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Making Sense of Brad Penny and the Giants

There was a post all ready about the highs and lows of sports. It was beautiful and poignant. It compared being a Giantsfan to the fall of Carthage, and it referenced John Cougar Mellancamp and James Joyce in the same sentence. You would have been amazed.

Instead, the Giants signed Brad Penny, which is one of the all-time meh moves. A week after the devastation of Ryan Spilborghs, and a day after the jubilation of Edgar Renteria, we have the uh, I guess so of Brad Penny. Joe Martinez still has a spot in the organization, but no one is questioning the decision to go with another pitcher for the last month. Penny’s probably better than the other options. A lot of the abacus twiddlin’ types like the move, and it cost nothing. The Giants aren’t going to pay Penny more than they would have paid Martinez or Ryan Sadowski, they didn’t need to trade anyone away, and with the rosters expanding, they’re not going to send anyone to Fresno who doesn’t belong.

I can get over the inherent dislike of Brad Penny pretty quickly. Sure, he’s such a goof that even Microsoft feels the need to point it out…

…but as others have pointed out in the last thread, we rooted for Orel Hershisher. I cheered on Orel Hershisher. That’s like sleeping with every member of a hair metal band in the beginning part of this decade. It wasn’t cool even adjusting for the different era, and just thinking about it makes me want to take a shower. Orel Hershiser. Guh.

So if the Giants squeak into the playoffs, and if Brad Penny is a part of that push, I’ll cackle with glee. And when we’re done with him after the season, the Giants have no further obligation. Take a Penny, leave a Penny!!!1 Lining up the options for the last spot in the rotation, Penny’s almost certainly the pitcher most likely to do well. The move makes sense.

Here’s the best part of the deal, though: if Penny fails – if he’s the guy who pitches the game that ruins the season – he’s a perfect scapegoat. You can’t say, "Why was Penny even starting? Why didn’t Sabean call up _____?", so you’ll just hate Brad Penny for being Brad Penny. And that’s just fine. You can’t hate Joe Martinez for being Joe Martinez. Heck, no one can hate Joe Martinez for anything. That’s why it was such a drag watching him struggle; if he were to succeed, it would have been one of the best stories of the year. Moot point, and now we’re faced with a couple of choices:

  1. Tolerate Brad Penny and watch the Giants make the playoffs
  2. Blame Brad Penny because the Giants didn’t make the playoffs

Even if he goes 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA, you can still play the "clubhouse distraction" card and blame him. It’s a no-lose proposition for the Giants. I approve.

(And, yeah, the move will probably make the team a little better than it was yesterday, and every little bit counts. That should be taken into consideration as well.)