Giants BATSMEN, 12/9/10

(originally written 12/9/10)

Late-breaking news courtesy of KNBR and verified via the reliable John Shea’s Twitter update: Edgar Renteria has been offered a deal to return to the Giants as a reserve, for one year at about $1M (pretty sure a handsome Giants blogger predicted that stance weeks ago). I’ll keep you posted.

After a good flurry of activity, so begins the conclusion to the lively 2010 Winter Meetings—an aptly-named event, as two premier members of the N.L. West will be “meeting” new employers and teammates come 2011. Say goodbye to Adrian Gonzalez, Giants fans; I’m sure you’re beside yourselves with grief to see San Diego’s franchise player shipped to Boston in yet another casualty of MLB’s screwed-up financial imbalance (although we never mind those inequities when they end up helping out our preferred ballclub, as in this case.) Gonzalez, as we all know, was going to be dealt in the summer of 2010 had the Pads lived up to their non-contender advance billing. Also, San Diego non-tendered Scott Hairston, another Giants slayer over the years, and the reports I’ve read indicate little to no interest in re-signing him to even a reduced deal.

 

Here’s a Kleenex.

Mimicking the Padres, Arizona also sent their prime slugger to the A.L. East via trade as well—Mark Reynolds is off to Baltimore. In 2010, Reynolds and ex-Ray Carlos Pena made strong attempts to establish sub-.200 averages as acceptable so long as salient power numbers accompany them. Maybe they were on to something—Pena was rewarded with a $10M, one-year deal from the Cubs this week.

So what has Brian Sabean been up to at the WM? Well, not a whole lot since the Tejada signing. He had told reporters he’d like to see the club get more athletic, with a little more balance from the left side of the plate. For some reason, I’m coming across several publications that discuss the displaced Aaron Rowand as if he has a legitimate shot at reclaiming his starting job in 2011 out of the gate. What’s worse—these discussions do not come with any reservations attached.


Look, I’m one of the seven Giants fans left that doesn’t abhor Rowand, but he’s an old and abused 33, and Torres ignited the team in 2010. Torres would have to go 0-for-March with daily errors and unprecedented difficulty dressing himself for Bruce Bochy to even consider a change. I’m not sure Boch would even bench Torres if he caught him hitting on Mrs. Bochy.

Even if all of the above did materialize, Cody Ross is probably first in line to take CF over (a healthy Mark DeRosa or Nate Schierholtz could handle RF, and since Brandon Belt has a shot at making the team in 2011 per Sabean, Aubrey Huff could even shift there). Sabean went on record as saying Rowand would be wise to do some corner outfield preparation for the upcoming season. Any talk you hear of a Torres/Rowand spring competition is what they call “bunk”. And if you ask Sabean, any talk of Rowand being dealt to Philly for Raul Ibanez carries the same description, according to Chris Haft of sfgiants.com.

CSN Bay Area will be re-airing classic games from the 2010 Giants postseason run beginning tonight—with the hometown broadcasters! “Giants Orange October: The Authentic Edition” kicks off at 8pm PST with Game 1 of the NLDS, and culminated 12/24 with Game 5 of the World Series. Two NLCS games and two other World Series games will run in between; visit CSNBayArea.com for dates and times.

Sergio Romo, a very busy man these days, appeared on Chronicle Live Tuesday afternoon with Greg Papa. Asked about any hard feelings about being passed over in NLCS Game #6 for Tim Lincecum in the 8th, Romo only had praise for “one of the greatest pitchers in the game”. He went on to describe ex-batterymate Bengie Molina as a “gentleman”. Always bubbly in interviews, I almost did a double-take when Romo admitted to getting a bit down on himself during his brief slumps this past year.

Romo and Torres appeared at Valley Fair mall in San Jose this past Sunday morning, and were giving autographs to the first 200 fans. I thought 2.5 hours early was plenty of time to claim one. How wrong I was.

Mychael Urban of KNBR (and CSN Bay Area) conducted two solid interviews with two of the game’s most candid, interesting personalities---current Giants’ 2B Freddy Sanchez and erstwhile Giants’ 2B Kevin Frandsen after the World Series. If you missed either of them...you missed out.
Sanchez underwent “the scope” on his non-throwing shoulder this week, and will be sidelined for about eight weeks—an estimated March return to action.

A few notes on Miguel Tejada—he is a career .297 hitter in 28 games at AT&T Park over his career, including .368 in 2010. He’s over .300 at three of the other four N.L. West venues, including a sweet .344 clip at Dodger Stadium with five homers in 96 official AB’s. (I tried to research where he ranks among active leaders in that category, but…too time-consuming.)

The Rule V Draft came and went yesterday, with the only notable Giants loss being AAA lefty Joe Paterson to Arizona. Picked in the 10th round back in 2007, Paterson had a fine 2010, spent mostly with Fresno. As far as gains…only in the minor-league phase, guys I’ve never heard of.

Panda Sandoval is said to have lost 15 pounds so far this off-season, which is good. If the thought of resuming the grind of travel by cramped bus to games attended by a whopping 1,200 people didn’t get young Pablo motivated to slim down, nothing would. Sabes’ theory: Panda lays off the junk food, and he’ll consequently lay off the bad pitches and flourish. We’ll monitor this closely.

Sports Illustrated is offering a MLB Championship Package; with a one-year subscription (approx. $90), you can get the Giants’ commemorative World Series DVD or Blu-Ray, a hardcover commemorative 2010 Giants book, and a licensed World Series Championship baseball. It would make an incredible gift for a loved one—or for me, if you lack loved ones. 

It was reported that Eugenio Velez, who according to Sabean stood little chance of making the team in 2011, was non-tendered for space on the 40-man roster. Well, as of today the roster stands at 38 (including Pat “The Bat” Burrell, thankfully!), and while out of options, Velez was not arbitration-eligible and certainly not going to get a raise even if he were—not after batting under .164 in 2010. Velez has his shortcomings and his detractors, but he’s talented, young and versatile—maybe a little flashy for an unproven, but without any serious attitude problems according to my sources. While it was more than a tad stunning to see him booted from the 40-man roster—to me and to seasoned pro writers as well—I’m willing to operate under the assumption that Sabean knows more about the Giants and their personnel than I do…just this once. 

A quiet Giant birthday week: Felix Rodriguez turned 38 on 12/5, Steve Bedrosian turned 53 in 12/6, Fred Lewis hits the big 3-0 today 12/9, and Doug Henry blows out 47 candles on 12/11.