The San Francisco Giants head into the 2010 season with what is expected to be a healthy Edgar Renteria. After battling injuries nearly all season last year, the second year Giants shortstop appears to be eager to move on.
In fact, at the first day of camp he told reporters how disappointed he was with his performance last season. He told them, "I feel embarrassed for last year because I could not do my things on the field. They signed me to improve this team. I felt real embarrassed for the fans and the organization."
But in all honesty, it is the team that should feel embarrassed for keeping him on the field and in the lineup with bone spurs in his right elbow and a bum right shoulder.
Renteria's offensive line looked as follows last season:
.250/.307/.328/.635 with five homers and 48 RBI.
Defensively, Renteria wasn't much better, with 14 errors for a .970 fielding percentage and a -0.2 UZR rating last season.
Now when healthy, Renteria has averaged a .797 OPS in his last six seasons in the National League.
Therefore, it is quite possible for the 14-year veteran to rebound from a down year in 2009, but this philosophy of "proven track records" is what has kept the Giants from competing between 2006-2008.
The Matt Morris', the Steve Finleys, the Dave Roberts', the Shea Hillenbrands, the Mike Stantons, and the Jeff Faseros were what was wrong with this team in recent years.
And because of this idea that signing veterans is the best route to go, we get the manager saying things like "Just let him play. It's easy to judge him on a short-term basis, but when you've got a guy as distinguished as Edgar, he deserves to have the starting job."
Yet the main issue with this style of thinking is that for every player with a "proven track record" there was a team that gave each player an opportunity to play despite not having a "proven track record."
At some point or another, giving young players a chance to prove themselves is going to pay huge dividends for a club. And remember, not every young star is a stud right away. Not everyone can be Pablo Sandoval.
In fact, after an impressive rookie season, Renteria only hit .277, with an abysmal .688 OPS mark in his second season in the big leagues back in 1997.
However, the Marlins stuck with Renteria, who ended up knocking in the winning run of the World Series.
Talk about not giving up on a young player after a huge sophomore slump.
The Marlins may not have the ability to afford a high payroll, but they have won two World Series Titles in the last 13 seasons with two completely different squads.
Drafting young players and allowing them to develop has allowed the Marlins to win two titles in the 17 seasons in their inception.
The Giants, on the other hand, have only made the postseason four times in that span, despite playing in one of the biggest baseball markets in the country.
Ownership over the years has neglected the farm system and declined to spend over their self-imposed pay roll in recent years.
It doesn't matter if the team spent money on Barry Bonds, the team failed to utilize the farm system in the late 90's and early-mid 00's. It doesn't matter that the team has recently placed an emphasis on prospects because they aren't willing to spend money in the right places.