Who’s in Left: The “Are We Really Debating This” Edition
Given the lack of controversy surrounding the Giants’ camp personnel-wise this offseason, I understand the need as a sportswriter to drum up a positional battle, really I do. In a recent article, Chris Haft talks with Bruce Bochy about the possibility of a log-jam of sorts on left field. Sure, he’s no less of a competent journalist for trying, and frankly Bruce Bochy indulges him. But left field? Really? Barring any unforeseen disaster, Pat Burrell will be the Opening Day left-fielder, end of story.
Bochy didn’t rule out shifting projected Opening Day center fielder Andres Torres to left. Nor did Bochy dismiss platooning at that position.
“I wouldn’t have any problem platooning if that’s the best way to go,” he said.
I guess platooning wouldn’t be terrible, but Burrell’s held his own against lefties in his career (.250/.349/.465).
“These aren’t going to be easy decisions, believe me,” Bochy said.
It’s actually a pretty easy decision. Go with the guy who hit .252/.348/.469 last season. Keep Brandon Belt at AAA until there’s room for him to play every day. Keep Aubrey Huff at first.
San Francisco’s possibilities for left field consist of…Aubrey Huff, who’d move there only if rookie Brandon Belt sustains a remarkable spring performance to force his way into the lineup at first base; Mark DeRosa, last year’s Opening Day left fielder who has recovered from wrist surgery; and Nate Schierholtz, who has played each of his 1,531 Major League defensive innings in right field.
OK really this seems a bit excessive. Nate Schierholtz? He of the career .270/.314/.399 line? Sure I like Nate as much as the next fan, but he’s right around 7th on the depth chart for an everyday job right now, and that’s only if every other option is irrevocably maimed. Nate Schierholtz is the Secretary of Transportation in terms of proximity to the presidency, with the presidency in this analogy representing left field. On his Baseball Reference page under the “position” category, it says “pinch hitter,” I kid you not. And as for Mark DeRosa? The guy can play every position on the diamond and you’re going to stick him in left field. Not a great idea given that much of his value comes from his distinction as a moderately expensive super-utility man, not an everyday left fielder.
Aaron Rowand will not join the mix.
Surprise of the century there if you ask me. Aaron Rowand has played 1048 game in center field in his career. How many has he played in left? 23. Aaron Rowand will be a center fielder forever and for eternity, and there’s not a whole lot that’s going to change that.
There isn’t much in terms of controversy in Giantsland right now. The result of this is journalists who will do one of three things: micro-analyze the personal lives of any player with something resembling a personality, create a positional battle where one doesn’t exist, or make fun of anyone who chooses either of the first two options. I of course have opted for the third choice. In emailing me about Brian Wilson’s alleged exploits with Charlie Sheen, TMZ has clearly chosen Door #2. Chris Haft has opted for #1 and frankly there’s nothing wrong with that, as it provides me with appropriate fodder for a snarky critique. With Cactus League play fast approaching, there will hopefully be tad bit more to report on in the future. For now I can settle for cherry-picking subjects out of (excuse the pun) left field.