**Edit: Kevin Frandsen is officially a free agent: Just how desperate ARE the Giants for a middle infielder?
Only two more Cactus League games left… wow, where is the time going?! I really don’t feel like this spring has drug on like some in the past, but maybe that’s because we haven’t actually seen the full starting lineup play together yet. The Giants seem like they’ve been on a mission from day one of camp, as they’ve trimmed their roster frequently and aggressively. We’re down to what, 29 guys now? At the moment, odd men out appear to be Law, Gutierrez, Colvin and Scutaro… with Scutaro obviously starting the season on the DL, and Brandon Hicks getting the final roster spot.
Andrew Susac gets the start behind the dish in today’s game, which happens to be Bumgarner’s final start of the spring. As Baggs tweeted out earlier, this is a great opportunity for Susac, but I also wonder if the organization isn’t trying to show the kid off a bit. Yes, Posey is playing 1B today, and Hector Sanchez is getting a day off, but the timing is a little odd in my opinion. I’m probably just reading into it more than I should. Either way, today should be a great chance for Susac to show off his spring progression.
Another note from the game today: Mike Morse is playing LF and batting #2. That’s pretty significant to me, as Morse really hasn’t spent much time in the field this spring. He swung the bat very well against the Angels yesterday, but you really have to wonder if he’s healthy enough to play every day at this point. Between Morse, Scutaro and Pagan, the Giants seem like they’ve been babying a few of these guys so far. After last year, we definitely don’t need anyone going down before the season even starts, but you have to wonder if the rust will carry over into April. In Scutaro’s case, what was even accomplished in 2 AB this spring?
Getting back to Morse… Baggs had a story up last night about options for the #2 spot in the order while Scooter is out. Belt, Morse and Crawford were a few of the names thrown around. I think he mentioned Arias as well. Morse got the nod yesterday, and they’ve penciled him in there again for this afternoon. Now I certainly don’t know everything in this world, and I would defer to Bruce Bochy’s knowledge of his players 100% of the time… but I really don’t see Morse as a good fit for #2 in a lineup. Yes, he can be a high average guy when he’s healthy, but he’s never had a great OBP. I watched quite a few Seattle games last year, and the dude is definitely a hacker. To me, Belt seems like a much better fit for the #2 spot than any of the others in consideration.
What else is on tap today? How about the “Sandoval Talks,” as I like to call them. Look, this is a very touchy subject for people. It’s a fanbase divider, without a doubt. Pablo is a fan favorite, and a genuinely likeable guy. But come on, is the organization really supposed to just give him any amount of money he wants? The comments from his agent about training 24/7 and never having weight problems again are laughable, but I guess that’s what an agent is supposed to say.
I want to make this clear: I am a big fan of the Panda, and I would be sad to see him go. But the organization has to stop shelling out major contracts at some point, especially for a player who’s been very inconsistent for the past four years. Believe me, I know there are 100 valid arguments to make in both parties’ favor at this point, but I’m not sold that Pablo Sandoval is a $100M player yet. I do have a caveat though: if the organization really has no desire to get creative in replacing Pablo at 3B (i.e. shifting Buster/Crawford/Susac), then I guess you might as well pay the man… because you’re going to have one heck of a time finding steady production from the free agent market. But, if you’re willing to explore every possible option, including the obvious internal switches, then hold your ground. If Panda wants the big money, he’ll have to earn it… and maybe, just maybe he’ll help get you back in another pennant chase while he’s earning it.
Ok, it’s probably time to wrap this thing up. Looking back, it feels like I’ve taken on a very negative tone in this post. That was not my intention, and I apologize if you’re a bit put off by it. But there have been a few things on my mind lately, so I figured it was time to share them. Believe me, I’m VERY excited for the season to get started. I’m also jacked for the minor league seasons to open as well. I want to start talking prospects again!
Just one more thing… Speaking of prospects, I do have a quick bit of news to share. Joe Ritzo was reporting on the Giants High-A squad yesterday in Arizona, and he tweeted out the lineup. Apparently Chris Stratton had a very nice outing, inducing tons of grounders in 5 solid innings. But something else caught my eye: Joe had “Chavez” listed as the Giants DH. I sure as heck couldn’t remember any Chavez from the farm system, so I asked Ritzo about it. Turns out it’s Matt Chavez, an independent league guy the Giants picked up over the winter… He’s a Burlingame kid, former USF Don, and was drafted in 2010 by the White Sox (as a pitcher). He’s 25, so definitely not a young guy. But a pretty interesting story no less. Here’s the link Joe sent me, give it a look if you have time. Could we be looking at another Daniel Nava story here?
I think that’s about all for today. Thanks for checking in. Before you know it, the Giants will be playing at AT&T this weekend. That, my friends, is a very good thing.