Nobody can accuse me of being hypercritical of the San Francisco Giants' management, including the Bay Area's two most bullet-ridden targets.
For all his warts, I've always believed general manager Brian Sabean's gotten more heat than is justifiable. Meanwhile, Bruce Bochy got the 2009 team to overachieve, which is usually evidence of a good manager.
Consequently, somewhere in Bleacher Report's vast archives, I'm on record as supporting the two-year extensions both men received.
Sabes is still gold in my opinion. Bochy, though, is a different story.
The Giants have the talent to seriously contend in the vulnerable National League West.
The pitching staff, even while experiencing a bit of a correction since its torrid start, is one of the best in the Big Leagues. The offense is torture, but the San Diego Padres are in the process of proving that's not a deal-breaker if you get plus contributions from the arms and leather.
San Francisco cannot pick it with the Fathers and its bullpen is inferior, but the Orange and Black starters are better than San Diego's. Perhaps even enough to make up the difference.
The problem, however, is Bochy's predilection for veterans that sometimes borders on psychosis.
Unfortunately for the City's faithful who are calling for the kids, it's not a new one. This is from a 2004 Hardball Times article discussing the skipper while Bochy was still with the Pads:
"Bochy has a maddening tendency to play mediocre veterans over promising or unheralded youngsters...it is frustrating to watch him with young talent, because it appears that he will not give young players a full-time shot."
At the moment, the raving masses want the heads of Bengie Molina, Aaron Rowand, Edgar Renteria, and/or Juan Uribe now that he's cooled off.
Through differing quantities of spittle, the more fanatical fans (check the comments, some are hilarious) scream for Nate Schierholtz and Posey to assume everyday roles while rotating the vets to keep them fresh.
With Huff, Pat Burrell, Rowand, and Andres Torres jostling for playing time in the outfield, the argument for devoting a spot to Nate the Great is a tough one to see. He should definitely get more of a run than Bochy's been giving him, but I'd pump the brakes before entering "make him a regular" territory.
On the contrary, the lunatic fringe is spot on in their demand for more Gerald Demp the Third.
At the moment, there is only one plausible explanation for Molina's continued presence in the lineup. Namely, the stud on the mound that day must demand it.
Even then, I'm not so sure you can justify penciling in Bengie, but I don't have to deal with the clubhouse egos and chemistry, nor can I pretend to have a handle on the battery dynamics at a professional level.
In other words, I'd give Boch the benefit of the doubt should that development come to light.
Unless that's the case, however, Posey is the only plausible option.
The kid is not just a promising rookie, he's a blue-chipper of the Jason Heyward/Mike Stanton ilk. The only newbie with more Major League-ready talent is that dude who throws for the Washington Nationals. Maybe I'd recall his name if he got a little more hype.
In a very short time, Posey's established himself as one of the team's leaders in plate discipline and patience—both of those skills usually come after experience has polished raw talent.
His 3.76 pitches per plate appearance land him near the league average, which is a substantial improvement for many Giants. Combine that with a quiet calm and ease befitting a grizzled old-timer, and you have an asset that should be working through slumps—he's currently in a bad one with seven hits in his last 47 at-bats—on the field.
The former Florida State Seminole shortstop has especially sparkled defensively, whether he's parked at first base or dropping signals wearing the Tools of Ignorance.
And there's the rub.
It's not pleasant to say because Bengie Molina has been an outstanding Giant during his four-year tenure. His contributions have made Molina the first catcher identifiable with the organization since Bob Brenly.
Benito Santiago is the only other backstop I can remember that became part of the team's backbone, and even that only lasted for a cup of coffee.
Nevertheless, Big Money has gone Big Molasses and it's killing the club in every facet.
Since coming to los Gigantes, Molina has never been lauded for his defense. He's been one of those rare breed of catchers whose value lay in his offense and, perhaps, his ability to receive a quality game.
Further narrowing his potential contribution is his absolute and shocking lack of speed. The portly 35-year-old must thump to contribute with the lumber. Otherwise, he becomes a rally-killing roadblock.
As of this writing, Bengie was notching a .257 batting average, a .312 on-base percentage, and a .332 slugging percentage.
Obviously, almost all of the Puerto Rico native's hits have been singles. A closer look reveals that's precisely the case—of his 52 knocks, six have been doubles and three have been home runs.
Singles represent 83 percent of his offensive output.
That's a fatal statistic for someone who runs like he's carrying several pianos on his back. In thigh-deep mud.
It means you can't bat him first, second, seventh, or eighth because he turns anyone behind him into a station-to-station pawn, and Molina doesn't create anything except outs on the basepaths.
But you can't put him third through sixth because he's not producing any power and he's not hitting well enough to drive in runs (.224 with RISP).
If the eldest of the Flying Molina Brothers were a defensive whiz like Yadier, fine, jam him into the eight hole and pray for rain. Of course, we covered that—he's not a whiz, not even close.
Again, the San Francisco Giants have the pieces to make a charge at the NL West pennant, but the margin is thin. Until Buster Posey is playing regularly, at least one of those pieces won't be on the field.
Bruce Bochy has no excuse for that.
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