Sunday, March 23, 2014
Plan B for Scutaro; Update on Sandoval
One thing I wanted the Giants to do over the offseason was to have a backup plan to what ailed them in 2013: a gimpy Marco Scutaro who couldn't field too hot and a obese Pablo Sandoval who couldn't field too hot. The 2nd situation has been taken care of by the promise of mad free agent moneys but the first is sticking around, perculating.
To the Giants defense, its hard to have a front line player as a backup. You can't just go sign a free agent and say "you'll get in there at 2B or 3B, sometime soon". Further, there weren't a lot of options. It appears that the Dodgers Alexander Guerrero, who I definitely wanted the Greybeards to kick tires on, isn't ready for prime time. Maybe the Giants did kick tires, there are a lot of rumors that they are in on a bunch of the Cubans.
Speaking of Cubans, Jose Abreu appears to be a pretty legit bat. The Giants did get in on that, but were outbid by the White Sox, who have a better situation for him, with the DH and 1B in the AL, along with more Bread and more years.
So the big news off the wire is that Tony Abreu was given his release today. Abreu was definitely not having the best spring after an injury plagued 2013. Brandon Hicks is the big beneficiary here. He is raking in ST, 432/532/865, clearly sustainable, and there is room for him on the squad if Scutaro starts on the DL, which is looking extremely likely. Hicks has a good defensive rep. His warts revolve around contact, a lot of strikeouts. He hasn't been given much of a shot in the show, mainly being a pinch hitter, which is a rough assignment. Hicks has a lot of pop in his bat, and a big frame.
Hey, the Giants have never shied away from hackers. They might have found a flawed jewel in the rough here. Having some legit pop off the bench, and the ability to stay in late for defensive purposes is a nice 1-2.
In Pablo news, apparently Pablo flashed up "The Pence" - 5/90MM to get an extension done. Not sure if that's the start or a ballpark figure. The Giants countered with 3/40MM. That'd be "the lowball". It's a business. And Pablo is a crazy double edged sword. Fan favorite. A tad injury prone. But really only broken hammates and a couple of pulled hammys. But very inconsistent fielding, with the weight fluctuation. But also can hit anything and a complete frustration to pitchers. Has crashed and burned a couple of years, with his lousy conditioning. World series MVP, he has a knack for coming up huge.
Mainly with Pablo, he is 27 years young. There just isn't any young talent like this in baseball hitting FA. The Giants have nurtured him, promoted him aggressively, he has been hugely and inconsistently successful. If he didn't have the weight and conditioning issues, as well as the lingering inability to really stay on the field, he would be locked and stocked right now for a long time. Its going to be a long process. And both sides are gambling. If Pablo gets hurt again, he is going to be leaving money on the table. If he goes bonkers, he's beating the Pence, because some team will go way over the top.
I would be not quite OK with the Pence. I think in the end I'd say OK, you don't have much choice. But it's a pretty big gamble for the team. Pablo has not filled in on his tremendous natural talent. It could be he's finally getting a mature head on his shoulders. Good, the Giants get him going, they might really surprise this year.
In the meanwhile, Adrianza is a light hitting switch hitter who can run. Arias is a consistent SS/3B with a perchance for avoiding walks. Hicks might be K prone, but he has power. That's the plan B, Gigantes style. And at this point, they have quite the track record with reclamation projects. Its quite possible that Brandon Hicks is the next big name in lights, Andres Torres and Gregor Blanco style.