddy Sanchez as a centerpiece, the conversation wouldn’t last 5 seconds. If you’re talking about Hector Sanchez, that wouldn’t work because the Mets are satisfied with Thole as their catcher. Maybe there’s a Sanchez I don’t know about?

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      • bgrosnick says:

        Yup. Jonathan Sanchez. The starter. Pretty great.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        Wow, not sure how I overlooked him!

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      • manuscript says:

        @vivalajeter: would it too blatantly reveal my small-market affinity if i pointed out that there are a lot of things happening in the baseball world that yankee fans never seem to manage to find out?

        (not trying to derail this discussion, honestly.)

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      • vivalajeter says:

        manuscript, I actually live in SF and follow the Giants (not a fan, but I do follow them). Forgetting Sanchez was a brain fart.

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    • Rambler says:

      I think that Reyes is a perfect option for the Giants… as a Met fan I hope it doesn’t happen.
      There just aren’t that many premium SS around anymore. It would take some pretty exciting pitching prospects to rest him from the Mets. Ya’ll mentioned Wheeler… but I think that there is still some major work to do.

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    • giantsrainman says:

      I doubt if the Giants are really interested. Such a trade would likely cost Wheeler or J.Sancehz. I do not see the Giants trading J.Sanchez and creating a hole in the rotation to impove at SS I further do not see the Giants blowing a hole in their future salary budgets by both not having Wheeler available to replace Zito and having large dollars invested at SS long term. To me this means that both Tejada and F.Sanchez will have to be replaced on the cheap at the end of the year when their contracts expire. I see the Giants going in house to do this with Crawford and Culberson at SS and 2B respectively and keeping Fontenot for his final year of arbitration as the backup to both posiitons.

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      • giantsrainman says:

        If I am right about this then next year the Giants will have an entire home developed starting infield (Posey-C, Belt-1B, Culberson-2B, Sandoval-3B, Crawford-SS) to go with their 4 out 5 SPs that are also home developed. Their is even a shot that one of next year’s three starting outfielders might end up being home developed. Thomas Neal could join Huff and Torres in next year’s starting outfield. I do not see the Giants bring back Ross for the same reason I do not see F.Sanchez or Tejada returning. The dollars to do so are needed to keep the pitching staff togeather. I could however see Pat Burrell again returning on the cheap as insurance incase Neal is not ready.

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  11. bgrosnick says:

    What about Ryan Rohlinger in the minors? Wouldn’t he make a viable, acceptable option as a utility infielder? He doesn’t seem to project too badly with the bat, and I heard he played reasonable SS in AAA last year. Not a world-beater, but it sounds as if he could fill in (short term) if Miggy can’t go.

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    • Dan says:

      I imagine Brandon Crawford would be first in line to fill in from their farm. He can’t hit, but he’s their best defensive option by a wide margin (at least in the upper minors).

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      • Nate says:

        Yeah, the presence of Crawford probably insures that there’s zero chance of the Giants acquiring a glove-only SS from someone else. Before ST I would probably have had Burris ahead on the call-up but he’s been horrible defensive at 2B.

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  12. AdamS says:

    It would be really nice if Brandon Crawford starting hitting like Brandon Belt.

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  13. dillon says:

    Nice article. However, just to let you know, Mark Derosa has been seeing some time at short stop. So outside of Fontenot, there is a guy capable filling that position. It’s actually Derosa’s original position when he came up with Atlanta.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      That was a long time ago. Saw DeRo play short in Arizona, and I hope the team doesn’t really think he’s capable of it. His glove was declining to the point that he was moved to the outfield before his injury.

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      • dillon says:

        “His glove was declining to the point that he was moved to the outfield before his injury.” That is not true. The majority of the games he played with STL in 2009 was at 3B and he played a total of 105 games in 2009 at 3B. And no I am not saying short is the same thing as third, I am just proving a point that they did not move him to the outfield because “his glove was declining”.

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      • MH says:

        And all the defensive metrics had him below average at 3B in 2009. In 2010 for SF he played no 3B and 75% of his innings in the outfield before he got hurt. Declining glove may have been part of that. Which is probably what Eno is referring to. That, and he hasn’t spent more than a few innings at short in 5 years.

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      • dillon says:

        “Defensive metrics” Lol. My point is that Derosa is more than capable of softening the load at SS for Tejada. BUT I also really don’t see the evidence for Tejada not being capable to play SS well. He played really well at SS with the SD last year and was only moved to 3B in Baltimore because they wanted Cesar Isturiz to play SS. Tejada is not a 3B and it showed in Baltimore last year and is the only reason for ill feelings toward his defensive ability right now. Wait till the season starts and he has played a month or so then you can write about his ability. Until then…

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      • Nick says:

        Good job, Dillon. It’s not hard to show what a useless blowhard Eno Sarris is. As per usual, he says something that isn’t true. Surprise!

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      • Nick says:

        Eno Sarris: “His glove was declining to the point that he was moved to the outfield before his injury.”

        Dillon: “That is not true. The majority of the games he played with STL in 2009 was at 3B and he played a total of 105 games in 2009 at 3B.”

        Ouch! Put one on the board for Dillon.

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      • BlackOps says:

        At the end of his time in Cleveland, he DID switch almost full-time from third to the outfield. From May 26th until June 26th, his last game with Cleveland, he only started at third 5 times and the outfield 20 times. So, he did move to the outfield, whether it was for defensive purposes or not, it happened. Good job on the research, Nick.

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      • Nick says:

        BlackOps he didnt get hurt right when he joined the Cardinals. Look at the data again, skippy. Eno got owned, and it isn’t surprising.

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  14. Kazinski says:

    Josh Wilson will probably be available at the end of camp for nothing or almost nothing from the Mariners. He is abysmal offensively but just slightly below average at SS. He isn’t any sort of a solution as a potential starter but he is a competent defensive backup.

    Jack Wilson won’t be available until Ackley comes up in June, and may well be on the DL by then.

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  15. Dave says:

    It’s not fair to Sabes to expect them to be deep at EVERY position, is it?

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    • dillon says:

      Sports writers are always looking for something to write about even though there opinion doesn’t really matter.

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    • Joe S. says:

      Agreed. Just because every position is not manned by a gold glover/silver slugger doesn’t necessarily scream “GLARING WEAKNESS”. If Tejada plays average defense and hits a 700+ OPS, the Giants will be likely be fine.

      On the other hand, he is at the age where a steep drop off is possible. But, if you have problems, its nice to have only one problem. If an improvement at SS is all the Giants need at the trade deadline then it will probably be a good year.

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    • Anon says:

      Yeah. You can’t have Jose Reyes backing up Hanley Ramirez. It’s a little unrealistic to expect the backup NOT to be a downgrade from the starter. It’s why he’s a backup, not a starter.

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  16. Bigmouth says:

    You are right, and the problem is exacerbated by Sandoval’s struggles at 3b. Looks like slimming down hasn’t translated to success in the field. Not yet, at least.

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    • Graham says:

      Actually, that’s only half-true: he’s unquestionably had more range and been quicker on his feet this spring. I believe most of his errors have been throwing errors.

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      • Mac says:

        Yep, the Panda may be one “best shape of his life” candidate who really has improved. My favorite explanation for the high number of throwing errors is that Sandoval’s newly increased range is allowing him to field balls in places he’s never fielded them before, so when he then throws the ball the angles are all new to him and he’s missing a lot.

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      • Bigmouth says:

        Graham: Unquestionably? That’s a bit strong. The line from Henry Schulman the other day was “lots of bobbles and bad throws.”

        Mac: It’s possible the problem is he’s getting his glove on balls he couldn’t reach before. But that’s not the impression I get from the description I quoted above.

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      • Bigmouth says:

        The full quote is: “In truth, I’d be more worried about Pablo Sandoval. His defense down here has been scarier, with lots of bobbles and bad throws to go with a few nice plays.”

        Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/giants/index#ixzz1HYaLKfpn

        Again, it doesn’t sound positive overall.

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  17. joe febeetz says:

    eh, you lost me when you included Schierholtz in your list of useful outfielders…

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    • quincy0191 says:

      Schierholtz is a useful outfielder. He’s at least competent at every position, and his excellent RF defense allows the team to take Burrell out in the late innings and move Ross to left, thereby giving the pitchers a 3 CF defense (yeah, Schierholtz hasn’t really played CF, but he certainly looks like he can, and in any case he’s excellent out there in right).

      That’s a good 5th OF: defensive replacement. He doesn’t hit all that well, but every so often he’ll run into one, and he’s got good speed, which is the one thing that’s lacking for the Giants.

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  18. Tom says:

    Agreed that DeRosa is one option at shortstop (I was at a spring training game where they tried him in Scottsdale a few weeks ago), and Freddy Sanchez also played SS early in his career. These are not ideal choices, but Freddy Sanchez seems to be an improving defender over the year… everyone was surprised at how good he was when he started last year. I think he could handle SS in a pinch as well.

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  19. giants have enough guns to back up Tejada

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  20. TheProhet says:

    Give Crawford two months in Fresno to just relax and find his swing. Even if he hits .220 in the bigs and plays very good defense I’d take that over Tejada batting .250 and playing horrible at SS. You don’t need stud offensively at short anyways.

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  21. Nick says:

    I remember when the fangraphs community and MCC claimed that Huff was a clank at 1st base as well. How did that one work out for fangraphs?

    Derosa can play short too, but convenient that you left him out.

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  22. BillWallace says:

    Good article.
    Summary of counterpoints seen in this article.
    1) Tejada projects to about 1.0 war, which is not good, but not a disaster
    2) His biggest deficiency, defense, synergizes well with the Giants KO/FB pitching staff
    3) The other options are not much better. In retrospect it looks like Hardy could have been had, but maybe he tried for him and it didn’t make sense for a reason we don’t know.
    4) If Tejada turns out to be worthless, they can either make a move, or use a replacement level player (Fontenot or Rohlinger) in that position. It’s not impossible to be a contender with a replacement level player at one position.

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  23. Nick says:

    And btw, to the “knowledgaeble” Jponry, Mod at MCC, and Jason Bartlett lover, and as well to Dave “I’m never wrong” Cameron, let’s look at some data shall we? Since data is what this site is all about.

    Tejada last 3 years UZR at shortstop: -17.1

    Bartlett last 3 years UZR at shortstop: -17.9

    Hmmmmmmmm

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  24. Paul Thomas says:

    Surprised they didn’t claim Steve Tolleson when the A’s waived him a few weeks ago. He’s a useful utility infielder.

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  25. Paul Thomas says:

    Also, the rotation isn’t exactly deep either. The front five are fine (Zito’s vastly overpaid, but at worst a bit below average from an objective standpoint), but as far as I know there is not a single other player in the organization who has ever even started a game for the Giants. AFAIK the #6 starter right now is Jeff Suppan, who is unbelievably awful.

    The current rotation is very durable by pitcher standards, but “durable by pitcher standards” is a phrase akin to “tall by Lilliputian standards.”

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    • Nick says:

      I’m sure about 28 teams in baseball would kill for the Giants starting 5, and I’d wager that none of their 6th starter is very good either, otherwise, they’d be in the rotation.

      Conclusion; Nitpicky is nitpicky.

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    • dillon says:

      Dan Runzler is one of Giants backup starters. His stuff is straight up nasty and scouts rave about him. Hopefully he can throw strikes a little bit more consistently and he could end up being a very very good major league pitcher.

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      • bgrosnick says:

        Dan Runzler? Really? His stuff is sick, but he couldn’t find the strike zone with a GPS. And would he magically be able to up his innings load from 50ish to 100/150ish quickly?

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      • Nick says:

        Hey bgrosnick, how many teams 6th starter is better than what the Giants have? I’m honestly curious.

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      • dillon says:

        give me a break man. there is a reason the giants are trying to convert him to a starter.

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      • dillon says:

        And you really think its that hard to up your innings from 50 to 100-150? Not really and more than likely the giants wont even be needing a “6th starter”.

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      • bgrosnick says:

        I’d vote that the Blue Jays (Scrabble), Braves (Minor), Orioles (Tillman), Twins (Slowey), Reds (Leake), Rangers (Feliz), and A’s (Outman) all have better 6th starters. But that’s just off the top of my head. Runzler is just such a cipher – he could be in the top half, he could be in the bottom half.

        And I have no idea how hard it is. Some pitchers do it well (CJ Wilson), others have more trouble with it. But I doubt it should be ignored as a factor in a pitcher’s development, is all. Will his stuff still be so great with the added workload? Will he lose velo?

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    • GiantHusker says:

      The Giants have nobody who projects as even a replacement-level starter after the first 5. They have been extraordinarily lucky in not having pitcher injuries that hurt them in the last few years (when Johnson was injured, they got Penny, who had an extraordinary way-over-his-head few weeks for them). With the heavier-than-ever load that every one of the young starters bore last year, one or more will almost surely have injury problems this season. They may not luck out on a replacement again.

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  26. zenbitz says:

    Pre-season weaknesses, San Francisco Giants, 2010: Entire offense

    Pre-season weaknesses, San Francisco Giants, 2011: Back up shortstop, 6th starter.

    I’ll take it.

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    • doug K says:

      Sorry to say this but I think the pre-season weaknesses in 2011 includes the entire offense once again. That can be overcome as they showed last year and that is why it is being talked about differently this time around. But the problems are still there across the board. In my view, there isnt a position on the field other than catcher where you can confidently project a Giants player to be an above average performer.

      So when you are that weak and have a glaring hole at the most important defensive position that glaring hole can loom large. For the Giants to win, they gotta be exceptional defensively. But it is true that the Giants depend more on outfield defense than infield. Andres Torres might loom as the most important guy on their roster.

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      • quincy0191 says:

        This is just flat-out not true. Even regression from Torres and Huff ought to be canceled out by regression from Ross and Sandoval, who both underperformed last year. Right now, the Giants are fielding an average to above-average player at every position, and some (Huff, Torres, Posey, possibly Sandoval) are quite a bit above average. Why can’t we be confident about projecting Sanchez to be above-average? He’s very good defensively and provides average in lieu of OBP or SLG, but really getting offense out of 2B is hard. Ross is a pretty good power guy who had an off year in 2010. Sandoval’s primed for a rebound. Tejada won’t be great, but he’s not going to hit like Brendan Ryan. Huff isn’t going to be a six win player, but 3-4 wins seems reasonable. Torres is above average with no bat; his defense is that good. Burrell is a bit more frightening considering his time in Tampa, but maybe that was being a DH considering how he hit when he got to SF. Posey is Posey.

        I see a very deep lineup. 1-8 they have a solid bat. And the bench features some pretty nice options in DeRosa, Fontenot, Rowand (yeah, he’s not good, but for a 4th OF he’s got some nice upside), etc. I think they will have several above-average performers, though outside of Posey you can’t predict superstars, and his youth makes him a little questionable.

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  27. cs3 says:

    “Dan Runzler? Really? His stuff is sick, but he couldn’t find the strike zone with a GPS. And would he magically be able to up his innings load from 50ish to 100/150ish quickly?”

    well 100/150 innings wouldnt really be an issue unless someone gets hurt the first month. and in the even of an injury to starters 1-5, at the very least i can see him being an ok emergency starter for a 2-3 weeks until they can figure out what tehy want to do

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  28. CircleChange11 says:

    For a team that won the WS with Renteria at SS, I don’t think Miggy is a glaring flaw.

    I thought not giving Renteria a “champions” multi-year deal was a great move.

    I also don’t think that many teams have depth at SS, and even fewer teams will be SOL if their starting SS goes down. We’ve exited the period where there were many good SS and entered one where there are few.

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  29. CircleChange11 says:

    Am I alone in thinking that Michal Young may go to the 1st contender that experiences the first infielder 60-day injury? Right now no one needs him, and his contract is heavy … But desperationtends to lead to such decisions.

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  30. Ghost Dog says:

    As I mentioned on sfgiantsworld.net, why not Michael Young for 2yrs, especially if TEX is willing to eat 50% of his contract, as rumored. He can certainly hit well enough to make up for any loss in range and is no doubt a better SS than either Miggy or Font. May cost the G’s a package like Tanner, Runzler, Ishi and Holtz, and maybe Neal or Kieschnick, but those are all essentially spare parts right now.

    Then sign Reyes as a FA in ’12 and have Young replace DeRosa as a super ultility guy, where he’ll still get 400 or so ab’s.. IMHO Crawford or Adrianza will really need to step it up this yr to prove they are anything other than backup SS’s in the Bigs. As of now, neither can hit a lick..

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    • quincy0191 says:

      We’re still paying him $8M a year then, Young can’t play any position anymore, and we already have Rowand and Zito’s contracts. Don’t need another bench guy making almost eight figures, especially if we have to give up players to get him, not to mention that we just can’t afford it. Michael Young does not make sense for this team unless they trade Rowand for him.

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  31. Fergie348 says:

    I doubt that Young can play SS at this point any better than Miggy can. Or DeRosa for that matter. Also, if the first team to experience a major middle infielder loss were to come knocking, wouldn’t that be the Phillies who have Utley on the shelf for at least a month or two? They didn’t pull the trigger on Young, I wonder why?..

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I was thinking of an injury that occurred 1/3 to 1/2 way through the season.

      Now, if Utley is out for 2 monthes and his replacement cannot produce, then that is a different scenario.

      Right now, nobody “needs” him … as teams are waiting to see if their plan B’s pan out.

      Even as a 2.5-3 WAR player, teams may not see him being worth the 3-y 48M he has left.

      So, it could “just be me” that was wondering if teams will be interested in him once they experience an infield injury. A half season of Young is not going to be worth the other 2 years of his contract.

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  32. Fergie348 says:

    I think that Sabean believes that because the majority of his staff are fly ball pitchers, it doesn’t matter much who plays short. We’ll see if the theory pays off or not – nothing worse than losing a couple of games because your infield defense kicked the ball around in the late innings..

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  33. armando salinas says:

    The SS will be OK,I´m worried about Sandoval´s fielding,
    needs a lot of work,he may be ready by June,hope his bats well,
    Lets see how the season starts.

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  34. J says:

    You say that depth is underrated and yet you criticize the A’s for having “too much” relief pitching. Makes perfect sense…

    By the way, Bartlett was traded almost 3 weeks after the Giants signed Tejada. They could have kept trying if Bartlett was really their number 1 choice.

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  35. Mr Punch says:

    I think Scutaro may well in fact become available, at or before the deadline – not because the Sox want to dump him, but because they find they have other needs and he will be a tradable commodity. The ideal trade partner would be a contending team that is weak at SS but deep overall.

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  36. James says:

    Tejada can hold the fort until a prospect is ready. You don’t need a Superstar at every position to win baseball games. The Giants can’t take on more payroll and it wouldn’t be wise to trade top prospects. Teams don’t like good glove, no hit players because they don’t like automatic outs in the lineup.

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    • Fergie348 says:

      Problem is, the only SS prospects the Giants have that could conceivably be ready by 2012 are either good glove no hit (see, Brandon Crawford), or questionable glove, questionable hit (see, Emmanuel Burriss). Adrianza is still very young so we don’t yet know if his bat will come around but early returns are not promising.

      We’ve got two prospects in Crawford and Adrianza who project to field a good SS defense but contribute at replacement level with the bat. Tejada, for all his flaws, will probably be a 2 – 2.5 WAR player this year. Maybe. If he stays healthy. There’s a lot of fort holding going on here, which I assume is the point of Dave’s post.

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  37. I am willing to bet that Tejada won’t be the shortstop come September. I have a feeling a trade will happen.

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