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The Case of the Broken Second Baseman

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Brian Sabean: …so with that said, I’d like to introduce our newly acquired second baseman, Freddy Sanchez!

Sanchez steps to the podium. Five seconds later, his labrum catches on fire. Sanchez writhes in pain on the ground.

Sabean: I, uh…well, shoot.

two months later

Sabean: I’d like to keep you, Freddy, but we’re not going to pick up this option. It’s more than what you’d get on the market.

Freddy Sanchez: How about two years and, uh…

Sanchez looks at a dozen donuts in a box on Sabean’s desk.

Sanchez:…a dozen million? I mean, $12M?

Sabean: Done. Sign here, here, and here.

Sanchez signs

Sabean: Great. Say, you’re not injured are you?

Sanchez: Notaybe.

Sabean: I don’t think that’s a real word.

Sanchez: Uh, the shoulder that was injured is now fine.

Sabean: Good. But why did you start rubbing your other shoulder when you said that?

Sanchez: I, uh, well, the thing is…

Sanchez’s other labrum turns into a fog and leaks out his nose.

Sabean: I, uh…well, shoot.

Yeah, har har. It’s easy to poke fun at Sabean and possibly the medical staff that signed off on two major Sanchez transactions, but over the last 13 years, this hasn’t been a recurring theme. Maybe there were some oddities with Noah Lowry’s prognosis, but that’s the only other medical funkiness I can think of in recent history. When the Giants traded for Ellis Burks, they took a similar chance on his preexisting conditions, and that worked out quite well. The Giants checked out Freddy Sanchez’s knee, and it was his shoulder that went kerblooey. It’s probably fair to chalk it up to bad luck rather than incompetence. Usually, the Giants’ staff is sending people like Armando Rios the other way, or passing on a long-term deal for a guy like Jason Schmidt.

So it doesn't make a ton of sense to rail against the front office or the medical staff for this one. After the Ray Durham years, maybe they should question the strategy of acquiring second basemen over the age of 30, but considering the overall value Durham provided, that probably isn’t the scariest campfire free agent flashlight story.

The biggest problem with the Sanchez re-signing isn’t that he won’t be ready for Opening Day, it’s that it came so early in an offseason flooded with second basemen. Felipe Lopez and Orlando Hudson still haven’t signed, and when they do, it will certainly be for less guaranteed money than Sanchez received. A lot of this is 20/20 hindsight – I certainly wasn’t screaming this from the rooftops when the deal was made – but if the Giants had the offseason to do over, they’d probably start by waiting a little bit to see how the market played out.

 

If this happens again – if another midseason acquisition comes over with preexisting injuries, doesn’t provide any value at all, and then gets signed to a lucrative extension before having surgery for a different injury concern – then I’ll get all indignant. But…wait. After reading that, I’m starting to get indignant. Now I get it. That’s pretty lame.

Still, it’s probably best to focus on the confirmed organizational problems. Like, oh, pretending that Bengie Molina is a net positive to the offense because of his RBI blood, his home run sweat, and his clutch tears. That sort of thing should be the main concern. That the Giants’ due diligence might not have been especially diligent with regard to Freddy Sanchez’s medical status? There’s no sense in getting too worked up about it unless it proves to be the rule, not the exception.