I'm not sure what to make of a headline that announced Freddy Sanchez is "open" to the idea of staying with the San Francisco Giants in 2010. In all honesty, my first reaction was to be a little perturbed.
When the second baseman came over at the trade deadline for once prized-prospect Tim Alderson, the Giants Faithful were sold on what a Good Guy and great clubhouse presence Sanchez would be. His tearful departure from the Pittsburgh Pirates suggested we weren't buying fool's gold, that the dude really was sincerely good people.
In light of that dual first impression—real and generated by the spin machines—shouldn't the ex-Bucco WANT to come back to the Giants?
After all, Alderson entered 2009 as the No. 45 prospect in all of Major League Baseball according to Baseball America. Even if his stock is slipping a touch due to shakier numbers at Double-A, there's still considerable value attached to his right arm so the organization is entitled to some return on the substantial investment, right?
Well, we—I'm including the fans in the organization—haven't seen much.
Brought in to push the Gents into the playoffs, Freddy Sanchez instead became one of the heaviest anchors that ultimately doomed the club's quest for the second season.
Plagued by injuries of various kinds and degrees since coming to the City, the slick fielder with gap-power was underwhelming when he took the diamond. That wasn't terribly often—25 of 61 possible games, 107 plate appearances, 102 at-bats, .284 batting average, .619 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, a double, a home run, seven runs batted in, and 11 scored.
That's rates somewhere between "ugh" and "too small a sample size to even count." The jury's out on which is worse.
In fairness, baseball is hard enough when you're feeling fine and dandy. It's a cruel and brutal game that saps your mental and physical strength slowly, but with unrelenting persistence. So I'm not knocking Sanchez for his performance or failure to actually take his position—dings that keep your ability from manifesting itself on the field are a part of life in the Show.
The biggest splash at the trade deadline probably deserves praise for playing as many innings as he did.
But Freddy Sanchez is supposed to be one of the dying breeds, a class act. With so much talent heading out the door in exchange for such a nothing showing while the team tried futilely to squeeze its way into the postseason, shouldn't this ferocious competitor be desperate to give the good people by the Bay their devotion's worth?
So I was getting a little hot.
Thankfully, calm reason kicked in about the same time the needle was heading into the red.
It's easy to forget the business side of things as well as all the filters through which most "news" passes.
Even if Sanchez really wants to make good on the implicit love shown him by los Gigantes, he and his agent might feel the need to strike a certain posture in case San Francisco declines the option. Or perhaps it was merely a side comment, taken out of a larger context that had nothing to do with 2010.
There are countless details that could drastically alter true intent.
Like I said above, everything we've seen from Sanchez does smack of a genuinely decent athlete—unfettered by the demons of insecurity and self-infatuation. He seems to be the kind of pro most of us love to root for, no need to let one little snippet destroy all that.
Oh, and one other thing...
The San Francisco Giants have access to the same exact stats and the brass knows far better than I what it surrendered to import the offensive upgrade, i.e. he'll be patrolling second base for the Orange and Black in 2010.
Maybe the wisdom of $8.1 million for Freddy Sanchez and his significant talents is up for debate. However, when the sum also buys a chance to avoid yet another colossal blunder by the franchise on the trade market?
It's a no-brainer.