Why Juan Uribe's Walk-Off Screams for More Playing Time

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IAugust 13, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 31:  Juan Uribe #5 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on May 31, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

When Juan Uribe's 0-2 count blast in the bottom of the 10th inning landed far up the left field bleachers late Wednesday afternoon, Giants fans rightfully rejoiced. Uribe's second career walk off homer prevented a 1-5 home stand and a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers.

However, after the euphoria of a walk-off win concluded, reality soon sunk in for Giants fans. Despite having one of, if not the best home record all season long, San Francisco managed just seven runs in a three game series against the rival Dodgers.

In essence, the Giants ought to feel lucky they managed to pull out a single victory in the series. Of course it didn't help that the umpiring was the most awful officiating in any three game stretch in any sport over the last few years.

Leaving the umpiring alone, the series finale victory for the Giants ought to show GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy that Juan Uribe should be the everyday shortstop. The only downside to this change is that the current starter (Edgar Renteria) has a 2-yr 18 million dollar contract. (i.e., it won't happen)

Meanwhile, Uribe barely made the roster out of camp and appears to be making the league minimum. Therefore, he will not get any more playing time after his emphatic home run because if you're familiar with the Giants, you understand that whoever makes the most money ends up with more playing time.

Even though UUUUUU-ribe has three more homers (5) in 121 fewer at-bats than Renteria (2), the former White Sox shortstop has zero chance to take over starting shortstop duties.

Now, it would be understandable if Uribe only had better power numbers but he has better overall offensive numbers and its not even close.


G-79, AB-239, R-26, H-67, 2B-18, 3B-2, HR-5, RBI-26, .280/.304/.435/.739


G-97, AB 360, R-39, H-91, 2B-17, 3B-0, HR-2, RBI-39, .253/.308/.317/.625

In fact, if Uribe had as many at-bats as Renteria, he would be on pace for an equal amount of runs, more hits, more doubles, more triples, more homers, and an equal RBI total.

Add those numbers to the fact that Uribe is hitting nearly 30 points higher than Renteria and a combined OPS that is over 100 points higher than his overpaid teammate.

Plus, Wednesday's error aside, Uribe provides more to the Giants defensively as well. Uribe has a stronger arm, can range just as far as Renteria if not further, and can make numerous plays that Renteria would have to concede as infield hits.

The play Uribe made in the ninth inning on Rafael Furcal (or the play in which he should have gotten credit for making) was all possible because of the quick hands and rocket throw. There is absolutely no way that Renteria makes that play.

Now I'm not saying that starting Uribe will magically put the Giants in better shape to make the post-season, but it would shore up a bottom of the lineup that has been putrid at best.

Granted both Renteria and Uribe are going to strike out their fair share and more often than not will be walking back to the bench, but Uribe puts fear in the mind of a pitcher.

With his play this season, Uribe often goes 0-4 with a strikeout or pinch-hit and a pop up to first base. However, the former Sock (how do you say the singular version of "Sox"?) still has the ability to go "yackadooo" and get a hold of a mistake to location.

Therefore, he is clearly more valuable in the lineup than Renteria. With the shortstop position hitting eighth in the lineup, whether or not they perform at the plate isn't going to be a huge issue. But any baseball fan would take a 1-for-4 with an extra base hit in the eighth spot over a 1-for-4 with a weak single.

The power that Uribe exudes is always in the back of a pitcher's mind, but not a single pitcher in this league fears the current Giants starting shortstop. Renteria has got to be the most washed up former all-star infielder in the game today. I mean think about it, Renteria is only 34 and already appears done. Yet Omar Vizquel was still a fan-favorite and productive everyday player way deeper into his thirties.

However, that may be an unfair comparison as Vizquel is one of the great shortstops of all-time. But if shortstops losing their all-star ability in their mid thirties is the norm, then the Giants need to give more playing time to Uribe.

Being four years younger than Renteria, perhaps Uribe still has a couple of years left in him as a starter.

Whatever the reason maybe (because every reason points to making a switch at shortstop) the Giants have to make this move or fans will continue to call for Sabean and Bochy's jobs.


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