If only the Giants could play the Marlins everyday.
If only they could score runs for Matt Cain.
If only the phrase “Young hitting prospect” existed in the everday vernacular for fans of this team.
The list goes on but for now the Giants find themeslves in a honest-to-goodness 4-game winning streak. With today’s 6-5 win over the Fish, the Giants are on a roll. Noah Lowry pitched well enough to not lose but he was denied his 14th win when he couldn’t get out of the 6th inning after the Marlins tied the game three a piece. This is pleasing to me because Lowry’s ERA still remains a attractive 3.34, good for 9th best among NL starters. GM’s are you listening? Look at that shiny ERA! And he’s young! And left handed! You need this guy, you want this guy.
A large part of the victory came at the expense of the young Marlins’ defense which allowed several errors to let the Giants back in the game. Rajai Davis’ 2-error bunt that turned into a little league triple broke the game open for the Giants. Hennessey worked himself out of another stressful 9th inning, getting his 12th save and our old friend Armando Benitez struck out the side in his lone inning of work.
How’s Benitez doing you ask? His ERA is still over 5 at 5.01. He gave up a loud double to Klesko that was too low to leave the park.
Ortmeier had a solid game as the starting LF, going 2-4 with a triple and 1 RBI. Over at McCovey Chronicles they are currently debating whether or not Ort is going to sustain his big league success this year in which he’s hitting (.274/.303/.548). For his minor league career he’s only OPS’d .800+ once and it was in 2005. In ’05 he had a very nice year in the Eastern League hitting (.274/.360/.463) with 20 HR’s and 23 2B’s. This may not look outstanding but the EL has a reputation for being tough on hitters.
Personally, I like Ort’s swing. And he’s shown nice opposite field power this year. He’s athletic, is a switch hitter, and can play all three OF positions. He’s not a tank on the base paths either. The nimble Ort swiped 100 bases in his minor league career. The only thing working against him is that the Giants are full of 4th/5th OF types and finding him a place to play might be hard in ’08. I don’t think he’ll hit enough to play 1B full time so at best it only adds to his flexibility.
The 2008 Giants’ OF, barring any trades, should look something like this:
LF – Nate Schierholtz
CF – Dave Roberts / Rajai Davis
RF – Randy Winn
Davis makes the most sense to be a platoon-mate for Roberts. His strength against LHP and Roberts’ deficiency against them is a good reason for their pairing. He should also be the most qualified to play CF at Mays Field. That configuration leaves only one spot open for a 5th OF. Fred Lewis and Dan Ortmeier will both be up for that final spot. A plan could be to bring Ort onto the roster as a backup 1B who could also play OF, but I’m not sure the Ortmeier first basemen experiment will succeed and will he hit well enough to play 1B?
As noted in the previous post, the FA market isn’t the place to shop for talent next year. First base options are a bunch of old guys with injury concerns. If 1B Mike Sweeney would take a low priced 1 year deal, based on performance incentives, would the Giants be stupid to give him a shot? Sweeney hasn’t been healthy in 2 years now but he could provide a Frank Thomas-like scenario. Thomas had two injury plagued seasons like Sweeney and then came back on a incentive laden deal with Oakland to OPS+ 141 for the Athletics. If Sweeney could get healthy, and come cheap, he might be able to provide some sort of value to the Giants.
Some fans would cry foul with the addition of a Mike Sweeney during a rebuild but truth be told, the Giants don’t have anyone in the minors that could play 1B in 2008. I’m not sure bringing back Klesko is the right answer. Klesko has been a little better than league average this year (OPS+ 106) but would he come back on another 1 year deal? I definitely wouldn’t want to sign him for more than 1 year.
If anything will be apparent this offseason, it’s going to be what Brian Sabean is made of because he’s got a hike of Mount Everest proportions to climb.
Comment Starter: How to fill 1B in ’08?