Things aren’t so peachy for Freddy Sanchez’s various bits and parts these days. Sanchez, as we all know, is still in the process of working his way back from a season ending injury in 2011. Bruce Bochy has said that Sanchez looks “tentative” in the field, and another problem is the fact that Sanchez has been limited to DH’ing duties so far this spring. He hasn’t played a single inning in the field, yet. The Giants are trying to get him into a game this Saturday.
This nugget in a recent post from Andrew Baggarly says it all:
Manager Bruce Bochy said the infield would adjust its alignment, shifting shortstop Brandon Crawford to be the cutoff man on throws not just to left field or center, but also to right-center field.
In that same post, Sanchez acknowledged an unsettling truth – the shoulder is going to be a problem all year long. We’ve written a good bit on Sanchez this offseason, but the subject remains the same: the Giants are ill prepared to piece out playing time at second base.
The options (and their career numbers) …
Mike Fontenot, .332 wOBA, 91 wRC+, 5.0 UZR/150 at 2B
Ryan Theriot, .315 wOBA, 86 wRC+, 6.5 UZR/150 at 2B
Emmanuel Burriss, .276 wOBA, 64 wRC+, 2.6 UZR/150 at 2B
That’s not really a group that’s going to inspire confidence. You can take some back-of-the-napkin numbers to see how dire the Giants’ second base situation could quickly become. An honest, realistic assessment of Sanchez’s playing time this year is, what, around 300 PAs? And that doesn’t take into account the fact that Sanchez’s skills could be reduced because of his injuries.
ZiPS projects the following wOBAs for Sanchez/Fontenot/Theriot/Burriss: .301/.296/.292/.281
It’s hard, when factoring in injuries, to make the argument that Freddy Sanchez is really any better than Mike Fontenot right now. So, maybe calling the Giants “ill prepared” isn’t all that fair. Mike Fontenot could probably provide a pretty good facsimile of Freddy Sanchez at this point in his career. However, I’m not sure if that’s supposed to comfort me. The bad news with Fontenot is that he’s been hampered some this spring by a groin issue, but it shouldn’t be anything major.
In fact, a Fontenot-Theriot platoon at 2B could work well for the Giants. (I’m using “well” in the loosest sense.) Fontenot is a career .328 wOBA batter against righties; Theriot is a career .345 wOBA batter against lefties. It’s not a sexy option, but a Fontenot-Theriot platoon at 2B would be the ideal in-house arrangement if Sanchez has to start the year on the disabled list, or is unable to be a productive player. Both Fontenot and Theriot have their uses. And while neither is particularly a strong player on his own, they do compliment each other in some aspects (BFF stuff goes here).
So, long live Fontenot-Theriot! But I really hope Freddy is healthy enough to be 1) good and 2) not-terrible.