Freddy Sanchez and the Second-Base Situation

The news on Freddy Sanchez isn't good:

The thing that was threatening William Shatner from the wing of an airplane in a Twilight Zone episode is now living inside of Freddy Sanchez's shoulder, gnawing on cartilage and tendons willy-nilly, TMZ has learned.

Wait. Wrong link. From CSN Bay Area:

The second baseman encountered another setback with his surgically repaired right shoulder while turning double plays in pregame work Wednesday. He was in the lineup at designated hitter and there remained no firm date to play the field.

The problem isn't that Sanchez can't hit; it's that he can't field. Specifically, he can't throw. If Freddy Sanchez were a slugging first baseman, he would probably be in the lineup. Jeff Bagwell couldn't throw a paper airplane in his last couple of years with the Astros, but he was still put in their lineup at every opportunity. But Sanchez is not a slugging first baseman. He's an average-dependent second baseman, which is great ... as long as his defense is sound.

There's a chance that Sanchez's second-base career is over. If you think that's too harsh, don't forget this note from Baggs when the injury actually happened:

While it’s common for football players to have unstable shoulder capsules tightened, the results have been mixed for infielders; several years ago, promising prospect Marcus Sanders had his career end prematurely after undergoing the procedure.

This isn't a Tommy John surgery, where you just have to rehab and wait. This is a freaky shoulder injury.

Which brings us to the backup plan. If Freddy Sanchez can't throw -- and I'm sure I'm not alone in really, really hoping that he can, and that this sort of article is just alarmist nonsense -- are the Giants really going with Emmanuel Burriss and Ryan Theriot at second all year?

I'm starting to come around on Burriss. Hear me out. He's hitting .277/.333/.277, which is close to what I'd think his ceiling is. Obviously, he'll hit a few doubles -- they can roll by the first and third basemen down the line, you know. But I'm thinking he could be a .260/.330/.330 hitter with average defense (though pretty nifty on the double plays). That is, not that much of a drop-off from what I was expecting from Sanchez to begin with.

Ah, the sweet smell of lowered expectations. But I'm willing to give Burriss and/or Sanchez's shoulder until the trade deadline before freaking out. There probably aren't a lot of interesting second basemen who will be available. An example:

Teams that shouldn't contend (and have a second baseman I don't want)
Royals
Orioles
Twins
Cubs

Teams that shouldn't contend (and have a youngish player at second that they won't want to deal)
Mariners
Astros
Pirates

That leaves Orlando Hudson and the Padres. I wouldn't be opposed to Hudson, even if he is off to a bad start. But I'm sure as heck not going to advocate a trade for him, or argue that he solves a problem. More like, if there were a disheveled guy walking around a bus station, offering a slightly used Orlando Hudson for some money for the soda machine, I'd consider it.

The right answer is probably Mike Fontenot, but that would mean it's a pretty sad question. For now, I'm sort of okay with Emmanuel Burriss, mostly because there isn't a choice, but also because he has a not-that-insignificant chance of turning into Joey Cora with better defense. I'd take that.

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