San Francisco Giants: What Posey Injury Will Mean for New Starter Whiteside

Jordan PlautCorrespondent IMay 30, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 22:  Eli Whiteside #22 of the San Francisco Giants looks on against the Oakland Athletics during an MLB game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 22, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Even though he is 31 years old, San Francisco Giants catcher Eli Whiteside has only been a major-league regular for just over two seasons.

In that time, however, Whiteside has been a part of and seen many Giants accomplishments.

During his time with the team, the Giants have posted records of 88-74 and 92-70. Due to a late decision to scratch Bengie Molina in 2009, Whiteside was on the receiving end of Jonathan Sanchez's improbable and historic no-hitter.

Still, Whiteside has remained a backup to the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year, Buster Posey (and for good reason). Posey hit .305 with 18 homers and 67 RBI last year and an OPS of .862. Whiteside hit just .238 with an OPS of just .696.

So with those statistics presented, why would anyone be alright with the Giants having no interest in pursuing another catcher for the remainder of the season?

The answer, like so many regarding the Giants over the past couple of years, is pitching.

As general manager Brian Sabean has made abundantly clear, the Giants are going to win games (or at least try) with around three runs a game and stellar pitching. That's the formula that won the World Series, and it's hard to argue with results.

Sabean was recently quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, stating, "We thank our lucky stars Whitey is in that position. He's caught extremely well, and we've done well when he's been out there. He deserves a shot to see what it looks like."

Unfortunately, this perspective may not be the one shared by Giants fans. That's understandable when you consider that, other than Freddy Sanchez and his recent resurgence, the team's two best hitters in Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey are sidelined.

Sandoval will return in the coming weeks, which will undoubtedly boost the offense, but there is still a major offensive gap. The Giants look like they really need a bat.

The team is hitting .240 with an OBP of .304. They have a total of 35 home runs and have scored only 177 runs, good for second-to-last in all of baseball. In fact, they rank in the bottom five in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging.

There are a few problems to speak of here. First, Sabean is not willing to trade an arm for a bat. Next, even if he was willing to make a trade involving, say, Jonathan Sanchez, there are no catchers who the Giants would want for a short period.

Buster Posey will still be the Giants catcher when he returns (well, that's the word for now) and the team has another catcher developing in the farm system in Tommy Joseph. 

The bottom line is that Eli Whiteside is going to be the Giants' catcher for the foreseeable future. Until he's had a solid chance to play every day, it's not fair to judge his hitting performance. Yes, seeing those one-for-four's and 0-for-four's is not going to be pretty, but how can you say they're worse than the rest of the lineup right now?

Whiteside's skills as a game-caller and defensive catcher are invaluable to a team so reliant on pitching. Remember, the Giants need their pitchers to perform to near-perfection to stay in games and that can't happen unless they have a capable catcher behind the dish.

Eli Whiteside is more than capable in that regard.

Most people won't see the "grey-haired wonder" in the same light as, say, the Eli Whiteside Fan Club. Still, Whiteside is going to play and he's going to do his job to the best of his ability.

Yes, some offense out of the eight-spot would be very nice, but the other team can't win with zeros on the board.