San Francisco Giants: Playing Money Over Talent Is Hindering Their Chances
When a team musters just a single run in a three game series, it doesn't take a genius to figure out the offense is struggling.
Essentially, changes to the San Francisco Giants' lineup are a guarantee.
Even if their manager was napping in the clubhouse during the past three games, changes would be made after looking at the final box scores.
Once the manager wakes up after such a dreadful offensive series, he will see 20 straight zeros in the boxscore and will naturally be inclined to shake things up.
However, the issue with the Giants is their organization plays who they pay most rather than who produces most.
And because of this mindset, Bochy will play Edgar Renteria instead of Nate Schierholtz.
How does a lineup decision come down to either a shortstop or right fielder getting in the lineup?
Well, it is actually pretty simple.
With the Opening Day left fielder Mark DeRosa out with injury, the Giants plan on moving their everyday first baseman Aubrey Huff to the outfield to take over the vacant spot. (backup Andres Torres then slides over to right field).
Subsequently, third baseman Pablo Sandoval shifts over to Huff's old spot at first which allows Juan Uribe and Freddy Sanchez to man the third and second base spots. And that leaves shortstop open for the recently called up Edgar Renteria.
Only problem is that these moves put the 26-year-old Schierholtz on the bench.
Now if you ask Giants fans whether they would rather have Schierholtz in the lineup or Renteria, the overwhelming majority would prefer Schierholtz, and for good reason.
Despite losing his starting right field spot in Spring Training, Schierholtz has since earned back that role before recently taking a few games off to rest an aggravated shoulder injury.
Thus far during the season, Schierholtz has proved both offensively and defensively that he is a major asset.
At the plate, he has started off with a .298 average, .365 on-base percentage and a .423 slugging percentage. Not to mention, his four stolen bases are second on the team next to Torres.
Defensively, he already has three assists in 35 games in the outfield and in terms of shutting down opponents from taking extra bases, Schierholtz is one of the best in all of baseball.
Combine that total package against Renteria, and it is absolutley no question who brings more to the table.
You can disregard Renteria's .313 average thus far because his on-base percentage of .363 isn't even higher than that of Schierholtz, despite having the higher average.
Plus out of the shortstop's 26 hits on the season, only four have gone for extra bases which drops his slugging percentage to an abysmal .386.
Furthermore, the soon to be 35-year-old does not have the range nor the arm to match that of Uribe's.
So not only does Schierholtz have a superior OPS of .788 compared to Renteria's .744, but the younger legs bring much more value defensively.
Having Torres and Schierholtz man the outfield corners will be much more beneficial to the pitching staff (and strength of the Giants team) than it would be to have Torres (in a new outfield spot, trying to learn right field at AT&T Park) and Huff at the corners.
Especially when you consider Huff has played just eight of his 1,324 career games in left field and just 208 total in the outfield, organizing the defense in this fashion is asking for trouble.
But the Giants are probably going to do this anyway. Why? Because Renteria is making nine million dollars compared to Schierholtz who is making "around the league minimum". (after some google searching, that is the only reference I could find about his contract status).
Whether it is a combination of front office people or just GM Brian Sabean forcing Bochy's hand, the players with large contracts play the field no matter their production level.
Now currently Schierhotlz isn't fully healthy and it is difficult for us outsiders to know when he will be healthy enough to start.
But when he is healthy, there is no reason for Schierholtz to be on the bench other than money. Renteria clearly should be the one riding the pine based on the value assigned by the statistics and by the naked eye.
Just watch Renteria swing the bat, and you know father time is catching up to the former All-Star shortstop.
Yet you can bet on Renteria being in the starting lineup everyday when healthy.
Which is subsequently the biggets complaint of the fan base: "Why does our team continually fail to put their best team on the field?"
If the best lineup the Giants can trot out there is simply not good enough to make the playoffs, the fans will understand.
After all, in order to significantly upgrade the team during the season, a trade will have to be made. And in making a trade, it is difficult to make a move that clearly upgrades the team.
For example, Giants fans wish they could have Adrian Gonzalez at first base. But depending on the asking price of San Diego, adding Gonzalez may do more harm than good.
Trading for key players in any sport without giving up too many key players in return is quick a difficult task. Most fans understand this notion.
But what fans don't understand is leaving young talent on the bench and starting the less talented old guys just because of their contracts.
That is why Giants fans complain.
And rightfully so.
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