I read the "comments" on this site. I have my finger on the pulse of Giants fandom, baby, I know what's going on. And it seems some people around here don't much care for Joaquin Arias as the Giants' backup shortstop. I've seen him referred to as a "bad baseball player," a "not-so-good baseball player", and a "Kobe Bryant-looking jackface."
He's hitting .324, you animals.
I know it's only spring training, and that the 12-for-37 performance could have come from Ydwin Villegas, but I'm not sure what Arias did to trip the enemy-of-the-state wire. Is it the $800,000 he makes over the minimum? The second guaranteed year, that would still be a bargain if he only replicates his 2012 and 2013 seasons? That he's the kind of hitter who could pair that .324 average with a .308 on-base percentage, which is actually what's happening?
Okay, that last one is legit. But I'm still okay with Arias as a utility infielder. It's like there's a statute of limitations on Emmanuel Burriss memories, and it expired for everyone at the same time.
This isn't a post about Arias, though. This is a post about the last infield spot. It's hard to write about until we know more about Scutaro, and he's 50/50 for Opening Day. Whatever happens, I'm sure the Giants will properly discern how injured he is, and balance the needs of a 25-man roster with the likelihood of Scutaro playing.
Sorry, lost my train of thought. Let's assume that Scutaro is on the roster, even if he's not completely healthy, and that he won't play and effectively force the team to play with a 24-man roster because that is the most Giants way to handle this. That leaves one roster spot for an infielder, seeing as the Giants are pretty committed to keeping five outfielders (as they should be). That leaves one slot for an infielder and three candidates.
Do you remember him having a .442 slugging percentage in 138 at-bats last year? Do you remember him getting 138 at-bats last year? Do you have any Abreu-related memories that don't involve him acting like a dunderhead in the field or on the bases? Who is this mystery man? This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife.
He also owns a career .324/.360/.496 line in Triple-A (mostly in hitter's parks in a hitter's league, mind you), which I'd take to mean more than his 39 at-bats this spring. Still, I get the feeling that there's something … off about him. I also get the feeling that the Giants get the feeling, too. It's probably the Dodger stink.
He has an option and isn't on the 40-man roster.
Brandon Hicks is a middle infielder with power, who has an option and isn't on the 40-man roster. He has been outstanding this spring, hitting for average and power, but he also has an option, while not being on the 40-man roster. His problem has been a lack of contact and patience in the minors, and he's not on the 40-man roster, while he also has an option remaining. As much as I'd like to be fooled by his spring, he's probably the hacker's hacker that his minor-league stats suggest. Also, he has an option. Also also, he isn't on the 40-man roster.
Unless Scutaro starts on the DL, there's no way Hicks is on the roster. It has as much to do with logistics as it does talent.
He's out of options, and he won't clear waivers. He makes the team, he's traded, or he's gone. Sitting on the bench isn't going to do wonders for his development, but he'll turn 25 this year, so I'm not sure how much development is left. That probably isn't a major concern at this point. He's clearly the best defender, which counts for a whole bunch, especially if something were to happen to Brandon Crawford.
Adrianza isn't Brian Bocock with the bat, but neither is Madison Bumgarner, so I'm not sure how much credit he should get for that. Still, at the start of the spring, I was pretty sure he would be traded. I even suggested as much last night. For some reason, though, I woke up convinced he was going to make the team.
My guess at the Utility Infielder Power Rankings:
2. Abreu (on the roster if Scutaro is DL'd
If Hicks goes bananers in Fresno, I can see him put on the 40-man roster at an injured player's expense. Until then, he's a distant third.