"If Brandon Crawford can hit .240 the Giants will be fine."
I actually heard this quote a few weeks back and shuddered at the truth behind it. The Giants haven't had a good shortstop since Rich Aurilia. Not Vizquel, not Aurilia part dues, not Uribe, and no, not Renteria. So a long term shortstop is way overdue.
What NOT to do: Sign Jose Reyes.
Six/100 million for a shortstop that on average plays 130 games. Did I look that number up? Nope. I Don't need to. The book on Reyes is so well know it seems almost preposterous that someone would even consider paying him his desired asking price.
The Giants don't have a good history with big ticket free agents. If the Giants pay a player more than 20 million on the open market chances are the deal is going to be frowned upon—Bonds being the rarest of exceptions to this rule. The sirens call that Reyes emits is that he fills both the shortstop and leadoff role the Giants covet so deeply. The best move for the Giants in regards to Reyes is to cover their ears and just sail right on past him.
What to absolutely positively NOT do under any circumstances—even the sudden rapture of every human being under the age of 30
What TO do: Let Brandon Crawford play
The Brandon Belt experience last year should be example enough for the Giants. Let the high prospects play. If you think enough to bring them up it does little to no good to let them rot on the bench.
Crawford hitting .240 isn't good. When Juan Uribe hit .248 he did so with a high home run total that the Giants do not expect from Crawford. That said the Giants need a YOUNG shortstop they can run out every day, no matter how many he rolls over. The plan should be to play Crawford everyday. Give him 400 ABs, sink or swim.
Giants Opening Day Shortstop, 2012
What WILL happen: Platoon
Baseball is history and stats. For better or worse that's what it relies on. For every Moneyball there is an Earl Weaver. The Giants have been consistent when it comes to handling young players. Consistently maddening. Buster Posey was left in the minors for an extra month to "season" in 2010. Brandon Belt has been yo-yoed back and forth and now to Venezuela where he stated last week he had never been so tired in his life. So odds and history lean toward Brandon Crawford platooning with a more seasoned shortstop. And by seasoned I mean ripe. And by ripe I mean old. And by old I mean Rafael Furcal. Who may in fact be 42.
Check back tomorrow for a breakdown of: Second base