Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Future of Fred Lewis

Anyone who follows the Giants knows that the Achilles Heel for this team is its offense.  While the Giants have amassed perhaps the best pitching staff in MLB for 2010, there is still a large question mark regarding the effectiveness of the team's offense.  General Manager Brian Sabean has made some moves to improve the offense, such as resigning Freddy Sanchez and Benjie Molina, while also bringing in Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa.  The jury is still out on whether this offense will be able to help the ace-staff the Giants have on the mound into the playoffs.  The fact remains, however, that this team needs all the help it can get. 

Let's assume there was a player who had the following career stats: .775 OPS, .420 SLG, .343 wOBA, and a 10.1 BB%.  All things would indicate a player who has the ability to hit for some extra bases, can take a walk, and can get on base more than the average player.  Also assume that this players make fewer errors on average than other players at his position. 

If you thought: "Hey, that player sounds a lot like Fred Lewis", then you are correct.  Because that player is Fred Lewis.  So that sounds good.  Fred Lewis is ready and waiting to get some playing time in with the Giants.  Let's put him on the team, and have him help our way toward making it to the playoffs.

Wait.  What's this?  The Giants have already decided to trade Fred Lewis or remove him from the roster?  'Tis true.  The Giants, for some asinine, reason have decided to get rid of Fred Lewis, and apparently Lewis has been informed of this.  The Giants have indicated that they already have six outfielders (DeRosa, Bowker, Schierholtz, Rowand, Torres, and Velez), including two left-handed hitters, like Lewis (Bowker and Schierholtz).  Thus, they intend of getting rid of Lewis as there is no room.

This is an utterly absurd move.  DeRosa and Rowand, due to their contracts are certainly not going anywhere, so that cannot be helped.  Bowker has proven himself with the bat while Schierholtz seems destined to be a fourth outfielder, due to his defensive prowess but weak bat.  That leaves Torres and Velez.  Neither player can hit well.  At all. Velez and Torres both have below average wOBA and show no promise of improvement.  Velez is probably the more valuable of the two: he can play many positions on the diamond and that versatility is probably what gave him his job on the team.  But do we really need that?  Mark DeRosa can play any position on the field, while Juan Uribe was signed for the purpose of being a utility infielder.  What is the point of holding onto Velez?  Why not send Velez to AAA, move DeRosa to 2B, bench Uribe, and put Lewis in LF?  The Giants' lineup would look much better:

Lewis LF
Renteria SS
Sandoval 3B
Huff 1B
DeRosa 2B
Rowand CF
Bowker RF
Molina C

I would rather see Torres go than Velez, but Bruce Bochey seems intent on having a right-handed outfielder to platoon with John Bowker.  Of course, once Freddy Sanchez returns, the field will look more crowded, but having Lewis on the bench would prove to be far more valuable than having Eugenio Velez on the bench.  The fact that the Giants' front office does not recognize this is utterly mind-boggling.  Whoever's decision this was, whether it was Bochey's, Sabean's, or both deserves to be fired.  This is ridiculous.