Guillermo Quiroz and the 2013 World Series

Rob Tringali

The Giants signed Guillermo Quiroz to a minor-league deal.

No, no. Drink it in. Read that sentence again. It's an important sentence. Quiroz is a catcher, so the chances he gets significant playing time are small. If he gets a lot of playing time, it means that either Hector Sanchez is hurt, Buster Posey is playing too much first, or the end of the world is nigh.

Quiroz is a catcher without a lot of major-league experience. He's 30, and he has a career .206/.265/.272 batting line in 257 at-bats. His OPS+ was literally -100 last year. Literally a negative hundred! Sure, it was two hitless at-bats, but that doesn't make it any less fun to type. He's a career .249/.322/.410 hitter in the minors, and even though he did well enough in Triple-A last year (.846 OPS), the Mariners looked around and said, "Uh, sorry. All full up with hitters here," before selling him to the Red Sox.

Yet Quiroz is going to be a big deal. You'll see. No, this isn't because of his prospect pedigree, though that's interesting. After hitting .282/.372/.518 as a 21-year-old in the Eastern League, he looked like a star. To Baseball Prospectus!

Quiroz may never win a batting title, but then Joe Mauer may never hit 35 homers, a mark which Quiroz should challenge at his peak. Toss in catch-and-throw skills that got him his signing bonus in the first place, and you've got the new Lance Parrish.

Quiroz is at -1.7 wins for his career. Parrish was worth 36 over his career. To get there, all Quiroz needs to do is average 3.5 wins every year until he's 40. He's got a shot, I'm telling you. He's got a shot. And the slow climb to Parrish-dom is going to start this year. You might think this is a lark, a goof, and you'd be half-right. But let's take a look back at the last three years:

2010

Who:
Andres Torres

Pedigree:
257 awful major-league at-bats before the Giants (the exact same number as Quiroz). A semi-impressive campaign as a 30-year-old in Triple-A

Quote from the post announcing his acquisition as a minor-league free agent:
N/A

Result:
A World Series title and a movie

2011

Who:
Ryan Vogelsong

Pedigree: Literally the worst pitching in Pirates history.
Awful stats in Triple-A as a 32-year-old for two different teams.

Quote from the post announcing his acquisition as a minor-league free agent:
N/A (snotty offhand mention after the fact)

Result:
A World Series title (the following year) and an All-Star berth

2012

Who:
Gregor Blanco

Pedigree:
An okay major-league OBP with a Burrissian lack of power, coming off a dreadful season for two different Triple-A affiliates.

Quote from the post announcing his acquisition as a minor-league free agent:
"On one side, Justin Christian partisans. On the other, Gregor Blanco fetishists."

Result:
A World Series title and a modestly priced bench player for the next several years

Conclusion

Minor-league free agents lead to championships. This isn't even a small-sample thing. Sure, maybe if it happened once or twice, but three times? That's a trend. Ask any statistician. They'll tell you.

So here's my best guess. Hector Sanchez, catcher of someone's future, but not the Giants', gets traded in the big summer deal. There will be quotes about how tough it was to lose him. Both Zito and Lincecum will be annoyed because they liked throwing to him. But Brian Sabean will have to take the gamble on ... shakes 8-ball ... Chris Perez to shore up the bullpen.

Perez will do okay, but Quiroz will do better. On Wednesday, Aug. 20, against his old team, the Red Sox, he'll hit a bases-clearing triple to spark a furious ninth-inning comeback. On the first day of September, he'll go 4-for-5 against the division-leading Diamondbacks, pulling the Giants within a game of the division. On Sept. 22, he'll hit the two-run homer to put the Giants into the lead for good, while simultaneously knocking the Yankees out of the playoffs.

In the NLDS, Quiroz will get the start for Game 1 because he's the personal catcher for Lincecum, who is awesome again and starting Game 1 because he is awesome. Quiroz gets a key RBI, and Posey makes an unassisted triple play at first with the bases loaded in the eighth.

In the NLCS, Quiroz will be quiet. This is to lull you into a false sense of doubt.

In the World Series, Quiroz will erupt for three doubles in Game 3, which helps the Giants to a Series advantage they don't relinquish. And as the confetti falls and Quiroz waves to the crowd on Market Street, acknowledging the throng calling him by his new nickname ("El Quebrantahuesos", with osprey-hat sales spiking during the playoffs).

And you'll be like, man, didn't see that coming.

But I'll be like, c'mon, it was so obvious from the very start.

Welcome, Guillermo Quiroz. It is you of whom the prophecies foretold, just like Torres, Vogelsong, and Blanco. There is no pressure, but if you could win a World Series in your first or second year with the team, that's usually how things are done.

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