Edgar Renteria: The Epitome of Why the "Giants' Way" is the Wrong Way

Andy BenschSenior Writer IFebruary 19, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 30:  Edgar Renteria #16 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on August 30, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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.

San Francisco says they couldn't afford Jason Bay this offseason, and no true Giants fan expected to sign him.
Reports were that Bay didn't want to play in San Francisco, but, had the money been right, one can be assured that the former Pirate star wouldn't be against playing with former teammate Freddy Sanchez and the reigning back-to-back Cy Young Award winner in Tim Lincecum.
But the Giants will tell you "we don't have enough money for Jason Bay." A statement that many fans will assume is true, but one where real fans have to call "BS".
They have the money, but the ownership is made up off investors who are looking to run a business rather than build a winner.
Nothing showed this to be true more than the $8 million dollar offer to Lincecum in arbitration.
This team is looking to save a buck or two million every way they can, because they are treating their players like items at a flea market.
And it make sense why they are going about it this way. Managing General Partner Bill Neukom has no baseball background, and in no way shape or form does he sound like a former ball player in any interview, or in the Giants' "inside the clubhouse" TV program.
Does he truly care, at the end of the day, if the team wins, or is he satisfied with them "competing" and being good enough to put butts in the seats?
This "Giants Way" is simply the wrong way. It was clear that Renteria was hurt last year, as he admits he couldn't do the things he was used to doing on the diamond.
Yet the Giants still trotted him out there game after game when they could have gotten a better look at Kevin Frandsen and more playing time for Juan Uribe.
Who knows, perhaps Frandsen wasn't ever going to amount to anything, but he has never gotten a fair shake, and at this point it looks like we will never know.
The Giants had an opportunity to find out his potential, and they didn't take it. Instead, they relied on an overpaid 34-year-old shortstop with a bad elbow and a bum shoulder.
I must say, being a Giants fan is tough.