The moment came sometime in December, after watching the World Series DVD for the sixteenth time. I was watching Renteria’s home run the only way I know how: Zapruder-style. Back and to the left. Back and to the left. Back and to the left. I’ll pick a different person in the seats behind home plate after the first dozen viewings, focusing on one at a time to see how long it takes to realize that, oh no, that ball was hit pretty well. I don’t see this hobby getting old for a while.
But somewhere during all this, I realized that I don’t care about roster minutia quite as much. Backup catcher battles were the first casualty, but now the indifference has spread to the last man in the bullpen. Maybe it was this:
Yeah, that will do it. That’s the combined playoff performance of the last man in the Giants’ bullpen, Guillermo Mota. Sure, the Giants had a historic postseason run from their starting staff, and that obviously eased the burden of the bullpen, but for all of the debate and concern over the final playoff roster, the last man on the roster received two innings of garbage time in 14 games. Turns out Barry Zito could have made the roster off. It’s not like he could have given up nine runs in Game Two of the World Series.
Well, he certainly couldn’t have given up ten runs, so the Giants would at least have set up a thrilling walk-off win.
One area that hasn’t been affected by the Peter Gibbons-brand of arrogant apathy, though, is the rotation. The Giants have been so fortunate over the past two seasons to avoid injuries to the rotation, and it’s silly to assume that the spotless health will continue. So the offseason depth chart with Jamie Brewington and Gil Heredia as the sixth and seventh starters was a little disconcerting. Maybe it will turn out to be as pointless of a fear as the 12th-man-on-the-staff mania of ‘10, and maybe Eric Surkamp is already sixth-starter material already. But something just north of Todd Wellemeyer would be just fine as an emergency plan.
So the equation goes like this:
Don’t care about mop-up man
Kind of care about sixth starter
Keep Jeff Suppan as the mop-up man.
I’m assuming that some WAR-toting nerd will show up in the comments section, proving that the difference between Mota and Suppan in relief would be greater than the difference between Suppan and, oh, Henry Sosa in three spot starts. And that’s fine. I’ve never read the comments here, and I don’t intend to start now.
Comment starter for everyone else: Suppan as 12th-man in the bullpen? It probably doesn’t make a huge difference either way, but it makes me feel better for some reason.