The Giants are having a bit of an injury crisis on the infield right now. Joe Panik is hurt, Brandon Crawford is hurt, Matt Duffy is on his last leg – he's also on his other one, but the ankle's sprained – and the situation's bad enough that Bruce Bochy admitted that Buster Posey might have had to play third base last night. If the Giants need another third baseman, I don't see why they don't talk to the Hiroshima Carp about acquiring Nate Schierholtz, who played third base in the minors, but hey, I'm not in the front office.
So the Giants need help in the infield. And even when everyone's healthy, they might want a little more depth on the major league roster, just in case some of these injuries recur. So who's in the minor leagues who could help? Let's go over some options.
Hey, look, it's a former Giants utility infielder! The Giants DFA'd Arias a month ago, after which he cleared waivers, and accepted his assignment to AAA. Since he's been there, he's been a below-average hitter, which is pretty much what you'd expect of Joaquin Arias. The upside to bringing him back is that the team is familiar with him, and clearly value his versatility and talent on defense. The downside is that Mike Leake took his number, so Murph would have to give him a new uniform, so really, what's the point?
Hey, look, it's a former Giants utility infielder! Now, the beat writers love him. LOVE HIM.
#sfgiants infield looks like it could use a dose of Frandsen.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) August 27, 2015
I'd expect SF to subtract a P (Broadway) to activate Pagan tmrw. But they need more IF coverage. It's beyond time to get Frandsen on club.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 27, 2015
And as good Giants fans, our first instinct might be to throw things and yell about how they're dumb and the Giants are dumb and Frandsen is dumb and everyone but us is dumb. But, well, the Giants need a guy. Just any guy. And having seen Frandsen in AAA, he's been decent at the plate, his attitude has been fantastic (first guy out on the field for warmups, friendly with the fans, very supportive of his teammates), and he can play three infield positions. The Giants are in desperation mode, Kevin Frandsen is a warm body, and that's really all they need.
Hey, look, it's a former Giants utility infielder! Yes, Nick Noonan, best known for having a nice cup of coffee with Chad Gaudin during the 2013 ring ceremony, is back. Why is he back? Because the Yankees released him after he wasn't especially good for their AAA team, and the Giants love gettin' the band back together. If the Giants are more worried about Crawford's oblique than they've let on, then he might be the pick, since he's been playing a lot of shortstop in AAA. But if not, then he's not very likely to return.
Hey, look, it's a former Giants
utility infielder second baseman! He hit that homer off Clayton Kershaw that time. Remember that? That was cool.
Hicks has also been playing some third base lately, which can't hurt his chances. The thing that hurts his chances is probably being Brandon Hicks, and the league having figured him out last year. He hasn't been lighting it up in AAA either, really.
Hey, look, it's a former
Giants Padres utility infielder shortstop! He was an All-Star just two years ago, you know. In the majors, just to be clear. He's got talent. He's also been quite bad in the majors the last two years, and, just like the rest of 'em, pretty disappointing in Sacramento. Don't get too excited about that "former All-Star" thing. Dan Uggla was also an All-Star two years before he was in the Giants organization. That doesn't really mean a lot.
They're all in the majors. Seriously. All of them. "Some semi-prospect" is Kelby Tomlinson. It's Ehire Adrianza, who technically couldn't count as a prospect even if he could hit, but bear with me on this. Carlos Triunfel is still in Sacramento, and he's a utility infielder type, but his bat isn't any better than any of the veterans above, so it's hard to see him getting picked.
Reaching down into AA, you find Austin Slater, who has a .728 OPS in the Eastern League. You find The Amazing Rando Moreno, who was very hot earlier in the year, but whose bat has fallen off. You find Juan Ciriaco, and then put him back where he was, exactly like you saw him, and hope nobody realizes you briefly took him off the shelf. The cupboard is empty. There are only Frandsens and Cabrerae.
And for the record, this is not an indictment of the Giants' player development system. Since the beginning of 2014, they have produced Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, Kelby Tomlinson, and Ehire Adrianza, which, even if the latter is not especially effective at the major league level, is still a stunning Devil Magickian level of success. It would be unreasonable to expect anything more this year. The minor league people have all done their jobs. Various backs, obliques, and ankles are just out of position. It's no one's fault. It just happens.
If you're wondering if any of the potential call-ups are on the 40-man roster, the answer is no. Someone would have to be removed for them to be added. There are, however, several candidates in the minors. The most likely would seem to be Daniel Carbonell, who somehow did not turn out to be Yasiel Puig but 14 times cheaper and not a dick. Sorry, Daniel. Shoulda been an infielder. And . . . better.
In a lot of ways, the choices for which vet to call up seem pretty much the same. Guys who had minimal major league success, and whose minor league seasons haven't turned out especially well. Most of their numbers, for example, are indistinguishable from those of Ronny Cedeno, who was a River Cat for a few months before the Giants released him, and he signed with a team in the Mexican League. But that makes sense; if they'd been better, then they'd have already been called up one of the several times the Giants needed infield help. The Giants have what they have, and unless they want to play Juan Perez at second again, they'd be well served to pick one.