Over on Brew Crew Ball, I was asked what my first move would be if I were the GM for the Giants. The Giants need help in just about every offensive area, but the answer is still easy: There has to be a first baseman who would fit the Giants’ needs better than Rich Aurilia.
I've never had confidence in Dan Ortmeier to be that guy, but I’m intrigued now that he isn’t going to bat lefty anymore. As the right-handed part of a platoon, Ortmeier could still get some at-bats against righties when he faces late-inning relievers, but he would be able to ease into the conversion. It’s still doubtful that he’ll ever have enough offense to be an average first baseman, but stranger things have happened. Maybe a righty-only Ortmeier will eventually be able to hit righties just as well as lefties. ‘Tis the season to try stuff like this out.
Now all that’s missing is a left-handed platoon partner. Hopefully, he’d be cheap, both in terms of salary and trade costs. And he’d preferably have some power. He doesn’t have to be Carlos Pena, but he’d have to have a better upside than Aurilia…
…so, yeah, I’m in the "please acquire Dan Johnson"-camp. It makes way too much sense. You say he’s oft-injured. I say he’s free. If he gets injured again, what would happen? The Giants wouldn’t have a good first baseman? Welcome to 1994. Johnson’s career .298/.388/.517 minor league line hints that there is some room for improvement on his .249/.344/.419 major league line, but note that even his lackluster major league line would be an improvement on the current version of Aurilia.
The Giants have indicated that they aren’t interested, but that could be posturing. The A’s still a few days to try and get something back for Johnson. The Giants could have a pretty good idea that league-wide interest is low, and they’re just waiting for Johnson to hit the waiver wire. Or they could really not be interested because, hey, they already have Rich Aurilia. That would be just goofy reasoning.
It would be tough to designate Aurilia for assignment – I have fond memories of the old Aurilia – but it shouldn’t stand in the way of an easy decision like this. I hope that Aurilia hangs around the organization after he’s done, kind of like what J.T. Snow has done. Maybe there would be some hard feelings if he isn’t given a chance to improve on his 2007. Them’s the breaks, though. Now that Dave Roberts isn’t on the active roster, Aurilia might be the player on the team who is the worst roster fit on the Giants.
Johnson/Ortmeier ’08: It wouldn’t make sense for any other team, but I’ll try anything.