Now that the dust of the offseason has settled, and we're finally getting our fill of Mitch Lively appearances to analyze, it's worth taking a step back, cocking your head like a curious German Shepherd, and looking at the Gregor Blanco/Andres Torres platoon like the curious thing it is. The Giants were willing to overpay for Marco Scutaro because they didn't have any better options. They were willing to give Angel Pagan market value. They paid all of the guys in the bullpen they needed to, and then they paid some they didn't.
But when it comes to left field, the Giants are using life hacks to get by. Nail holes in your drywall? Try toothpaste to cover them! Tired of electrical cords getting tangled? Use toilet-paper rolls to separate them! Don't want to spend money on an outfielder? Get a couple of popular, low-average, speed-'n'-defense guys to fill in!
In theory, I was cool with it. Blanco can field and (kind of) get on base, and Torres is the greatest human being in the history of the world. There were other priorities, and it's clear that both of those players are capable big-leaguers, at least.
Then you read something like this:
An MRI showed that Torres, who had been battling side soreness for several days, has an oblique strain. Manager Bruce Bochy said Torres is expected to miss about a week of spring training.
And all of a sudden you snap out of it like Timothy Busfield in Field of Dreams. Where did this field come from? Wait, who's that in right field? The Giants are counting on Andres Torres to stay healthy and give them at-bats? Where am I?
Because as much as I love Torres, he's 35. I'm 35. I literally tore something in my knee three days ago because I was standing. Now, I know I'm just a few chin-ups short of being a professional athlete, but the overall point stands: When you're in your mid-30s, your body starts being a total dick. And Torres has a history of pulls, tweaks, skrinks, and skronks keeping him out of action. He's 35. And he's supposedly the right-handed part of the Giants' left-field arrangement.
When I wrote a desperate plea to get Torres back, I didn't mention his age once.
When I wrote up the confirmed return of Torres, I didn't mention his age once.
When I read the blurb in the 2013 Baseball Prospectus about Torres, and it started with, "Be honest: If you hadn't already looked at Torres's stats above, how old would you have thought he was?", I said, hey, stupid book, don't tell me what I do or don't know about the Giants. I write a blog about them.
Turns out I didn't really fathom how old Torres was until he was injured for the first time in 2013, approximately six seconds after spring training started. Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle. This isn't working out as planned.
If you believe in "logic", then the Giants would have been much better off with Scott Hairston. That was kind of the choice of the offseason. It was some Mephistopheles-level trolling by the baseball gods. Do you want this powerful, speedy, right-handed outfielder who fits the team's needs perfectly? Or do you want this broken-down old guy that you've already let go once before? I don't know if I would have had the restraint to do the right thing.
The Giants chose wisely, so they should be rewarded for their faith. It was a test, see. The baseball gods wanted to see if success had made the Giants corrupt and impure. Their reward will be a healthy, productive Andres Torres.
It should be their reward, at least.
Number of "Hi"s: 498,491
I would be more than okay with those numbers, provided that his defense hasn't declined. They'd probably be enough to keep Kyle Crick from getting traded for Carlos Quentin or something.