Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Take on the Final Cuts

It has become very clear that last year's season had a lot of wear and tear on the Giants' decision-makers for who makes up their 2012 roster.

The pitching staff to begin the season has the usual suspects such as: Jeremy Affeldt, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Santiago Casilla, Tim Lincecum, Javier Lopez, Guillermo Mota, Sergio Romo, Brian Wilson and Barry Zito.  The new additions to this staff as of April 5, 2012 are Clay Hensley and Dan Otero.  And remember, there is Eric Surkamp waiting in the wings on the 15-day disabled list just in case Barry Zito has been what no pitcher ever wants to become. (Note: No pitcher wants to be a batting practice pitcher and no batter wants to be an automatic out.)

The catching position took an interesting turn of events.  The Giants have long been a team that stands by it's defensive approach to the game.  With that in mind it would have been easy to understand why either Eli Whiteside or Chris Stewart would have made the club.  But because both had such a difficult time having their bat hit the ball one was sent to Fresno while the other was dealt to another ballclub.

Eli was sent to Fresno while Stewart was traded to the Yankees for George Kontos.  Kontos is a 26-year old, right-handed pitcher from the University of Northwestern. He is 6'3" 225 lbs and made his major league debut last September 10, 2011.  His totals were 2 runs in 6 innings while making 7 appearances.

This left the door to their clubhouse wide open for a rookie named Hector Sanchez.  Per, a 22-year-old, Sanchez, who has risen rapidly through the Giants' system, will serve as the backup.  He hit .383 with 4 homers. "He's done a good job. He's earned this," said Bruce Bochy.

The infield's biggest surprise is that Brandon Belt is the first-baseman and Aubrey Huff is the left fielder.  Why? Because Nate Schierholtz didn't do enough offensively to warrant a starting spot in the lineup.

Also making the lineup, largely in part to Freddy Sanchez's slow healing shoulder, is Emmanuel Burriss.  He is versatile but will be watched over if he begins the Spring the way he ended the Cactus league, not reaching base.  I have a feeling that Joaquin Arias is just getting his reps down in Fresno until he gets the phone call asking him to catch the next mode of transportation back to San Francisco.  In other words, Emmanuel is on a very short leash.  This is his last chance to prove he is a major leaguer wearing the black and orange in San Francisco. (I suppose if you're into the color thing he could make it with the Baltimore Orioles, another team whose colors are orange and black.) If he doesn't begin the season the way he began the Cactus League it's likely his tour of duty with the Giants will be terminated.

Brett Pill, another versatile player, who has shown the Brass enough in his ability to play the corner outfield positions (left and right) and the corner infield positions (third and first) and has enough sock in his bat (from the right side of the plate) that he earned a roster spot.  It's the reason Mike Fontenot was let go for Ryan Theriot. Offense. 

The outfield has only 4 players (knowing that Burriss is a fifth candidate to roam the spacious sod at AT&T and elsewhere in the National League).  Newly acquired Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera will have to show their new team they were worthy of being acquired as does Gregor Blanco.  Blanco has impressed the Giants' decision-makers and their fans so much that he will get plenty of opportunities  to contribute to the Giants.  (The Giants hope he can bring something offensively. Not to say he isn't capable defensively because he covers ground and has an above average arm but his asset is that he is fleet of foot.)  With Nate Schierholtz coming in as a late-inning replacement I am pleased to say each outfielder, sans Aubrey Huff, has a cannon.  

Huff, why is he the left-fielder?  O-F-F-E-N-S-E.

Good luck and stay healthy Giants.  The fans are looking forward to the 2012 season.

(thanks to for the facts on the aforementioned Giant players.)

Kevin Marquez