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On the eventual return of Beltran ....

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Carlos Beltran will eventually be back. They have the technology. Oh, sure, you can bang your head against the wall and read things like this ...

(Zack Wheeler) showed top of the line stuff. His fastball sat 94-96 mph with a few 93 mixed in later and one 97 as well early. He showed both the ability to throw it down with run and sink and throw it shoulder-height to change batters’ eye-level and produce swings and misses.

... but just let it go. Forget it, Jake: it's China Basin.

The thing that kept me going over the horrific road trip was that Beltran is coming. Beltran is coming. Beltran is coming.

 

The more I look at it though, even assuming that he'll hit like a Beltran should, which isn't a given with wrist injuries, I'm not sure that his return is a panacea. My sort-of preferred lineup:

Andres Torres - CF (or Ross until Torres is back)
Brandon Belt - 1B
Carlos Beltran - RF
Pablo Sandoval - 3B
Nate Schierholtz - LF
Jeff Keppinger - 2B
Mike Fontenot - SS
Stewart/Whiteside - C

Chances of that happening? 0.0%. If you'll notice, Aubrey Huff isn't in that lineup, which violates all sorts of international laws and treaties. And, sarcasm aside, Huff really has been looking better at the plate -- he's making better contact and showing more patience. So if you put Huff at first and shift Belt to the outfield, that means Schierholtz sits, which Bochy will certainly be loathe to do. When Beltran comes back, Brandon Belt goes away. It doesn't matter if there's a lefty or righty on the mound: poof. He gone.

Here's what we'll get:

RHP

Torres - CF
Keppinger - 2B
Beltran - RF
Pablo - 3B
Huff - 1B
Schierholtz - LF
Cabrera - SS
Stewart/Whiteside - C

LHP

Rowand - CF
Keppinger - 2B
Beltran - RF
Pablo - 3B
Ross - LF
Huff - 1B
Cabrera/Tejada - SS
Stewart/Whiteside - C

No Belt. There's just no way, no matter how hard we stomp our feet. There's more than a little irony that the Giants' big deadline acquisition is named Belt-ran. Alright, maybe it's less than a little irony. Alright, maybe it's not ironic at all, but rather an almost-but-not-really-interesting coincidence. This leads to four points of frustration:

 

  1. Beltran pushes one of the Giants' best eight hitters out of the lineup, which limits his value. I wish I had thought about that more prior to the Beltran acquisition, as I know others were pretty vocal about it. Starting to have real regret
  2. The Giants have never tried Nate Schierholtz in center, which is just weird. He seems like he'd be able to handle it with his skill set, and he'd give the team just a little more flexibility with Torres out.
  3. Bochy refuses to play Belt against left-handers. I mean, if you're going to care about silly samples like a player's five at-bats against a certain pitcher, why not note that Belt has been better against lefties this year in 23 at-bats?
  4. Orlando Cabrera is just a gross addition to this team, considering that the Giants need hitting far more than a questionable defensive upgrade, but that's sort-of off-topic with this post, I guess

 

Of course, Belt isn't exactly a given to single-handedly improve the Giants' offense on his own -- even accounting for small samples, he does have a scary strikeout rate. But if I'm picking the eight players who I think would hit the best over the rest of the season, Belt is on that list. Huff is on that list. So is Beltran. But we're not going to see them all in the lineup at the same time, which gives me pangs of Beltregret.

Beltran's coming back, and he'll make the offense a little better. But it means that Belt is going to be a late-inning pinch-hitter. Sort of wish we had a real shortstop and catcher instead.