Fans of every team need a scapegoat. It's part of the social contract, apparently. You know there were Yankees fans in 1927 who were just disgusted with Joe Dugan. "Get that bindle punk out of here, I say, and pronto." I've been guilty of this more times than I can count, paying too much attention to Eugenio Velez, Jose Castillo, Wayne Franklin ... really, every roster has one.
This year's bothers me, though. I am not on board. Gregor Blanco is having a dreadful season. He deserves criticism. He deserves your skepticism. Every danged time he comes to the plate, you're within your rights -- nay, duties -- as a fan to roll your eyes. He is not a fun baseball player to watch right now.
He is not the only problem with the Giants. More important than that: He's probably not a bad baseball player.
This isn't an appeal to past contributions, which was the only possible defense of Aubrey Huff in 2012. Fans would trash him, saying the Giants needed to ditch him entirely, and they were right. But the anger and invective was weird. People were so angry that Huff existed. It was rude at best and completely embarrassing, even if he wasn't a good baseball player. Same applied to Andres Torres last year.
This is different. Blanco just turned 30, and he's coming off two productive seasons. He's been hot nonsense this year, but he's been worth at least two wins above replacement over the last two seasons -- outstanding for a fourth outfielder. From 2012 through 2013, he was worth as much as Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan, just to rattle off two names.
Not a fan of WAR? I don't blame you. It's convenient to have one number that includes defense, park effects, league averages, and baserunning, but I'm a little skeptical of its accuracy, too. Use traditional stats and your eyeballs, then. Last year, the league OBP was .315. Blanco's OBP was .341. Combine that with his defense and baserunning, and you can see how he was valuable, even without power. That would have been true if that .341 OBP came in Arlington, much less AT&T.
Don't believe in OBP? Well ... okay. We'll have to part ways. Good luck with future endeavors. Trust me, though. Blanco's been good, and I don't even need to stoop to embedding a video like this ...
... to make my point. He's been good for a starting outfielder. He's been exceptional for a fourth outfielder. So now we're supposed to believe he's not worthy of a 25-man roster spot because of, what, 189 at-bats? He's 30. He's not injured (that we know of). There isn't a logical explanation for his lousy season other than sample size, and GMs who run teams based on sample-size hunches are silly.
We've been through this before. People wanted to shoot Andres Torres from a catapult at the beginning of 2010. Same thing applied to Juan Uribe early in 2009. People hold backups and reserves to crazy-high standards for some reason. The difference with Blanco is that he's already been productive for this team -- he didn't have to prove himself like Torres or Uribe. He was just good. Like, right over there.
To sum up, this is fine:
Ugh, Blanco is just the worst right now. What a clown.
You're a fan, and when a player isn't helping your team, you get frustrated. But this ...
Release Blanco. Call up Gary Brown. Get Blanco out of here.
... is a way to announce that you don't know that much about baseball. That's not condescending stat-speak. The strawhats and traditional types almost certainly agree. You are basically starting a conversation at a cocktail party with "Now if the moon landing supposedly happened, how come ..." and expecting to be taken seriously.
Blanco is probably going to be on the expensive side for a fourth outfielder next year, so I don't know if he's a luxury the Giants can continue to keep around. But he is a luxury. It's a shame that he's stinking so fierce right now, but there's a lot about the current team that's shameful.
Don't make me post a picture of that Britney Spears fan.