Nothing but Giants this week...
OK, two issues for Sabean et al. this week: who to play, and whether to sign Pat Burrell. I'm going to run two numbers...projected EqA from BP 2010, and OPS+ for this year so far. Obviously, for some of these guys it's a very limited year to date, but it's what we have.
Sanchez 250 61
Renteria 255 102
Uribe 246 105
Huff 260 112
S'holtz 267 107
Bowker 269 66
Torres 238 130
DeRosa 261 42
Burrell 261 70
and since you're asking, Posey is projected to 349 OBP/424 SLG, good for a 270 EqA.
OK. We're talking about five spots (1B/3B, 2B, SS, LF, RF). At least two of the MIs, obviously, have to play, counting DeRosa as a MI, including at least one of Renteria and Uribe. I'm assuming that everything else is flexible; anyone on the list could play 1B/3B or LF, and most of them could play RF. Sound good?
The next thing I'd say is that from a developmental point of view, there's no one here who has to play. Most of them are at the ends of their careers, and the two young players have very limited potential; I could picture either of them topping out as a minor plus regular...and that's optimistic. Posey, of course, is a big deal, but no one else here has a career worth worrying about.
Well, the first thing to note is that it's not an easy call. The guy who is projected as the worst is hitting, by far, the best. That's Torres. The guy who is by a very narrow margin projected as the best, Bowker, isn't hitting at all. And of course the three of the four MIs have spent time injured.
So, what to do? First thing is I think there's no reason to be forcing three of the MIs into the lineup at the same time, whether it's DeRosa in LF, or Uribe at 3B with Sandoval at 1B, Huff to LF, and another OFer to the bench. Third, there's no real reason not to sign Burrell, especially if they can stash him at AAA, since there doesn't seem to be any serious opportunity cost in doing so (I suppose there's a spot on the 40 man roster to clear, but I can't imagine it's a real problem). Even if it meant Bowker going to Fresno for a while, so what? Bowker is probably a better hitter than Burrell, but maybe the water is just funny in Tampa and Burrell's fountain of youth is in California. Beyond that, this is a rare case in which I'd say play the hot hand, or the manager's hunches, or matchups, or whatever. If there's any more obvious solution to this, I don't see it.
And then go out there and find a real hitter. Any position but catcher. Don't give up Posey or Bumgarner, but outside of that, anything in the minors is fair game. There's no standout team in the division, and it's worth trying to contend right now. Presumably Posey will be up in a few weeks and that'll help some, but he's not going to be a serious bat for a while (and certainly not at 1B, if he plays a lot there)...a serious hitter would really change the odds of this team reaching the postseason.