This is post about utility infielders. Specifically, utility the Giants might consider acquiring. No one would click the post if they knew that. So I apologize for spoiling the conclusion of the post. Half-heartedly apologize with all of my heart.
But the Giants are still in need of another utility infielder, as we discussed last week, preferably one who can back up short in a pinch. Considering Matt Duffy and Kelby Tomlinson, the Giants have three players on the projected roster with considerable shortstop experience in the high minors or above, but no one you would want to see starting at short for a week or a month.
There's Ehire Adrianza, who is out of options again, and he's not an unreasonable choice for the last spot on the bench. But even as I was a vocal defender of him against weird sample-size goblins last year, I will admit that he occasionally played like he was being controlled by a metroid that didn't really understand baseball. He's 26, and I can't see the upside being higher than Maicer Izturis or Cliff Pennington, and those are ceilings, not likely comps. So if the Giants want to go with more reliable options, I can't blame them.
If they want to sign a more reliable option, well, that's probably not going to happen. Middle infielders on the market in late January are inherently unreliable. That's why they're still available. But there are still options with some upside.
Castillo has solid bat control, though, and his defense is supposed to be a plus. That's exactly the kind of player who just sort of shows up in spring training and leaves on the team plane in April. It's how the last guy got the job, at least. The Giants might look at a battle between Castillo, Adrianza, Ramiro Pena, Hak-Ju Lee, and Grant Green as the last thing they need to figure out, and they aren't even bothering with outside options.
Seeing the pile of players listed, this might even be the likeliest thing for them to do. That's four minor-league free agents with shortstop experience in the upper minors. It's probably not a coincidence.
Literally hasn't played shortstop since 2010. That's important! I suppose it wouldn't be too much of a mess to put him at third and slide Duffy over to short, but I'm not wild about taking a full-time player out of his element. Even if that was his element until last year.
Although this article about Uribe's speaker-saturated Jeep makes me want him back even more.
Did he even play last year oh god he did no no no.
The Giants have been through this before, of course. Thinking a 38-year-old Bloomquist is probably too much for even them at this point.
Was going to stump for him, then realized he's my age. It hurts my wrists to read a book. Sure, he's a professional athlete who is probably able to walk three flights of stairs without a break, but still, he's 37. It might hurt his wrists to read a book.
He's still just enough dinger-'n'-glove to be worth a win or so if you get lucky, though.
He would be more expensive than any of the above, save Castillo. When you're already planning to go over the luxury tax, that's not a small consideration. Millions is still millions, like the old song that doesn't exist should go.
But he's a switch hitter. And not like Adrianza is a switch-hitter -- he still has a little jolt in his bat. Those FanGraphs projections still see him as a one- or two-win player, even though he was just replacement level last year. He'll be 37, too, which means he isn't trending up, but he's still enough of a defender that an OBP over .300 would make him valuable.
He's from Alameda, one o' them island folk, so the Giants would presumably have a leg up on the teams who would want Rollins for their bench, but not their lineup, which is just about everyone. I'd love to appeal to chemistry, but I'm not sure how he would take to the first bench role of his life. Like, his entire life. Imagine being the best at something for as long as you've been alive, then being told to step aside for the last year or two of your career. It would probably make me surly. Can't say what it will do to Rollins.
Assuming he can settle in, though, he represents the perfect balance between practical in-game bench needs and an oh-no-now-what emergency option for weeks or longer. Barmes would be fine for a game here or there, but one hamstring sproing would make things much more uncomfortable. The same goes for, oh, everyone else listed.
Rollins, though, is just close enough to his last good season to be worth a shot. I'm not sure if he would outhit Adrianza, or if the extra 30 points of OPS over 200 at-bats would make it worth the extra $3 million or whatever, but as a shortstop in a glass case, he's the best one left.
And what's the point of being a fan if you can't clamor for the best, most expensive fix to a possible problem? It's our right, I say. As such, I'm for the Giants figuring out a way to bring Jimmy Rollins back. It shouldn't be a priority, but they should at least make their lap look inviting enough for someone to fall into it.