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Taking the Belt to Bruce Bochy

Mar 20, 2012, 8:40 PM EDT

Brandon Belt Getty Images

CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly thinks the lineup the Giants used today is the one Bruce Bochy will go with on Opening Day as well. Which should please fans of the other NL West teams.

CF Angel Pagan
LF Melky Cabrera
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
1B Aubrey Huff
RF Nate Schierholtz
2B Ryan Theriot
SS Brandon Crawford

Missing, of course, is Brandon Belt, who has only managed to hit .368 with three homers and four doubles in 38 at-bats in Arizona. Huff has come in at .286 with two homers and no doubles in 28 at-bats. But there was never any real reason to think it’d be a fair fight. Huff is still making big money and will likely get a month or two of regular-season playing time to prove that he’s worth it.

The Giants do have the opportunity to go with both Belt and Huff by playing one of the two, most likely Huff, in the outfield. Such a move would probably do more harm than good, though. While the Giants need to get Belt’s bat in there, it makes a lot more sense to play him over Huff than either Pagan or Schierholtz. Neither of those guys are locks to hit, but they are among the league’s better defenders at their positions.

Giants fans just have to hope that if Huff is a liability in the early going, the team doesn’t wait as long as it did with Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada last year to drop him. If the plan is for Posey to see some time at first base, then Huff would quickly become an unnecessary part. The Giants could use Belt at first base against righties and young Hector Sanchez as their catcher against lefties, with Posey switching between the two positions.

  1. bbscribe - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    For a team with the worst average with hitters in scoring position in thirty years (.173), that sure does not seem like much of an upgrade, does it?

    Like the Padres, the Giants are a team banking on pitching in a pitcher’s ballpark, specializing in 3-2 games. Zzzzzzzzz.

    I don’t blame Bochy, much, though, as he can only work with what he has, and he always favors vets over rooks; thus, Huff gets the early nod over Belt…at least until hurt, or wholly inept.

    As a San Diegan, I say rotsa ruck, Giants.

    • maineskin - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:36 PM

      Dont blame Bochy? Belt is a better all-around player than Huff, period. Belt hit every time he played last year, so SF will end up messing the kids timing up like clubs do when they put them in the pen at the end of a year. NO ONE IS BASEBALL WOULD START HUFF OVER BELT.

      • paperlions - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:02 PM

        This.

        Bochy preferring vets instead of preferring the better player is 12 kinds of counterproductive stupidity and Bochy gets 100% of the blame.

    • mgflolox - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:14 PM

      Hey, I LIKE pitcher’s duels

  2. dyhrdpatsfan - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    I’m I missing something with Nate? What’s the big deal with this guy? Isn’t he a board line 4 th OFer? Please explain?

    • marquisdesadek - Apr 9, 2012 at 7:12 PM

      What’s the hate with Nate? Is it a mensch/schlub thing, like with Schulman? Give the guy the same amount of rope everyone else gets…

  3. xmatt0926x - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    As someone who is not a fan of the Giants, can someone explain to me why this teams ownership insists on wasting the window of opportunity they have with their starting pitching? When you win it once how do you not keep going for it while you can? They seem to draw fans very well. Is ownership just not committed? Is their stadium or tv deal that bad? I know they have a decent overall salary total but don’t you have to go the extra mile when you have your chance? I don’t get it. I can see one year of having a bad offensive roster but how many seasons do you go through the same thing every year?

    • gogigantos - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      Long many have wondered the same thing about the window for this rotation. It has become expensive and will soon be very expensive. That is not news, known for years that this was coming. The chronic inability to build even and average offense is maddening. The relief and bliss of 2010 does not cloud the lack of direction the team continues to take. Trading away Z Wheeler to rent Beltran and then not follow up by signing Beltran seems foolish at best. Hard to know if that is Sabes or the ownership group.

      Sure, the fool contracts may hold them back a bit. Yes, there are a few more payments to make on the stadium. I have to say that some GFans are proud of having contributed however little bit to the private financing of the beautiful ballpark on the water. I wish it was an example for all cities and teams in the future. Probably not, oh well, more public money wasted away.

      There does seem to be a bit of luck looking forward though. MadBum is a major stud going forward. Sooner, more likely later, Belt will stick and the kid Panik (sp?) should hold down second soon along side Crawford’s golden glove at short. The team may actually be shockingly young not too far away. There is a sense that this is fortune, not design on Sabes’ part and will keep the idiot in the GM chair even longer.

      The ownership seems very protective of the bottom line, their prerogative. When the team released Rowand the front man was fired by the ownership group, they do seem quite serious about their pennies. Surely some of the worst contracts don’t fall entirely on Sabes, no matter how I may feel about him. Given the stadium is theirs soon, the fan base and potentially being much younger soonish the team should compete for a long while. Maybe the window stays propped open, or opens anew.

      But, yes, with you fully,,, WTF is wrong this group that hasn’t built properly for this magic window of starting pitching!!!

  4. nogoodtomedead - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Believe me the fan base is saying the same thing. The stadium was independently financed, but the strong attendance since it opened has helped the franchise stay ahead of schedule, and the stadium should be paid of in the next couple years- paid off and owned- meaning its all profit from then on out. They didn’t make nay moves this off-season because we were going to sign Lincecum/Cain to extensions, thats why we wouldn’t pony up for Beltran- who signed a super reasonable deal for their purposes and needs. Now the Cain extension-which was supposed to be a sure thing-seems to have stalled and he seems headed for free agency. I don’t know what they are thinking- you will have to pay him to keep him-its that simple. The Zito contract is clearly throwing things out of whack- and ownership did show some interest in winning by releasing Rowand and Tejada last year- bravo to them for biting the bullet there. However, with the Zito, Rowand, and Huff contracts coming off the next few years they really could have rewarded the fan base (who is all decked out in brand new expensive World Series Champions merchandise) with a spike in payroll for the next few years then gotten back into their preferred budget. As it is, they are running the risk of looking cheap in not paying their stars and pissing off a lot of fans. I guess ownership thinks that one ring is good for another 50 years or so.

  5. APBA Guy - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Time for a Craig rant about Sabean, and for me to point the finger of blame at the owners. Belt has nothing more to prove in the minors and needs his MLB reps now.

    • paperlions - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:01 AM

      If you point the finger anywhere by Sabean, you are pointing in the wrong direction. He is the guy that insists on signing retreads instead of using the farm system and he is the guy that has forfeited a lot of 1st and 2nd rounders by signing those FAs.

      The problem with them winning a WS when they did is that it showed Sabean that it could work; you can get lucky enough for a few vets to catch fire at the same time to score enough runs to support your great pitching…so they will keep doing it.

      • gogigantos - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:12 AM

        It feels like instead of catching lightening once that they could have been built for a good run at a couple or three before this rotation got so expensive.

  6. jwag777 - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    Yikes, pretty weak in the 6-8 spots. Rather see Milky 3rd and Sandoval 5th. Maybe Crawford or Theriot 2nd.

    • paperlions - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:02 AM

      Please explain why you would want one of the worst hitters on the team getting the 2nd most ABs and making outs in front of the 3-5 hitters.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:51 AM

        Because he’s a Dodgers fan?

        (no clue if he is, but it would make sense that way)

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