Posted By Jeff Fletcher on June 15, 2011 2:09 pm
Hey guys, it’s been a while. As I explained in that last post that had been sitting atop my blog for the past, oh, three weeks, I’m now the Editor of the Giants and A’s magazines, which doesn’t leave me as much time for blogging. But it does leave some — as I sit here and wait for things to edit — so here are a few things that have been kicking around in my head…
Realignment? Sure, what the hell
I personally don’t see the need for all this realignment talk. I like things the way are. So what if one league has two more teams and the AL West has only four teams, while the NL Central has six? Alas, if it’s going to happen, I am OK with the Astros moving to the AL West. It would create a nice little rivarly between the Astros and Rangers and it would make the trips easier for the three West Coast teams if they do a whole week in Texas.
The main problem, to many folks, of going to 15 teams in each league is that there would have to be at least one interleague series going at all times, which would take away some of the “excitement” over those games. Well, the excitement is gone already. Anyone really jacked up about seeing the Indians in San Francisco or the Marlins in Oakland this month? Yes, interleague games in September may be kinda weird for the pennant races, but there are already inter-division games in September, so what’s the big deal? The Giants hosted the Brewers last September. Is there any difference between that and the Giants-White Sox? Besides, I’ll bet the schedule-makers would be tricky enough to save the September interleague matchups for those that may not impact the pennant races (Royals-Pirates!).
Pat Burrell: On the way out?
When Mike Fontenot comes off the DL, the Giants are going to have an interesting roster decision on their hands. Right now they’ve got two infielders — Manny Burriss and Bill Hall — who can play the outfield. (Not to mention Brandon Belt, who is a few weeks away.) Nate Schierholtz has played great lately, earning more playing time. Even Miguel Tejada, everyone’s favorite punching bag, has hit pretty well lately (and Brandon Crawford hasn’t, in case you didn’t notice). To me, all that adds up to the possibility that Burrell may be the one who is expendable. It’ll be a fascinating decision.
Speaking of Crawford…
The kid can definitely pick it, and he certainly brings some of that youthful exuberance to the lineup, but I think everyone needs to take a look at the numbers before anointing him “the everyday shortstop indefinitely.” His career minor league average is .270, and he’s hit just .250 above Class-A. He’s never played Triple-A. No doubt the Giants are benefiting from his defense, but I don’t think they’ve got enough sock throughout the lineup to carry a guy just because of his glove, even at shortstop.
How bout that bullpen?
One of my main reasons for caution with the Giants heading into 2011 was their bullpen. I didn’t think that they could repeat what they did in 2010, when so many guys had career years. Well, at this point it seems I blew that one. The Giants bullpen has been nothing short of the strength of the team, even better than the rotation. Hey, that sounds like a good topic for a feature in Giants magazine! Check it out in July.
And then there were the A’s
They are having quite a season, aren’t they? As bad as its been, I still think there’s hope for a rebound to respectability because the offense has performed so far below even its own modest expectations. Every single regular player right now has an OPS below his career average. What are the odds of that? Seriously. That’s inconceivable.
In the meantime, look for other teams to start picking at the A’s. Josh Willingham could certainly help a few teams, and the A’s have a lot of relief pitchers who would be attractive.
World Series of Poker time!
There is absolutely nothing in my life that I look forward to more than my annual trip to the World Series of Poker, and it’s coming up this weekend. If you know anything about poker and want to follow along, I’ll be posting updates on twitter. If I win it, then my blog posts are going to become really infrequent.