Who's Manning the Giants' Hot Corner? Nobody Really Knows...

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IJanuary 5, 2009

There have been many names linked to who will be playing on the corners next season in San Francisco. Some we all knew would never happen, but some seem like they would actually be logical.

Some are young and are in-house options, a few are youngsters who are already in or approaching the primes of their career, and the others are established veterans.

General manager Brian Sabean and the Giants management team are still trying to figure out what to do to form a respectable infield.

But as Henry Schulman outlined in the same article, the Giants might just keep their foot off the gas and wait until somebody falls into the price range, much like they did before the 2002 season.

During the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas last month, the Giants were linked to everybody that was or had a chance to be available. But it was not the hot corner Sabean and his crew decided to address.

We heard deals like a Jorge Cantu for Jonathan Sanchez trade or Edwin Encarnacion being acquired from Cincinnati.

The deals for Cantu and Encarnacion never came about, proving they were nothing more than something coming out of the Winter Meetings rumor mill.

Instead, the Giants agreed to terms with shortstop Edgar Renteria, who was not exactly the most popular signing. Now with the 33-year-old on board, up-and-comer Emmanuel Burriss will shift to the other side of second base, whether we like it or not.

But now as the calendar has turned to 2009 and the day when pitchers and catchers report is inching closer and closer, the picture at third remains foggier than a winter night by the Golden Gate Bridge.

Manager Bruce Bochy said when he was in Vegas that he is comfortable having Pablo Sandoval at third and Travis Ishikawa at first, no matter how much they both lack experience wise.

But as this offseason has shown, Sabean could turn to a veteran to serve as a stopgap while the younger players try to establish themselves.

However, how can they establish themselves if there are a bunch of 30-somethings blocking?

The most recent name to be thrown into the magical hat is not a new one to the revolving third base rumor mill door.

Joe Crede is a name Giants fans have heard before. Like the Manny Ramirez rumors, Crede is somebody who Sabean and his staff have considered the past couple of winters.

He would definitely be a cheaper option than Ramirez, but the problem with Crede the past two seasons is that he can’t stay healthy. Because of that, his stats have taken a nosedive after a breakout 2006 season that saw him hit .283 with 30 HR and 94 RBI.

What sets him apart from the likes of Cantu and Encarnacion is that he is a sound defender at third. His 20 errors in 97 games last year was a career-high, but a lot of that could probably be attributed to his ailing back. Cantu committed 22 and Encarnacion committed 23.

Adding Crede would be a smart move because of Renteria’s diminishing defensive skills. He is nowhere near his Gold Glove form of 2002 and 2003.

Crede is now a free agent as opposed to the Giants having to obtain him via trade. Signing him to a one-year, incentive laden deal wouldn’t be a bad idea, both for Crede and Giants checkbook.

By no means is Crede the same kind of offensive force that Ramirez is when he’s healthy. Who is honestly? But by no means would he cause the same kind of drama that Manny would. Who would?

The only thing that Ramirez and Crede have in common is their agent, Scott Boras.

Once the Giants figure out what direction they want to go at third, then the situation at first would quickly be solved. The switch-hitting Sandoval seems like the logical choice considering Ishikawa logged only two at-bats last season against left-handed pitchers.

But as it stands right now, does anybody really know who it will be?