Guillermo Mota, Eugenio Velez, and the New Right Fielder: Thoughts on '10 Giants

Ted SillanpaaAnalyst IApril 4, 2010

Some thoughts on the San Francisco Giants Opening Day roster…

…Can’t wait for Guillermo Mota to drill somebody—and the chaos that will ensue. Here’s hoping the club decided that spring training payback wasn’t enough for Prince Fielder and that they kept Mota with Fielder in mind.

…No, really. I hope Mota faces Fielder when Milwaukee comes to town. The last time they met, Mota was with the Los Angeles Dodgers and plunked Fielder.  Mota was tossed and Fielder wound up trying to get into the Dodgers locker room to get a piece of Mota.

…The idea of signing veteran right fielder Jermaine Dye clearly was ridiculous and I’m sorry I lobbied for it. At 37, he’s a defensive liability and the Giants absolutely must have Nate Schierholtz to play that tricky wall in front of arcade. Hey! Wait! John Bowker’s starting in right field? To beef up the batting order? Defense be damned?

…So, now we’re supposed to believe that Dye being one of the leading home run hitters in the American League in the last three seasons gets trumped by Bowker’s Pacific Coast League heroics and big spring training? OK. But we have to agree playing the tricky right field wall at AT&T Park only became a topic of conversation to justify keeping Randy Winn in the lineup until his contract expired.

…Dan Runzler’s performance could determine whether or not the Giants might have a real trading chip in Brian Wilson. Runzler’s a young left-hander with closer’s stuff and he throws strikes. With Wilson’s deal extended, he could fetch a real hitter in trade next winter.

…Any one of the top four guys in the starting rotation would’ve made a big help to the Giants teams I grew up following in the 1960s and early 1970s. Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry were, almost never, followed by a No. 3 guy even as talented as Barry Zito or Jonathan Sanchez. (Mike McCormick’s Cy Young season in 1969 was an exception to the rule.)

…Eli Whiteside? Travis Ishikawa? Eugenio Velez? It’s tough to decide who Los Angeles Dodgers fans will point to as they cackle, “We can’t take you guys seriously with HIM on your big league roster!”

...After his last two spring starts, there was little discussion of how tough Kevin Pucetas made it for the Giants to settle on a fifth starter. I knew the early spring hype might've been exaggerated when Mike Krukow started his rundown of the young righty with, "He doesn't have an out pitch..."

…Ishikawa, Velez, Schierholtz, and Bowker. That’s how I’d rank them in order of how much chance remains that they’ll ever be productive everyday players. Ishikawa can pick it and run fairly well for a big guy—and that hole in his swing is, in theory, fixable.

…Schierholtz and Bowker have now, officially, both lost big league starting jobs. Bowker lost the first base job when he first arrived in San Francisco. Schierholtz lost the right field job this spring. Pending an explanation of his hair situation, it might not be safe to say anything about Velez at this time. But, really, Bowker’s big spring bodes well for the team’s ability to score runs.

…When the Giants need the sac bunt, who should fans want at the plate? No. 2 hitter Juan Uribe? Edgar Renteria? Aaron Rowand? Silly question. It does illustrate how much value a healthy Freddy Sanchez brings to the lineup.

…After being left for dead and offered around to other clubs, Fred Lewis is in position to win a big league job once he comes off the disabled list. We know what he can and can’t do, so he might have a job waiting after two or three weeks watching Bowker, Schierholtz, and Velez pinch-hit, run the bases, etc. I’m serious. Bowker and Schierholtz better get the job done consistently well in right field or we’ll cheer Fast Fred’s return.

…Velez needs to become a contributing bench guy who can help at second base and the outfield or he’ll be gone when Emmanuel Burriss comes off the DL.

…Here’s hoping that Burriss is never in left field before a game taking fly balls. That’s the death knell for a “prospect” type infielder. Remember when Kevin Frandsen arrived in the bigs as the future second baseman? And, then, he debuted in left field? Soon, he was at third base some and shortstop. Once that happens, a guy goes from prospect to utilityman.

…Let me be the first: “Burriss has great speed and a decent arm. His speed and ability to help play small ball would make trying him in right field well worth it…plus, Freddy Sanchez can’t play the outfield and Juan Uribe is too slow and…”

…As mentioned here previously, Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Zito will give the Giants a chance to win every single night. The everyday lineup doesn’t have to replicate the production of the 1927 Yankees or the Big Red Machine from Cincinnati’s glory years of the 1970s.

…Aaron Rowand seems like the type guy who is legitimately bothered by critics who say he hasn’t lived up to his contract. A big increase from his 2009 production is predicted here.

…It’ll be worth the wait to see where a Giants hitter would have to hit the ball in order to score Uribe, Huff, and Molina with the bases loaded.

…Is Molina still a “good clubhouse” guy given that he appeared to have moped down the stretch when the Giants called Buster Posey up from Class AAA and that he’s only in San Francisco because he couldn’t get a better contract offer elsewhere?

…Re-reading these thoughts, I’m compelled to admit that I could be singing the praises of Mark DeRosa, Bowker, Uribe, and the rest after Lincecum, Zito, and Cain beat the Houston Astros.