In a post-Pablo world, maybe I should be more open-minded. When Pablo Sandoval came up, he was a pudgy catcher. But the Giants already had a portly catcher, so they were stuck there; no sense downgrading. And when it came to first base, there was even a bigger problem: Travis Ishikawa, who was...
...wait, why in the hell did the Giants try Sandoval at third base? What a bizarre move, considering that it's not like there was a big contract or prospect blocking him at first. But it was a successful move by almost any measure. Sandoval hadn't played third since he was 19 in low-A, but he wasn't a disaster at any point in 2008. He had his moments of poor play last year, but he was looking good before his injury. If Pablo can stay in shape, he'll be a pretty good third baseman for a while, which is much, much, much better than wasting his bat at first.
Which brings us to Aubrey Huff, who is willing to play third if the Giants ask. Last year, I think I would have been okay with this. Huff was supposed to be a land mine at first, but he was okay. They asked him to move to the outfield, and he was okay there. This year, though, he's been a bit of a mess wherever he's been asked to play:
Left, right, first, wherever, Huff's been clanking. Watching him play the field this year makes last season's run even more amazing. How did he not cost the Giants the division with his glove? How did he have only one miscue in the playoffs? What sort of angel was sitting on his shoulder? What manner of devil is now reselling his soul on eBay?
When Huff did play third, he wasn't a monster, according to FanGraphs. He was perfectly acceptable. That was three seasons ago. Maybe he could slip in and be unnoticeable.
The ostensible reason for Huff playing third is to get Brandon Belt in the lineup. Belt, see, is hitting (.387/.529/.600 in Fresno). The Giants aren't. So plugging Huff at third means replacing Mike Fontenot's bat with Belt's. Forget for a moment that Fontenot should play over Tejada -- which I'm not entirely convinced is true any more -- because you know what Bochy will do, and he kind of has the final say. This becomes a bit of a math problem, then:
(Brandon Belt's offense + Aubrey Huff's defense at third) ? (Mike Fontenot's offense & defense at third)
I'm not savvy enough to run the numbers. Does ">", "<", or "=" fit? Someone in the comments will figure it out. Someone will crunch the numbers and write, "Belt should be a 12-run improvement at the plate, but Huff will swallow sixteen balls like a snake eating a turtle egg, and that invokes a little-known rule that gives the opposing team two runs every time, which means he starts as a -32-run third baseman..." But I think Belt would need to hit, and hit a lot, for the move to be justified.
Of course, this isn't for the whole season, either. This is for another month or so, until Pablo comes back. Huff says he needs a week to work on his throwing, so it wouldn't be an immediate shift, and it wouldn't last very long.
So I'm inclined to say "forget it." But I really want to see Belt hit again, so I'm open to the idea, not because it would help the team win, but because I want games to be more entertaining. And with the team's top prospect getting play and a guy stumbling around like a newborn, drunk foal, how could we not be entertained?