One of the best things about being an amateur baseball know-it-all hack writer is that I can write long missives about what the Giants should do and must do, and what they are idiots for not doing. It can be ridiculous stuff, too.
Yeah, that’s basically what you can boil this site down to. Note the copious use of italics. And when it’s obvious that I’m spectacularly wrong – if I make, say, the AJ Pierzynski trade of opinion posts – I just forget about it and write something the next day. So it’s easy to write ridiculous things. Any little thing that pops in my head is likely to find its way on this site.
For example, I think the Giants should try Pablo Sandoval at third. He played 21 games there in 2006, so he should be able to pick up the position quickly. The Giants need to stop waging the politics of fear and start making a sandwich of pragmatism! There is no reason that…
…wait. What the heck? The Giants are actually trying Pablo Sandoval at third base? That’s…interesting. There’s a high potential for failure when you move a 22-year-old kid to a position toward the middle of the defensive spectrum with little minor league experience. This move might last a game or two more before it’s exposed as a completely untenable idea.
But, man, how awesome is it that the Giants are trying this? If it doesn’t work, don’t ever speak of it again. Put it in the Bob Brenly column, and slowly back away.
If it does work, though, the Giants have filled a round organizational hole with an exceptionally round peg. The player by which Sandoval should be measured is Garrett Atkins. If Sandoval can’t even approximate Atkins’s defense – and it should be noted that Atkins got his glove stuck in his own zipper as I was writing this – then the experiment is never going to work. Do not pass go, etc.... And to be fair to Sandoval, even though he’s surprisingly agile, this experiment has about a 25% chance of working. But it’s a no-risk, ridiculously high-reward gamble.
A lot of folks have been surprised at Sandoval’s progress with the bat, the organization has been more surprised with his progress on defense. His crazy non-stop, trans-level mashing has given the Giants a ton of options. He could allow the Giants to trade Bengie Molina for a real-live prospect. Sandoval could start at first. Or maybe he’ll prove that he can handle third, which would give the Giants a head start towards a legitimate infield as early as 2009.
When the Giants put Sandoval in the lineup at third, a nasty little voice popped in my head. "Oh, yeah. Fantastic idea. Let’s see, a low-OBP slugger at third base. Yeah, gee, that’s always worked so well in the past." The voice went away – thanks, Woodford Reserve! – but any blanket comparisons to Pedro Feliz are already laughable. All low-walk hitters aren’t created equal. For one, Sandoval just turned 22; there’s a whole heck of a lot of room for growth. And though Sandoval might not take a lot of walks right now, he isn’t a low-contact hacker, either. He can already go with outside pitches, driving them to the opposite field. Pedro Feliz did that once, too. They’re now tied for their careers.
I, for one, welcome our new hot-corner overlord. ¡Viva Sandoval! And ¡viva this crazy unconventional thinking and experimenting!, too. Here’s hoping he sticks and rewards the organization for trying something new.