The Man Who Would Be King
There's no question that the San Francisco Giants are in dire need of a shortstop. After Juan Uribe departed during the offseason, the team signed Miguel Tejada to take over the shortstop duties.
After a rough start throughout the first quarter of the 2011 season, it seems like a change must be made.
First, let's examine the current situation.
Tejada's average is barely over the Mendoza line, and his limited range doesn't exactly remind anyone of Ozzie Smith.
While Tejada's average will undoubtedly climb, it's unreasonable to expect that he can hit much higher than .260, and with only one home run to his credit thus far, there's no way he can approach the 20 homers that Uribe hit last year.
Substitute Mike Fontenot has performed admirably at short while Tejada spells the injured Pablo Sandoval at third, but no one would suggest he's the long-term answer.
Fontenot has been a career utility man in the infield, and that's where his skills fit best. Don't look to the farm for help, either, as players like Emmanual Burriss, Brandon Crawford and others either fall short, are years away, or clearly will never fit the bill.
As of this writing he's hitting a robust .322 average, and is one of the best shortstops in the National League. One cannot even begin to measure the effect he would have wearing a Giants uniform.
Of course, Reyes does not come without his share of problems. He's been injured quite a bit over the last few years, and critics have pointed to his immaturity as a detriment to his overall game.
But Reyes is healthy now and is entering his prime.
In addition, the stability and leadership shown in the Giant clubhouse will inevitably keep him in check.
Enough said. Reyes is the man the Giants need.
Ah, but how to get him?
The Mets will likely put Reyes on the trading block by midseason as their own hopes of contending inevitably fade.
Some say that the Mets GM Sandy Alderson is primarily looking for prospects to rebuild his moribund team, but one would think that he would want at least one of San Fran's starting pitchers, in addition to a top prospect like Zack Wheeler.
Brandon Belt should rightfully be untouchable. That leaves Wheeler, other prospects and perhaps a bullpen arm or two as bait.
Would Alderson bite on such a deal? Not likely.
And even if he did, procuring Reyes before the season ends would be one of those classic rental deals, with no guarantee the Giants would be able to sign him as a free agent for the huge dollars he'll inevitably command after the 2011 season ends.
Much as the concept of Reyes in a Giant uniform this year appeals to the senses, realistically, it just isn't worth it.
It would be far better to somehow labor through the year and take your chances signing Reyes for a boatload of money next offseason.
The Giants would be crazy to part with any of their pitchers or top prospects (after Belt and Wheeler, the wheat gets pretty thin). All it would take is a lot of money, and one would hope the Giants would be willing to part with some of it, now that every game is a sellout and the dollars keep flowing in.
Of course, that doesn't say much for the rest of the season.
Jack Wilson could help as a rental pickup in July, but he clearly isn't the answer and doesn't appear to be much of an upgrade.
So unless the Giants have something clever up their sleeve, it looks like Tejada de Nada and Fontenot the Fill-in Pro are going to have to hold the fort down.
Not a pretty sight, but let us hope the Giant bats show more life, or it will be difficult for the team to repeat—or get to the playoffs in the first place.
We watch and wait with bated breath.