"I'm afraid all of those players have retired and, uh... passed on. In fact, your right-fielder has been dead for a hundred and thirty years." -Smithers "The Simpsons" (Homer at the Bat)
Sprawled out on the grass. Arms and legs akimbo. No real clue where he is or what he is doing. Even more confusing, how he got there in the first place. This description could be about two things.
1) Pat Burrell every Friday night for the last 15 years.
2) Aubrey Huff's manic dive for a ball in right field.
Huff's dive, which was memorialized by a tap/chalk outline in right field the following day, can be seen as a microcosm for the San Francisco Giants' right field inconsistencies: Diving, flailing and maybe the ball will luckily land in your glove.
What NOT to do
The list of what NOT to do could stretch on forever with this position. There are a number of choices when it comes to right field. But which option works best for the Giants? If right fielders last longer than six hours, consult a doctor.
Do NOT sign Carlos Beltran to a long-term deal. The money isn't the issue so much as the length. Anything over a three-year deal for Beltran would be foolish and create another log jam at a position. Looking ahead to the 2013 free-agent class, as well as the farm system, there are options available. The Giants should avoid locking themselves into another long-term free-agent outfield deal.
Need further convincing?
Playing right field in San Francisco sucks. The Giants kept Randy Winn around two years longer than they should have for one sole reason: he was great at playing the sharp corner and Triples Alley at AT&T Park. No one needs defensive metrics to tell them that Carlos Beltran is no longer the outfielder he once was. With Beltran in right the Giants lose a huge defensive advantage. And what is that defensive advantage you ask?
What TO do
Let Nate Schierholtz start in right field. I'm the biggest Schierholtz detractor alive. I've seen too many inside out swings producing bloopers down the line in left to think that Schierholtz is ever going to be a consistent .300 hitter. But when given an opportunity last year, Schierholtz did display flashes of power.
His defensive prowess more than makes up for his inconsistencies at the plate and starting Schierholtz in right field saved the Giants on several occasions last year. His arm and knowledge of the angles in right field should be taken into account.
What WILL Happen
Platoonicus Maximus. The Giants' outfield was on Operation: Clown Car all last year. I still don't know which religious pop boy band Justin Christian came from. Expect the same in right field this year. Like my senior year girlfriend, the Giants won't be able to commit long term to a right field option. Right now they have a platoon of Schierholtz, Melky Cabrera, Brandon Belt and God help us, Aubrey Huff.
Why are all those players in right field?
Because Carlos Beltran WILL be the starting left fielder next year, I'll touch on this more in the left field specific column tomorrow. But I believe the Giants and Beltran will agree on a deal somewhere in the three-year $33 million range.
Is that too much money? Too many years?
Will Sabean accidentally sign Carlos Baerga?
Find out tomorrow with the San Francisco Giants' Positional Breakdown of Left Field