The San Francisco Giants Can't Make Meaningful Changes with Available Talent
Manager Bruce Bochy and the boys have kicked around some ideas that they hope will spark the San Francisco Giants' lifeless attack.
Bochy and the rest actually have come up with what are being called major changes: a big shake up of the lineup and the batting order.
The big changes to the batting order result in making room for Edgar Renteria to take back his job at shortstop.
That's it! The big change in the batting order results in Renteria returning to play shortstop and bat second.
Oh, Andres Torres is going to hit lead-off and play right field. The 32-year-old outfielder has been in the starting lineup for 14 of the last 15 games. He's been on a hot streak, too, raising his average to .282 with two home runs and 12 RBI.
The Giants are 5-10 since Torres got hot and started playing every day. It's unclear how much more he can do and how things will change now that he's the everyday right fielder, rather than an everyday outfielder.
The Giants don't have the available talent to just rearrange the batting order or tweak the lineup and expect magic to happen.
Renteria is the only player who'll be in the lineup now who hasn't been in the lineup during the 5-10 stretch that gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a chance to blast past the Giants in the National League West.
Torres will replace centerfielder Aaron Rowand in the lead-off spot. Torres will bat first in every game, then bat right after the pitcher for the remainder of his plate appearances.
Anyone really think that's going to open the flood gates and start runs pouring across the plate?
The lineup changes have, in most cases, actually been mentioned here before.
Pablo Sandoval is likely moving to first base to open a spot for Juan Uribe's bat in the infield. With Renteria healthy, the Giants need to put Uribe at third base. He's sizzling with the stick, batting .290 in his last 13 games.
It's unclear why the Giants would move all-star second baseman Freddy Sanchez to third base to allow Uribe to play second base. That seems like a move that weakens the club defensively at two spots. Regardless, the Lineup Tweak 2.0 simply results in an infield of Sandoval, Sanchez, Renteria and Uribe.
That would be an infield that would really help a batting order with a real power hitter
—and the Sandoval we saw tear the National League up a year ago. Instead, that infield has the heart of the Giants attack.
Bengie Molina got older really, really fast. The catcher is 2-for-19 and hasn't driven in a run since May 5. The "Big Money" nickname no longer applies to the 35-year-old.
Torres and Aaron Rowand will play the outfield with relentlessly willing, team-oriented veteran Aubrey Huff moving to left field. It's too bad that Mark DeRosa has no experience behind the plate. When he does return to test his injured wrist, he'll bump somebody from this new and improved lineup.
Huff, like Rowand, should be a complimentary player in a lineup filled with gifted hitters. Instead, the Giants need Huff to produce runs. Huff's hitting .263 with runners in scoring position and all four of his home runs came with the bases empty.
Rowand's numbers compare almost identically to the numbers he posted when he was helping the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies to championship seasons. There's no reason for fans to expect him to do more simply because the Giants signed him to a rich, five-year deal.
So, yeah...the Giants are making big changes. Renteria and Torres at the top of the order. Huff in left field.
Boom goes the dynamite.
One fan lamented that the Giants are showing signs of panic—specifically that there's still a lot of baseball be played and that there's no reason to make big changes.
Bochy's just doing what he can with the talent he has and, probably, is wondering exactly what Buster Posey needs to do in Fresno to prove he has mastered Triple-A ball sufficiently to convince general manager Brian Sabean to bring him to San Francisco.
So, just another critique of Bochy, right?
What's the guy going to do when he's gone through three right-fielders, can't get the club's best Triple-A hitter to the big leagues, and is left to tinker with a group of complimentary players who've never really shown they're in position to spark a truly productive offense?
It can't get worse, though, right?
Imagine if Sandoval is, gulp, a .282 hitter who doesn't hit the long ball? What if last year was...an aberration?
For now, the Giants need to focus on the big changes they've made.
Ted Sillanpaa is a Northern California sports writer and columnist. Contact Ted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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