Dan Uggla had a miserable year last year, playing for three awful months with the Braves and four disastrous days with the Giants. Now the Nationals have signed him to a minor-league deal, hoping that he's still got something left. Presumably, they're basing that in part on the recent report that he played through an undetected concussion last year, which might also explain his tenure in San Francisco.
But, you know, Dan Uggla isn't the only recent Giants underperformer who had an excuse. Here are a few more you might remember:
AJ Pierzynski, 2004
Did AJ ground into a lot of double plays? Sure. But was it his fault? Ah, therein lies the rub, though I personally would not want to rub him lest I get a knee to the groin. Still, a highly placed anti-non-fictional source in the Giants organization has told me that the reason he was so bad that year is that he was betrayed. A member of the coaching staff would steal the internal scouting reports and deliver them to opposing teams, letting them know his weaknesses, any lingering injuries, and the Linkin Park song most likely to get stuck in his head that day.
We may never know the identity of the traitor who was out to destroy AJ, or his reasons for acting, but some say on a clear, moonless night in San Francisco, you can still hear the wind whisper, "OW MY NUTS GOD DAMMIT"
Ricky Ledee, 2004
Ricky Ledee's OPS+ in San Francisco was -7, meaning he was a worse hitter with the Giants than Rod Beck (OPS+ of 30), Shawn Estes (6), and Kirk Rueter (1). What could explain this? Well, if you'll recall, when Ledee came over, Mike Krukow spent a lot of time talking about how quiet he was in the clubhouse. It turns out that in Philadelphia, outfielders were not allowed to speak, or take any action whatsoever, unless Bobby Abreu let them. Since Abreu wasn't on the Giants, Ledee never got permission to talk, or take BP, and his hitting naturally suffered for it. The real blame for this one lies with the Giants' scouts, who really should have known better. Shame on you, guys.
Armando Benitez, 2005-2007
Let me tell you a story:
Once upon a time, after blowing a save, Armando Benitez said, "It's not my fault. Omar was out of position." Giants fans widely despised him for this remark. Defensively, Omar Vizquel made Brandon Crawford look like Neifi Perez, though that was mostly because Crawford was still in college at the time. Still, Omar was magic on defense, so Benitez was pilloried.
However, it turns out that Omar was deliberately playing out of position in the mistaken belief that Benitez was Jose Mesa. Their feud was the stuff of legend, and Omar had to get back at Mesa for all of the attacks. In fact, in every blown save that Benitez had as a Giant, Omar was out of position. Don't...don't look that up. Just trust me. 100% true.
Miguel Tejada, 2011
The baseball world likes to have some fun with Billy Beane's proclivity to trade everyone for everyone else, but the A's do know what they're doing. And for years, they've had a secret program in place to help them win. It's simple, really: when giving a player a medical exam, they inject a small chip into his bloodstream, telling them it's for dengue fever. And then, when the A's face him in the playoffs, they activate the chip and the player performs poorly. Well, after the Giants won their first World Series and signed Tejada, Billy Beane activated his chip in a fit of pique, and we can all see the results.
This is also why it was a good thing that the Giants didn't sign Jon Lester. Dodged that bullet!
Barry Zito, 2007-2013
I have no idea what you're talking about.
NO IDEA. ZITO WAS AWESOME.