Pitchers and catchers reported yesterday, which is always fantastic news. The annual ceremony was held, where they pull Armando Benitez out of a burrow and check to see if his shadow is anywhere near the Giants' spring training facility. If they see it, that's supposed to mean six more months of bullpen suck.
Henry Schulman starts off a recent State of the Mando article with this:
I've given up trying to forecast bullpens, as evidenced by my lack of effort in all things relief for the NL West preview posts. It just makes a person look too stupid when they attempt to predict how effective a bullpen is going to be. Brendan Donnelly came out of the same mist as Manny Aybar, but only one became a dominant reliever. We could look up in August and have Mitch Wylie leading the team in saves. We could look up in August and see every reliever who didn't enter the season with major league experience in the middle of a 5.00 ERA season.
Even with that concession, there is a whole bunch to be said about past results. With Benitez, it just isn't clear which past results to go with. Should we hope for the Benitez that hadn't really ever had a bad season before he came to the Giants? Or is the mopey tub of save-blowing goo from the past two years who we should expect? I've constantly defended Benitez - this post, for example, didn't exactly hold up well - but eventually gave up on him last season. When the Marlins were offering nude photos of Wayne Huizenga for Benitez and several million dollars, I was hoping the Giants would jump on the offer.
The spring optimism has gotten to me, though, and I'm all for giving Benitez one more chance. In the Chronicle article, Brian Sabean says the right things regarding Benitez:
Benitez will not be handed the job."He's going to have to do it. Obviously in spring training, we give the veterans, including the closer, the benefit of the doubt over younger players, but we're going to want to see more overall, and hopefully the pitcher we saw in Florida, (which was) the reason we signed him."
Comment starter: Done with Benitez? One more shot? Cast him in a remake of Disorderlies? What to do, what to do?