San Francisco Giants Positional Breakdown: Center Field
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"I said I wanted to change the culture of the clubhouse and get back to the warrior mentality and play the game hard for nine innings," Bochy said. "Aaron's the type of player who can do that. He's the type of player who can hold everyone accountable." -Quote from Bruce Bochy after the Giants signed Aaron Rowand to a 5yr/$60million dollar deal.
Let's all just revisit that day in our minds...
The Giants likely won't be overpaying for a center fielder any time in the near future (at least until 2014 when they throw $115 million at Jacoby Ellsbury. Yeah, yeah Gary Brown, I know, we'll get to that). In the meantime the Giants are content to throw every dollar they have into pitching. For the present, expect the Giants centerfield to be filled with patchwork one year deals.
What NOT To Do
Expect Melky Cabrera to be an everyday center fielder.
I am not a huge proponent of defensive fielding metrics, I think they are skewed and don't take into account positioning and different ballpark dimensions. So I am not even going to bother directing you towards Cabrera dreadful UZR. Center field in San Francisco is no joke. Honestly, I think Shinjo is still chasing after a ball Shawn Green hit into Triples alley.
Don't promote Gary Brown.
The 23 year old Brown has one full season of professional baseball under his belt. His stint in the Arizona Fall League was cut short by illness, limiting his plate appearances. Brown has not seen nearly enough to prepare him for Major League caliber pitching. The Giants must avoid the temptation of pushing Brown too soon, or even worse, promoting him without the intention of playing him.
Melky Cabrera: Games started in Center
What TO Do
Pursue Coco Crisp.
Crisp has made it known he would like to stay in the bay area. Given that the A's are still playing in a stadium made out of rusty nails and Stomper's old elephant bones I'd say the Giants might have the advantage. Crisp put up decent, though uninspiring numbers last year:
.264/.317/.379 54RBI 49SB
The stolen bases obviously jumps out as something that could come in handy, given the Giants proclivity for hitting into double plays. Crisp still has decent range in center field, and would fill the veteran role so often coveted by the Giants. Any deal for Crisp would be a short term deal, likely two years, that would not block any future Giants prospects (Gary Brown) from ascending to the majors.
What WILL Happen
Some combination of all of the above.
Chances are the Giants will have Melky Cabrera in center field on opening day. Then after a month or two of hitting .230 we will see a platoon with Nate Schierholtz possibly seeing some time in center.
In place of Coco Crisp, the Giants might pursue a trade for Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina. Bernadina could be had for mid-level pitching, which the Giants have a surplus of.
Nevertheless, whoever the starting center fielder in 2012 is, he will simply be warming the seat until Gary Brown makes his debut sometime in 2013...Unless they trade him for Hanley Ramirez this week.
EDIT: WITHIN TWO HOURS OF ME WRITING THIS THE GIANTS TRADED FOR ANGEL PAGAN. IT IS A VERY GOOD TRADE FOR THE GIANTS
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