Suppose this is Part Three of the I Guess These Are the Guys I Have to Root for After All series.
That's not my intent, though. I don't have any illusions of Manny Burriss being a productive part of this -- or any other -- Giants team. If a had a talent wand that I could bludgeon people with, Burriss might be the first person I went after. He's a hard-working, ever-smiling player who has had some horrific luck with injuries over his career. I like him a lot. But he has an uphill battle in his quest to become a viable 25th man.
The idea for this article germinated out of some sad and covetous rosterbation, actually. I was looking at Willie Harris's Baseball-Reference page, and I noticed he had a .340 OBP since 2004. His lack of power and defensive misadventures negate that somewhat, but I could dig a team with Mike Fontenot as the primary shortstop backup and Harris as the super-rover flitting all around the field. Then I remembered Manny Burriss is in the best shape of his life, and that he's the scheduled super-rover, and I got a little sad.
Again, this all came about because of yearnings for Willie Harris. There should be some sort of over-the-counter pill that you can get on January 6th for this kind of stuff. I mean, it happens every year. And by "pill," I mean "drink." And by "drink," I mean "Is it technically considered an Irish coffee if the ingredients just happen to meet in the stomach at some point?" That's what this kind of stuff does to me. I mean, Willie Harris. What is wrong with me?
But then thinking about Burriss actually put me at peace a little. Remember 2008? Sure you do, at least until after a few more of those coffees. Towards the end of the 2008 season, Manny Burriss looked like the ostensible starter at shortstop. Dude was going to start. And a lot of Giants fans were almost okay with that:
So I'm torn on Burriss. I don't want the Giants to spend money on a gimpy Rafael Furcal, and there's no sense in trading for an unproven guy like Ben Zobrist when Burriss didn't embarrass himself after being rushed.
Yep. Sure would have been awful to swing a trade for Zobrist, who was my favorite white whale of the past before Burriss blinded me with science and OBP.
The peace I referred to up there was along the lines of, "Man, remember when we were thinking about Burriss starting?" Seems like a long time and millions of confettis ago. If we're reduced to griping about Burriss as a utility infielder, progress has been made.
We've moved from sadness to pragmatic realism already in this post. Can I get some unfettered optimism? Well, there will be some fetters, but I'll do my best. This excursion into the world of Willie Harris also made me remember that utility infielders don't all come from the same place. Well, I guess if you're a uterus-reductionist they do, but in baseball terms, some of them start as first-round picks, and some of them start as 50th-round fliers. And very few of them have very successful early careers in the minors -- if they did, they'd probably get a starting gig at some point.
And before Willie Harris was a guy who was pretty okay, considering, he was a 24-year-old with a .742 OPS in AAA. And when he was Manny's age, 27, he had a .242/.309/.299 line in 854 career at-bats -- freaky-similar to Burriss' .250/.311/.281 career line.
Which is all to say: Maybe when I'm busy coveting Willie Harris, I should remind myself that there's a chance that Manny Burriss becomes the next Willie Harris. And that would be great.
It's also time for some baseball to start. Who had January 6th in the pool? I will burn this place down if I don't get some baseball soon, and I'm taking you all with me. You just read a post about Willie Harris and Manny Burriss. You can understand that sentiment.