The San Francisco Giants are sinking like a rock in the NL west, looking like anything but defending World Series champions. Last night’s 10-6 home loss to the Mets dropped the G-men back into last place with a record of 40-49.
Earlier in the day the Giants acquired OF Jeff Francoeur to a to try to bolster their roster.
The problems have been everywhere, starting pitching, the bullpen, hitting and the defense all taking turns in being the culprit for the mounting losses. And recently, the all-time leader in damaging teams’ hopes has played a major role as well: injuries.
The Giants’ outfield situation hasn’t been good at all this year, with RF Hunter Pence being the only solid option for the duration of the season. CF and LF have been a mess. Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres have seen the bulk of the duty in those positions, while a series of AAA players have auditioned for the LF spot before being sent back down.
Francoeur was let go by the Royals after posting a line of .208/.249/.322. That’s not what the Giants are looking for. But recent history shows that some of the fliers that the Giants take pan out pretty well.
Just last season, the Dodgers acquired Hanley Ramirez to join a club that had already been in first place most of the season. The Giants countered with utilityman Marco Scutaro. Callers to the Giants’ pre and post game shows were angry. Livid. Ramirez was a stud being jettisoned by the salary-shedding Marlins while Scutaro checked in with a solid but unspectacular .271/.324/.361 line for the Rockies.
Then the Dodgers sank while Scutaro batted .316/.368/.405 for the Giants to help lead them to the post season.
It wasn’t the first time in recent years that the Giants had turned spare parts into important pieces of a title run. OF Pat Burrell was on the scrap heap in 2010 and OF Cody Ross was claimed off waivers that same year as the Giants won their first World Series since 1954.
They don’t all work out for Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy, of course. They’ve also reeled in some failures like Miguel Tejada, Orlando Cabrera, Ryan Garko and Shea Hillenbrand. But what harm is there in seeing if Francoeur can come to life like Burrell, Ross, Scutaro and RHP Ryan Vogelsong after donning (or re-donning, in Vogelsong’s case) the orange and black? Francouer’s in the last year of a 2yr/$13.5M contract. If he solidifies the LF position with some offense and better defense than the disaster that Torres has been providing, it’s a win for San Francisco. If not, they’re in last place without him, it certainly isn’t going to sink them any lower in the division.