How the San Francisco Giants' Management Muffed Another Grounder
Let me get this straight: Giants infielder Kevin Frandsen was about to overtake the starting second-base job from Ray Durham last season before suffering a season-ending injury. And now, after having a solid spring training, he is being sent to AAA Fresno after barely losing the second-base competition to Emmanuel Burris?
Now let me first clear up that even though I have a bias towards Frandsen because he went to my high school (Bellarmine College Prep, in San Jose), I am not against Emmanuel Burriss seeing everyday action. What troubles me is the fact that the Giants fail to see the value in having both Frandsen and Burriss on the roster.
I'm also sorry that Giants' General Manager Brian Sabean is a major flip-flop, who came out a month after the 2008 season ended and claimed that Burriss would be the team's opening day shortstop come 2009.
Well what happened? Sabean signed a veteran free-agent shortstop (Edgar Renteria) to try and fill in what he thought was an apparent gap in the lineup. Wow, where have I heard that before? Brian Sabean overpaying ($18 mill/two years) to bring in an aging free-agent bat to try and revive the lineup? Really? Nah, it can't be!
The fact is that the youth-movement that the Giants front-office claimed to be turning towards isn't exactly the full-fledged youth movement that one would expect. Sabean seems to be clinging to his old ways of signing washed up veteran players.
However, why would a full-fledged youth movement be bad? I mean the Marlins basically dumped their entire roster after winning the world series in 1997 but won another championship only six years later with a completely different team including mostly players that the majority of baseball fans hadn't heard of before.
Now, both Burriss and Frandsen were putting up tremendous numbers in spring training and in all fairness, Burriss did perform better than Frandsen and deserves the job. However, their offensive numbers are as follows:
Frandsen: .274 avg, 5 2B, 1 hr, 6rbi
Burriss: .357, 4 2B, 0hr, 9rbi
And then, you have Edgar Renteria, former gold-glover who has lost significant range as he soon will be entering his mid-thirties and is coming off his worst statistical season and so far this spring is batting:
.241 avg, 6 2B, 0hr, 5 rbi, and an on-base percentage of .290, only higher than Aaron Rowand .250, Bengie Molina .259 and Ryan Rohlinger .259.
Now one may chalk up Renteria's poor spring to the fact that he is a veteran in spring training and the numbers "don't really matter" but the fact is you will not see Renteria make the full extension dive that you see Frandsen making in this article photo.
Frandsen has range to both his left and right defensively, can play third, shortstop, second-base and out-field. He has grown up in systems of baseball that preached and preached and preached fundamentals defensively.
It is very rare for a ball within Frandsen's range to get past him and into the outfield. Plus, the last two months of regular season ball that Frandsen faced saw him put up an average over .350.
What happens if either Renteria or Burriss get hurt? Is Eugenio Velez going to play second-base? A guy who can't even get his glove down for ground-balls and still takes first-pitch strikes standing up straight like he is Barry Bonds? Are Rich Aurilia and John Bowker making the roster over Frandsen? I mean what does the kid have to do?
Frandsen missed nearly all of his 2008 season after nearly becoming a full-time starter and now he comes back to a team that is sending him back to the minors and keeping around one-hit wonders like John Bowker and Eugenio Velez?
Twenty-five players make up an opening day roster.
Twelve pitchers and 13 position players.
Molina, Holm, Ishikawa, Burriss, Renteria, Sandoval, Winn, Rowand, Lewis, Schierholtz, Velez, Bowker, Aurilia = 13
The Giants may even go with 11 pitchers and 14 position players, so does that mean that Juan Uribe is going to make the opening day roster over Frandsen?
That would be absolutely ridiculous as Uribe hasn't done anything productive in over four seasons. The last time he hit over .250 was 2004, clearly he does not have more to offer than Frandsen.
If the Giants go with 13 position players, then perhaps I can see keeping Eugenio Velez as a bench player due to his speed but why keep Bowker over Frandsen?
Bowker is below average defensively, and still has numerous holes in his swing. Frandsen can play more positions and can offer a much more quality at-bat as a pinch-hitter late in ball games.
Frandsen has done nothing but work his tail off to help his team win ball games and more often than not he makes a play that keeps his team in the game. Whether it be sparking a rally or making a play in the field, he is the guy that makes the play when it needs to be made.
The fact is that Frandsen deserves his shot, and it is an atrocity that he was sent down to AAA Fresno to begin the 2009 season.
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