Brandon Hicks has been a revelation. He's come up with timely hits and big dingers in a season where the Giants were supposed to be devastated by the Scutaro injury. The Giants have more dingers from a second baseman from anyone since Ray Durham in 2007. He's superb on the double-play turn. He's been worth a win or two for a team that probably should have lost a win or two without Scutaro.
Brandon Hicks probably shouldn't start on a good team. .
Both things can be true, and I don't think we're being especially unfair. He's a career .165/.269/.338 hitter, and he's down to .182/.300/.364 for this season. Flirting with the Mendoza Line (available from HarperCollins on July 6) is fine when he's hitting dingers. The dingers have vanished, though. Everything has vanished, really. Since his last home run, Hicks has hit .130/.259/.196 in 54 plate appearances, with 20 strikeouts to eight walks. He's probably not that bad. But he's not as good as he was in the early part of the year. He was found money. We spent it on dingers. Caramel dingers. They were awesome.
You're about to get a face full of Chase Utley rumors for the next 50 days, but until then, there's another option. Here is what Joe Panik is hitting in Fresno:
There are some obvious caveats, here. One, those numbers are coming in the Pacific Coast League, so temper the expectations. Two, Panik doesn't have a great arm, can't run well, and he doesn't hit for a lot of power. He's not unlike Conor Gillaspie, but with a better chance to stick at second.
At this point, though, there's no reason not to try it. There's more than a month to figure out what Panik looks like against big-league pitching, with Hicks still around to protect him from nasty left-handers. The corresponding roster move would be a little trickier, as the Giants would either need to trade Ehire Adrianza or sneak him through waivers, but that's probably the only thing keeping the Giants from making a move right now.
If the Giants are enamored of Adrianza enough to where they don't want to risk losing him, I suppose it's Hicks who gets shafted and sent to Fresno. I'm not a fan of that idea, and I can't imagine Adrianza having that much value to the team right now -- as in, he's so valuable that the Giants are willing to gamble with the success of the 2014 team because of long-term considerations. I'm thinking the Tigers could use him. Maybe they'll just give the Giants Anibal Sanchez, too.
I suppose the difference between Hicks and Adrianza is negligible, but I'm more comfortable with an all-or-nothing player as a bench option, considering the Giants don't need a defensive replacement at short.
It's probably time, though. It's too bad that no one remembers Panic! At The Disco these days. Those puns wrote themselves.