Henry Schulman, who covers the Giants beat for the San Francisco Chronicle, published this via Twitter last night.
It reminded me of a word that has been thrown around Giants camp for the last few years, really since Pablo Sandoval came onto the scene. UTILITY:
1. Used, serving, or working in several capacities as needed, especially
a. Prepared to play any of the smaller theatrical roles on short notice: a utility cast member.
b. Capable of playing as a substitute in any of several positions: a utility infielder.
Look at that. It's in the dictionary!
a. Exceeding a norm: supersaturate.
b. Excessive in degree or intensity: supersubtle.
c. Containing a specified ingredient in an unusually high proportion: superphosphate.
That one's in the dictionary, too.
Now, if we combine the two, we get super-utility, which, in the past couple years, has been a label applied to Sandoval (1B/3B/C), Mark DeRosa (1B/3B/SS/2B/LF), Juan Uribe (2B/3B/SS), and even Eugenio Velez (2B/OF/PH/really?).
We've seen how it worked out with Uribe (beautifully), especially last season. In Spring Training last year, Uribe didn't even have a regular starting position, but it was known that he was going to be playing a lot.
Then Freddy Sanchez wasn't ready for Opening Day, so Uribe played the first 14 games at second base, hitting .320 and driving in 11 runs. Then Edgar Renteria missed the month of May (and June), and Uribe took over at shortstop.
Then Pablo Sandoval decided that he didn't like hitting anymore, and Uribe stepped in at third for awhile before going back to hitting homeruns from the shortstop position. In the playoffs, Uribe played third, paving the way for Renteria to win the World Series.
Juan Uribe, superutility man with no solid job out of Spring Training, plays 148 games for the 2010 Giants, and is a playoff hero.
In 2011, especially with the depth and versatility that the Giants roster has, this ability to superutilize (trademarked) will be essential. And this whole suggestion that Schulman has is not as crazy as some of the other ones I've heard ("Nate Schierholtz should strap on the shinguards and be the emergency catcher to increase his roster value." Seriously.)
DeRosa is a good infielder. Even though a lot of people expect to see him roaming the outfield for the Giants, like he was at the beginning of last year, he knows his way around the infield, and is above-average at all positions.
Pablo's defense at third isn't terrible. And now that he has put 2010 behind him, the Giants aren't trying to move him off the hot corner for a position that's more...flexible, shall we say, with defensive ability (Prince Fielder?). But he can pick it over there as well.
With Cody Ross out, it seemed that us fans would be subject to Aaron Rowand in CF, with Andres Torres headed to right until Ross heals up. But Schulman's endorsement of the Water Buffalo Defense coming back for a stint is being considered by me, and should also be considered by Bruce Bochy.
As was the case with the WBD in 2010, Andres Torres more than makes up for any lack of range that Burrell or Huff may bring to the table. He's a WAR machine and a UZRporn-star at the top of his game.
The WBD also puts the best offensive weapons in the lineup for the Giants, something that we've all learned helps out those stud pitchers a ton.
Torres, Sanchez, Huff, Posey, Sandoval, DeRosa, Burrell, Tejada, Lincecum. That's a solid Opening Day lineup. Better than with Rowand in there, I think.
Dear Giants, let's give this one a try. Heart, Evan.