It's funny how things work.
Just five weeks ago Brian Sabean was saying that the likelihood of Bengie Molina coming back to the Giants was basically nonexistent. "That ship has sailed," Sabean told reporters from the Winter Meetings in Indy back in early December. Whether it was for financial reasons, baseball reasons, or whatever, Molina playing his home games in San Francisco didn't look like something you wanted to put money on.
As the free agent market evolved and Spring Training inched closer, the idea of top prospect Buster Posey being the 2010 starter was starting to look like a definite possibility. The kid's rise to the majors was nothing but earned and at the age of 22, he was going to get something he deserved.
Not so fast, my friend. The ship has sailed back into San Francisco Bay as Molina is on the verge of signing a one-year deal worth about $5 million.
Good job keeping your words, Sabes.
For some, it's a shocking move because of what Sabean said back in the beginning of December. For others, it's not shocking considering Sabean and Bruce Bochy are firmly in the "Bengie Molina is a good hitter" camp.
The reality is, Molina overestimated his value on the open market. Teams realized that he is not a very good hitter . Sure he had 20 homers and drove in 80, but his on-base percentage of .285 was the worst in the National League. His routinely hacking at slop and turning important at bats into two-pitch outs were one of the main reasons why the Giants offense struggled so much.
Now the hacking at slop and 162-game average of 24 walks a year is back in town while Posey will head back to Triple-A and continue to crush Pacific Coast League pitching like he did after he was promoted from San Jose in July.
The Giants really had no idea what to do with Posey. Sabean and Co. jumped back and forth between the thought that Posey is unable to catch 100 games in the majors and that he's their top choice to be the starter when the season begins.
Even when Posey was in the majors this past September, it's not like he was given an actual chance to prove he could step up to the challenge.
On the day Posey was called up, Bochy said that he would get his chance. Instead, during Posey's month in the bigs, Bochy had little-to-no faith in a catching prospect all of baseball would love to have. Even when the team was struggling to put two runs on the board and Molina was banged up, Bochy decided to play Eli Whiteside over Posey because "he needs to stay fresh."
The end result was 17 at bats and a whole lot of trips to the bullpen to warm up pitchers. That's not exactly what you call a reasonable chance to prove yourself.
Was Posey going to destroy pitching in the majors in 2010 like he did this past season in the minors? No, probably not. Most projection outlets had him hitting around .270/.340/.750 with not a whole lot of power.
But it's the optimism that Posey would improve the offense that made people so excited about what could be. His approach at the plate is the complete opposite of Molina's. He knows how to work counts and he does have a plan at the plate. He doesn't go up there with the thought in his head that he will be swinging at 90 percent of what pitchers throw at him.
Now we're left wondering what the "Giants Way" that Bill Neukom talked about so fondly when he was introduced as managing general partner really means. Will the kids get their chance to play or will Sabean keep signing guys on the wrong side of 30 to contracts that other teams aren't even coming close to offering them?
It's not a good sign for the future.
But this is the world that Sabean has created and we're just living in it.
It really is funny how things work. And by funny, I mean extremely cruel.
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