When discussing the state of the Giants, it's probably best to mention this up front: The most important problem facing the San Francisco Giants is that Pablo Sandoval was born with hamate bones made out of sand. Everything else right now is secondary.
Aubrey Huff is back, though, and the Giants will have to figure out what to do with him. Call me crazy, but I don't think he starts. Since Huff went on the DL, here's what Brandon Belt did: 10-for-33 with two doubles, five walks, and six strikeouts. That's good for a .303/.395/.394 line, with the obvious caveats. Tiny sample. At least one of the doubles was a doink. Two of the walks were intentional. Still, Belt has been just fine, even if you'd like to see him drive the ball more.
There was an argument -- a legitimate argument -- for keeping Huff in the lineup last year. His 2010 success and his career numbers both made Bruce Bochy's patience a viable strategy. You might not have agreed with it, especially as the season progressed, but it wasn't like Huff was Jose Vizcaino. Yet.
This year, the argument was less tenable. Still not totally crazy, at least at the start of the season, but a little more difficult to support. He wasn't hitting enough to justify playing him at first or in the outfield before he went on the DL, and in his absence, his ostensible replacement did well at first. The Giants had a tough (for them) lineup decision to make, but it's as if Huff's absence made the decision for them. If Huff gets starting time, I'd reckon it's in left field. And sparingly, at that.
I picture Bochy sneaking up behind me with a mallet as I type that. Metaphorically, of course. But I'm still a little scared to turn around.
There's also the question of what the Giants will do with the roster. The Mota suspension gave the Giants a little room to maneuver, and they didn't have to make a move with any of the position players. But they probably will. Here's my best attempt to catalog the Giants' options:
- Go with 11 pitchers
- Send down Joaquin Arias
- Send down Brett Pill
- Send down Brandon Belt
- Send down Conor Gillaspie
- Waive/release Emmanuel Burriss
There's also the possibility of releasing Huff, but that would border on sociopathic right now. It could still happen. Not right now, though.
There's another option, too, and that would be to release Ryan Theriot, which would make the roster what it was before Huff left, except Arias would be swapped in at Theriot's expense. That almost makes sense. But there would still be three first baseman on the same roster, two of whom hit left-handed, at the expense of a thin infield. The first basemen can play other positions like Posey can pitch, so that shouldn't really be an argument for keeping all three on the roster.
My guess: Gillaspie goes down, and third base becomes a revolving door of Theriots, Pills, and Burrii. First base is a revolving door of Belt against righties and Pill/Posey against lefties. If Gillaspie had three hits in his first 10 at-bats, he'd be safe, but I think his brutal defense last night might have made Bochy wonder if Pill would be that much worse at third. And the infield would still be thin, and there would still be three first basemen on the roster. But I don't see the Giants considering most of those other options up there.
So this whole post is a comment starter: What will the Giants do to make room for Huff on the roster? What should they do? And will Huff start just as much as before?