"You're going to have competition every year. People are always going to say there's going to be battles, competitions," Durham said. "But still, if a guy fighting for the position hits .600 (in spring training) and the starter hits .300, the starter always seems to get the nod, from what I've been a part of and from what I've seen."Missing from this theory is the idea that Durham was one of the worst regular players in baseball last year. I remember him stinking up the joint, you remember him stinking up the joint, but does anyone remember just how bad he was? .218/.295/.343? That's like having Livan Hernandez start at second, though Hernandez would probably have had better range.
Thing is, prior to last season, Durham was one of the most consistent players in baseball. Last season's abomination snapped an 11-year streak of above-average hitting. Smarter folks than I think that Durham might rebound. There is some logic to a Durham renaissance, and the U.S.S. Mariner details it pretty well. It doesn't hurt that he's spanking the ball in March.
So here are the options:
- Start Durham with an eye on moving him at the trading deadline, but give him a short leash. If his April isn't an improvement on his 2007 season, he gets buried on the bench.
- Bury Durham on the bench from the start of the season.
- Find at-bats for both Durham and Kevin Frandsen throughout the year.
- Start Durham because he's the starter. How can you make a starter a not-starter? That totally goes against the definition of starter. By definition, Durham should start because he is the starter. If he struggles, he'll work through it. Gamer. Starter. Veteran presence. Hustle. *bunt*. Gamer.
Somehow, I have a feeling that the fourth option is how the Giants are approaching the Opening Day roster. Taking that into account, we get:
And, like Ryan Klesko last season, no one wants him at the trading deadline.
Baseball Prospectus projection (subscriber only)
Last year's hilarious Ray Durham prediction thread. Man, were we off.