Fixing the Giants Offense, Part I: Just Do Nothing

The offseason hasn't even started yet. I already hate the offseason. The hopes of improving the Giants' offense are dead; long live the hopes of improving the Giants' offense.

The team wants to re-sign Juan Uribe, which is a fine idea. But they want to sign Juan Uribe to start at second or third. The Giants' yer-only-good-as-yer-last-200-at-bats organizational philosophy doesn't see how it's possible that a player can decline after a good season. Randy Winn had a heckuva run before the Giants extended him, and he kept producing at that same level, averaging almost 30 home runs a year. Aaron Rowand was a 25-homer guy when the Giants signed him, and, gee, no one's regretting that move, what with Rowand continuing to be a middle-of-the-order force. So when you're looking to repair a completely broken offense, the first question you should ask yourself is, "Are there any 30-somethings who are coming off good seasons that were totally unexpected?" That's where they hide the gold in this league, people.

If Uribe hits like he did this year, he'd be perfectly fine at second or third. The odds of that happening are less than stellar. You have to factor in a possible decline with Uribe. And if he drops back to the performance level of his previous two seasons, he'll be another millstone around the neck of the offense. That's a big leap of faith.

If I were running the team, though, I'd re-sign Uribe too. And I'd promise him a starting job. So I'm not anti-Uribe. He should be the starting shortstop next year. I had a chance to talk with Giants Brass about this, and our conversation is after the jump.

Giants Brass: Whoa, whoa, whoa. But we have Edgar Renteria.

McC: ...who is one of the worst regular players in baseball. His offense is so poor that he'd be a bad player if he were a Gold Glover, which he most certainly is not. He plays the game as if he's encased in a Jello mold, and he's trying slowly fight his way out.

Giants Brass: Well, give him a chance. He was injured.

McC: Even if that's true, even if for the past two seasons his abysmal performances were due to injury, why would you expect him to get better? He's getting older, not younger. When you re-sign Juan Uribe and start him anywhere but short, you're doubling your risk. You're saying, "Well, I hope this 34-year-old, nicked up shortstop can stop being terrible, and I hope this 30-year-old player who had his best season in five years doesn't regress." Why not minimize the risk and say, "I hope this 30-year-old player doesn't regress...but if he does, at least he won't be worse than the player he's replacing, and we'll be able to upgrade another position in the lineup."

Giants Brass: But Renteria makes $9M. He has to start.

McC: Would you like to pay $9M and have a good shortstop, or would you like to pay $9M and have an awful shortstop?

Giants Brass: Uh. The first one?

McC: Good. Because you're going to pay $9M regardless. So you might as well find a good shortstop.

Giants Brass: But Renteria makes $9M. He has to start.

several hours later, after three PowerPoint presentations

McC: So, as you can see, the concept of "sunk costs" applies to baseball as well. You're paying Renteria $9M, yes. But that doesn't mean he's an asset to the team. So if you can find a better player who improves the team, you do it. That $9M isn't coming back, so there's no sense in paying all that money and getting a lackluster performance in exchange.

Giants Brass: Okay, smart guy, answer me this: Why wouldn't Renteria start if we pay him the kind of money that starting players usually get. Hmmm?

McC: Let's move on. So you're plan is to put Uribe at third, moving Sandoval over to first. Edgar keeps his starting job. Rowand starts in center.

Giants Brass: Have you seen what that guy makes? He must be some player!

McC: So that leaves second base as an open position, and...

Giants Brass: I'm pretty sure we'll find a way to keep Freddy Sanchez. He hit .284 for us!

McC: Uh, okay. So now you have two outfield spots to play with, and....

Giants Brass: Oh, no. We're going to start Andres Torres and Eugenio Velez in left. Vrrrrrrrooom!

McC: ...

Giants Brass: Vrrrrrrrooom!

McC: So you have one outfield spot with which to fix the entire offense.

Giants Brass: It'll be tough, especially if Bengie doesn't come back. I mean, the drop off from Molina to Whiteside will be huge over 162 games.

McC: Do you have any players in mind?

Giants Brass: Well, not Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. They'll require contracts that are too big, and they're not worth the long-term risks.

McC: Wow. I agree wi...

Giants Brass: Just kidding. We'll pursue them as if they will fix the offense single-handedly, but they won't want to come here. No, but there are a bunch of options out there. Marlon Byrd is over 30, and he's likely to just keep getting better. He hits for a little power in Texas, which will obviously translate well here, he doesn't take walks...he's perfect. Garret Anderson is due for a breakout season. Randy Winn is due to rebound. We have a bunch of options.

McC: Thank you for your time. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go commit hari kari.

Giants Brass: Good luck! I don't even think he's broadcasting for the Cubs anymore, but he is crazy. I saw a documentary once where he talked about the moon being made of spare ribs. Crazy stuff!

McC: ...

Giants Brass: Vrrrrrroooom!

This team is going to want to rebuild a very bad offense, yet they're committed to retaining one of the worst pieces of that offense, even though he doesn't provide any defensive upgrade, and even though there's a capable replacement who wants to come back to the team. I don't get it.

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