San Francisco Giants: Has "Big Money" Gone Bankrupt?

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IAugust 3, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 17:  Bengie Molina #1 of the San Francisco Giants hits a single that scores Pablo Sandoval in the first inning of their game against the New York Mets at AT&T Park on May 17, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

It is no secret that the San Francisco Giants have struggled to score runs, and it is certainly no secret that GM Brian Sabean has attempted to improve what has been quite an abysmal offense.

Prior to the trade deadline, Sabean acquired first baseman Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians and second baseman Freddy Sanchez from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The acquisitions give the Giants a lot more depth in their offense, and you can't argue that the moves haven't paid off in the short term.

Despite Garko's 2-16 start, the Giants are 5-1 since he first appeared in uniform and Freddy Sanchez put on a show in his debut.

Sanchez went 2-4 including a two-run, game-tying double and he later scored the go-ahead run in the same inning.

Not only are the trade acquisitions bringing a spark to the club, the call up of utility man Eugenio Velez has brought added speed and versatility to the team. He is also red-hot at that dish, picking up base hits at a .444 clip since his promotion.

With the new faces bringing energy to the club, and stud outfielder Nate Schierholtz soon to come off the DL, the Giants need to consider moving their No. 4 hitter "Big Money" Bengie Molina out of the cleanup spot.

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The Giants' catcher and cleanup hitter is currently hitting .258/.269/.413 with 11 HR and 52 RBI.

Despite having arguably the worst overall offensive numbers of any everyday cleanup hitter, Giants manager Bruce Bochy has yet to try Molina in a single different spot in the lineup.

Even though the San Francisco catcher has been anything but "money" in clutch situations, (batting just .231 with RISP) he has hit cleanup in every single start this season.

Molina, who has hit just three homers since May 13 and zero since the All-Star break, has seemingly become frozen cold at the plate.

In his last 10 games, Molina has gone just 7-38, with only a single extra base hit and only two RBI.

However, even though Molina is going through a major dry spell and doesn't belong in the cleanup spot to begin with, the lackluster offense hasn't provided a worthy enough replacement.

However, with the recent trades and spectacular play by Velez, the Giants may finally have enough depth in their lineup to take pressure of their catcher by dropping him to sixth in the lineup.

Instead of plugging in Molina in the four hole every single game, the next best option would be to hit Pablo Sandoval in that spot. Unfortunately, Bochy has also been enamored with the "Kung Fu Panda" hitting in the third slot of the lineup in order to maximize Sandoval's plate appearances.

Therefore, whether or not Bochy follows the projected order is anyone's guess, but a possible option may be the following:

1. Velez LF

2. Sanchez 2B

3. Schierholtz RF

4. Sandoval 3B

5. Garko 1B

6. Molina C

7. Rowand CF

8. Renteria SS

With this lineup, the high on-base percentage players like Garko, Sanchez, and Sandoval will all be in front of Molina, giving him more RBI opportunities.

Since Molina is by far the slowest runner in the league, dropping him further down the order will do wonders for the ball club. Having the hit and miss type batters like Rowand and Renteria hitting behind him, Molina's speed will be less of an issue because he will no longer be clogging up the bases in front of the more speedy contact hitters like Schierholtz.

Depending on whether or not Bochy is willing to shake things up, this could be a very legitimate lineup when Schierholtz comes off the DL, but if Molina continues to struggle at cleanup and the Giants leave him there, the offense just might continue its anemic run production.

However, a move lower in the order might just return Molina to that "Big Money" status that Giants fans have come to know and love.

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