Saturday, February 21, 2009

Andy Marte and the case of the missing Third Baseman

In what has become the longest Hot Stove season in history, more headlines are appearing now with links to those who have been linked to the third base in San Francisco.

First off, the Cleveland Indians have designated for assignment (DFA), former super prospect, Andy Marte. His name has surfaced the past 2 off seasons as a possible target of the Giants. The other.....I still don't believe what i'm writing, but Joe Crede has signed with the Twins.

Let's start with Crede, since he's been the hot topic. I haven't found the official press release yet from the Twins so I shall withhold my excitement until I see official proof, but for now, the leaked info shall do. The Twins inked him for $2.5 million guareteed and $4.5 million in incentives...way below the $11 mil total he was looking for...still about $3 million more than what he is worth this season...but what to I care, HE IS NOT A GIANT!!!

As for Marte, the Giants need to jump all over this kid. He is the perfect ball player to take a flyer on. I'm not saying we should expect him to come in here and be the starting third baseman, nor do I expect him to make the team. No, for other reasons...back to the basics of reasons. ANDY MARTE IS A YOUNG 3B WITH POTENTIAL...and he fills a glaring need...

What is the Giants single biggest weakness, outside of the obvious fact that they have no real, proven 3, 4, or 5 hitters...Ok, so that is huge...but still, organizationally, the Giants largest problem is having someone who can play 3B. Look at the depth chart:

Pablo Sandoval- ok, so we are praying for this to work out, but does the word praying instill much confidence. Sandoval is a converted catcher to third, who was originally a converted catcher from third. So really what we have is a guy who the Giants thought not enough of at his natural position, so they immediately converted him to a position of need, then hit the jackpot in the 2008 draft their at the same time they realized this kid can mash and can't really play catcher liked they hoped...So why not try him back at third because of the rest listed below...

Richie Aurilia- alright, we all know richie isn't the 3B of the future but he may be a stop gap of '09. More likely, he'll see most of the time at 1B if he makes the team.

Juan Uribe- cut loose by the White Sox because he just isn't that good, Uribe can play a decent third, decent when you compare him to last years starter, Jose Castillo, but then so could I. Uribe is not a long term solution, but makes a decent backup to the left side of the infield. In 600 AB's, he might give us 25 homeruns, but strike out a league record # of times (no joke either) and bat around .220. He makes for the perfect type of player Bruce Bochy falls in love with and forgets about the kids, so I don't like him on the roster.

Jesus Guzman- a nice steal this off season from the A's, Jesus would make for the perfect situation if he can make the final leap to the bigs...moving Pablo to first... Jesus is only 24, yet is already in his third organization. He has hit really well at A and AA but struggled some last season at AAA. His Power is just coming into play now, so we don't really know what we have yet, but he hit 25 and 17 homeruns the last 2 seasons combined as well as 13 homeruns in the venezuela winter league this year. His defense has never been spectacular, actually more like suspect. He is a long shot to make the roster. The guy has a ton of potential but there is a reason teams have let him get away. This is like the praying for Sandoval, with Guzman, we are hoping he can have a breakout year. Again, I don't put much faith in the word hoping.

Ryan Rohlinger- at 25, Rohlinger made his debut last season out of neccesity, not merit. He had been in the minors only two seasons and played in A ball only. He had hit 18 homeruns in 2007, so he might have some power, but he has too short a sample and at too low in the minors to have confidence in what we might have. In his 32 AB's with the big club, all he showed is he is not ready. He looked lost both at the plate and in the field, and was subsiquently sent back down to AA for seasoning, where he performed nicely posting a line of .296/.358/.497/.855 and 6 homeruns in 44 games. He should start the season off in AA and if he can post numbers like that again this season, maybe the Giants have something for the future, for now though, we can only hope.

Conor Gillaspie- how in the world did this guy make the major league roster last season. One word, contract. Gillaspie was drafted in the second round in 2008, yes, last season. Somehow, he fanagled a spot on the 25 man roster last September, without ever playing a minor league game. Out of college, he was argueably a top 15 draft pick and some had him higher, as well as possibly the best 3B in the draft...then draft day didn't go as planned and the Giants landed him in the second round. Now, he is the most widely recognized player as the heir apparent to third base someday, yet his major league service time has already started. At 21 now, he should hit hit free agency barring the Giants from locking him up around about 26 or 27 years old. He projects as a good defensive third baseman, yet offensively, he is supposed to be a Billy Mueller type...you all remember him right. Hit's for average, no power. Damn, no power. In his Arizona Fall League, Gillaspie had, well, no power. So, here is a guy where the countdown has begun,but realistically, he is not supposed to be that middle of the lineup, third baseman that every team invisions having. He is not David Wright, no Ryan Zimmerman, not Chipper Jones. It wouldn't be an issue if the Giants can manage to secure even the faintest bit of power by the time Gillaspie is ready, which, concievably could be by the beginning of next season if projections pan out. As for now, he may be our best bet but it is way to early to tell. With him, I find myself praying again, praying he develops the ability to hit the ball far...

Thats it. No more serious third base candidates in the Giants organization. So, this is why I think they should take a chance on Andy Marte...

Andy Marte- only 25 himself, once considered a super prospect of the Cleveland Indians. Obviously, he hasn't panned out. But at 25, he isn't washed up. Josh Hamiltion took a while, given under very different circumstances. But still, why not. The guy has some power, yet isn't hitting for much average. .250-.260 BA in AAA. Not threatening.Maybe he needs a change. Maybe new coaches, or a new atmosphere. Who knows, but he would be cheap, a minor league deal and spring invite. If he doesn'tmake the team, he probably slips through the system and stays in Fresno. Maybe he succeeds there and can come up later. At the most, he is going to cost the Giants a minor leaguer in a trade, and not one we are worried about making a difference here at anytime. Maybe Brian Bocock for his 40 man roster spot. I don't know, but what I do know is this. We have a lot of words like maybe, praying, and hope here. None of them mean definate, none of them are comforting. But the more wehave, the better chance we have one pans out.

What good does it do us if Pablo can't play third, Jesus is no more than a AAA star, Conor takes 3 more minor league seasons, Ryan stalls out at AA, Richie gets hurt, and we are staring down the gun barrel of 200+ strikeouts by Juan...oh Juan...does anyone else think Sabean thought he signed the late great Jose Uribe when we inked Juan...sorry, different soapbox, back on topic...

What good does it do us when, or if, that happens and Andy Marte is thriving in say, anyone of the other 29 teams systems or worse yet, on their big club.

Now, Andy could just as easily be just another prospect who missed with the Giants too, but, wouldn't it be better to have one more option?

1 comment:

Lou Seal said...

Andy Marte is useless he would just take at-bats away from Guzman and Rohlinger in AAA