Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Too Much to Handle

What a freakin' rollercoaster. I don't like rollercoasters. They make me throw up. I can't know this because I've never been on a rollercoaster, but I'd like to think I'd throw up if I ever got on one. That's how I avoid them. And recent events are confirming my worries.

Let's start at the beginning.

The Giants acquired Carlos Beltran. You know that. What you may not know is how it all went down. The Giants traded Gary Brown. Damnit, I thought they could get him without giving up a top prospect. Wait, they're giving up Zack Wheeler. No! Wheeler's even better. They're trading Wheeler and Brown. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING SHITTING ME. Oops, they're just giving up Wheeler. Okay...I hate whoever put that rumor out there. It's very possible that the Giants are giving up Wheeler, Eric Surkamp, and Francisco Peguero for Beltran. Dead. Wait, the Giants may be getting more than just Beltran. OMG REYES?! Shutup, that isn't happening. In the end, they gave up top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler in the deal, a fairly steep price to pay, and a price I wasn't willing to pay up until today. But I trust the Giants in evaluating pitching prospects and the thought of Beltran in the lineup is jus too exciting, so I'm okay with the deal.

That's not to say this isn't a huge risk. Beltran has a pretty significant injury history and is likely a two month rental. If the Giants don't win the World Series or if Beltran gets injured and Wheeler goes on to be a star, yikes. But I've decided it's a risk worth taking. Okay.

It get's announced that Beltran will play RF, with a Schierholtz/Ross platoon in LF. Small quibble, but Schierholtz is a very good right fielder, not to mention the skill it takes to play that position at AT&T park. And why is Schierholtz getting platooned? It doesn't really make sense to give one of your better players LESS playing time, but that will be a common theme later in this post.

Matt Cain is Matt Cain. Getting shit done.

Now there's the business of clearing a 40-man and 25-man roster spot for Beltran, who will be arriving and starting tomorrow. What's this? Brandon Belt is optioned down to AAA AGAIN and Pat Burrell is released to make room on the 40-man roster. Whoa.

At first glance, the real baffling move is to send Brandon Belt back to AAA. The Giants have one of the worst players in baseball this year playing Belt's position right now. There's that whole not playing your best players theme already. And it's not like they can blame this demotion on Belt's struggles at the plate, which was at least a somewhat legitimate excuse after his first demotion. Belt has barely played, but when he has, he's hit pretty well (no hits against Clayton Kershaw, one of the best lefties in the game, so who cares). And, wait a minute, Emmanuel Burriss is still on the Major League roster? That guy as an OPS+ of 41. But he's FAST!! Give me a break. The Giants don't really need him for depth - Keppinger, Fontenot, and Crawford all play SS. The case can even be made that Crawford should be sent down before Belt. For all of his great defense, he can't hit, and isn't going to get much playing time going forward.

But the decision to release Burrell might be more mind-numbingly dumb. It wasn't necessarily that surprising because Aaron Rowand is owed too much money to be cut, of course. But Pat Burrell had the 3rd best OPS on the team this season. He really can still hit. The worst part is that he did NOT need to be released to make room on the 40-man roster. Steve Edlefsen. Clayton Tanner. Alex Hinshaw (What the hell is this love affair with Hinshaw, who is AWFUL?). Bill Hall. These guys are all not very good. Why keep them? It's so un-sabermetric, but clubhouse chemistry is very important and we have every reason to believe that Pat Burrell was a big part of that. I'd love to think a team won't grab him or maybe he can retire and stay around the team. But as I pointed out, he's too good, and a smart team will pick him up.

UPDATE: CSN, who reported this news, has failed. Pat Burrell is not eligible to come off the DL and can't be released yet. Still, the point stands and I wouldn't be surprised if he's released soon.

UPDATE #2: Holy hell, Brandon Belt isn't being sent down and this post is mostly worthless. What the hell happened at CSN today?

I don't know. I haven't processed everything. There's an argument to made that the biggest upgrade this team could make was replacing Huff with Belt, and that isn't happening. And a good player and great clubhouse presence is being dumped in favor of much worse players. I love having Beltran on this team, but the Giants are doing their best to screw it up.

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