This post started as an instruction manual for Hunter Pence. It was supposed to be silly. But when I was halfway through, I realized it was pretty much a word-for-word ripoff of the old "Happy Fun Ball" skit. Well, shucks. A hour of work down the drain. The lesson learned: Do not taunt Hunter Pence.
Instead, this is a quasi-serious instruction manual for the Giants' new acquisitions. They're more like passive-aggressive suggestions than a manual. The sneering opinions of a pasty dork who stopped playing baseball around the time he got his driver's license?Don't mind me.
The Giants got Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro, both of whom are better than the players they replaced on the 25-man roster. The Giants got better. Only the silliest of contrarians would dispute that. You can complain about the players traded away, the offseason moves that made these trades necessary, and whether either player is worth the money. But the 25-man roster is improved.
Will it be as improved as it could be? Ah. That leads us to the suggestions, which will be followed by predictions.
How Marco Scutaro should be used
Scutaro should start almost every day, whether at short or second. He's better than Ryan Theriot. He's better than Brandon Crawford, at least against left-handers. I don't mind a rotation of the three based on match-ups, hot bats, and other assorted silliness, but I want Scutaro to get the most playing time of the three.
How Marco Scutaro will be used
He'll play third base, with Pablo Sandoval moving to first and Belt going on the bench. Search your heart. You know it's true. This is what they threatened to do with Joaquin Arias, except not even the Giants could stomach that. That was a threat by an angry parent to turn the car around when you were already in Coalinga. You know you're going to Disneyland. Also, in this analogy, Disneyland sure strikes out a lot.
I'm not even bitter about this, really. Because this happens if Belt doesn't hit over the next week, and I'm tired of forming an opinion on him. Text me in a couple of years and tell me if he turns into Matt Williams.
How Hunter Pence should be used
Pence probably isn't as bad in right as his defensive metrics this year -- he's always graded out well, so I'm guessing small sample size -- but I'd still prefer Melky in right. He has the arm and the speed for right, and I trust him not to get a limb stuck in the foul pole while playing a carom off the wall. Pence … not so much. The difference isn't that great, but I'd guess it would be a very real improvement to put Pence in left.
Also, the playing time in center shouldn't automatically go to Angel Pagan. That was a neat little hot streak he was on for a while, but since the beginning of June, he's hit .229/.276/.307. He isn't hitting for average or power, and he isn't taking pitches. You put up with that if he fields like Peter Bourjos. But he kind of fields like Marvin Benard trying to pin the tail on Fred Lewis.
I'm not saying Pagan should be benched for Blanco, but I'd like to see them both share time in center. We'd know pretty quickly if there's a huge difference in defense, which I'd guess there would be.
How Hunter Pence will be used
Hunter Pence is the right fielder. He will be the right fielder for every game. Angel Pagan is the center fielder. He will be the center fielder for every game. Melky Cabrera is the left fielder. He will be the left fielder for every game. This is an immutable truth. It shan't change. No, no. It shan't. Pagan has played center in 93 of the 103 games the Giants have played this year. I'd expect him to play center in nine out of every ten games for the rest of the season, too.
There are worse fates than the above. The Belt-for-Arias swap would have been a tragedy. Belt-for-Scutaro is merely melodramatic.
More importantly, the Giants can put a pretty reasonable lineup out there when Sandoval comes back. Like, six or seven major-league hitters at a time. That's kind of amazing.
Tonight's— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) June 8, 2012
#SFGiants lineup: Blanco lf, Theriot 2b, Pagan cf, Sanchez c, Pill 1b, Arias 3b, Schierholtz rf, Crawford ss, Zito p
I mean, that's amazing to think the Giants can put this out there now:
Gregor Blanco/Angel Pagan - CF
Marco Scutaro - 2B
Melky Cabrera - LF
Buster Posey - C
Pablo Sandoval - 3B
Hunter Pence - RF
Brandon Belt - 1B
Brandon Crawford - SS
Belt would be hitting 7th because it makes sense, not because Arias is swingin' a hot bat, or some such. Crawford is hitting eighth, where he should probably buy a condo soon, because he'll be there for the majority of his career.
A decent lineup, and Lincecum pitching better? Well, tickle me with a feather. This could work. I miss Tommy Joseph, and I'll be a little crushed if he turns into Mike Napoli, but this could work.