RF up for grabs; long look for Posey; new pact for Cain?

Friday, March 26
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Don’t assume that Nate Schierholtz will be the Giants’ Opening Day right fielder.

Schierholtz was virtually handed the right-field job before Spring Training began, but his pedestrian offense and John Bowker’s torrid hitting prompted the Giants’ braintrust to rethink matters.

Schierholtz is a superior defender who has proven capable of handling AT&T Park’s tricky acreage in right field. But he’s batting .234 with a .280 on-base percentage and 12 strikeouts in 47 at-bats this spring. By contrast, Bowker began Friday tied for the Major League lead with 18 RBIs — due largely to his seven-RBI outburst Wednesday against Kansas City — and is hitting .298 with a .596 slugging percentage and a team-high four home runs.

Bowker also has been strikeout-prone, with 11 in 57 at-bats.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean confirmed that Schierholtz had slipped from his all-but-certain starting perch.

“He’s struggled to the point where you have to pay due respect to the other guys who are going well, including Bowker,” Sabean said Friday.

The Giants’ other reserve outfield candidates are Fred Lewis, who’s batting .222 but has a .528 slugging percentage; Andres Torres, who’s hitting .289 with a .418 on-base percentage and a .578 slugging percentage; and Eugenio Velez, a .298 hitter.<p/>

Referring to the preponderance of qualified outfielders, Sabean said, “Maybe our bigger challenge is how many infielders we keep over outfielders.” He cited left fielder Mark DeRosa, who can play every infield spot, and Velez, who made his first Cactus League appearance at second base Friday and booted a grounder for an error, as “dual-position guys” who can provide flexibility.

*****

Sabean also said that the Giants will keep Buster Posey with them through the conclusion of the exhibition season — though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the organization’s top prospect will make the Opening Day roster.

Reading between the lines of what Sabean said, it seems — <i>seems</i> — that Posey will begin the season with Triple-A Fresno. If that’s the case, Posey probably will join the Giants at the first sign of trouble.

“We’ll keep him to the end,” Sabean said. “I don’t know that the actual decision will need to go to the end. I think, internally, we know what we’re going to do, but obviously we’re going to hold that close to the vest because it’s subject to change and you never know what might happen.”

With the Giants trailing, 3-2, in Friday’s eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels, Posey hit a windblown ground-rule double that tied the score and lifted his average to .415 with nine RBIs. He has a .442 on-base percentage and a .585 slugging percentage. Manager Bruce Bochy said that there are no plans to try Posey at any position other than catcher and first base.

*****

Friday ended with no official announcement regarding the reported contract extensions for relievers Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt. This prompted speculation that the Giants are engineering an extension for a third player.

A likely suspect is right-hander Matt Cain, whose ridiculously affordable $6.25 club option for 2011 surely will be picked up by the Giants barring a disaster. It would behoove the Giants to reach an agreement with Cain. Otherwise, they’d enter the 2011-12 offseason facing the burden of negotiating with both Cain and Tim Lincecum, whose two-year deal will have expired.

– Chris Haft

8 Comments

I like what barrybondsbarrybonds said. I love Bowker and Schierholtz.

if we could play DeRosa at SS and bench Renteria, then bowker AND schierholtz could play the OF. i think they are both good enough and they both deserve some consistent playing time to exhibition their skills during the regular season!

get renteria OUT of the starting lineup now!

GO GIANTS!

So exactly what are the options in right field?
Can Bowker play right field?
Has Bochy tried Posey there?

In my mind, Posey and Bowker have been impressive. I know there’s a baseball guild pecking order in these things, and it sounds like Posey will be sent until they work through whoever it is they don’t will make it, then they’ll bring Posey up. I say, to hell with that, whoever it is is doing a bad enough job already and so needs to be replaced now.

Schierholtz has done nothing to widen his dimensions. He plays good defense and when streaking can hit .300, He doesn’t walk, will hit doubles but not homeruns, and will swing at pitches that hit him..So I would put Posey or Bowker in right field, and shoot for a .500 slugging % from one of those two, or a .850 OPS.

There are 2 free agent veteran major league power hitting outfielders available to the Giants to sign. Gary Sheffield and Jermaine Dye. And they don’t have to give up anybody. Are they talking to them? Why aren’t they signing at least one of them. I look at the Giants lineup and it is very weak. The Giants are crazy not to sign one of these guys if not both of them!

Too bad Schierholtz has not taken hold of the great opportunity that was basically handed him, what happened to all those AB’s and work in winter ball? Since he is not ready, I also think that they should work Posey in right field, anything to keep his bat around, because they still lack offense. The projected outfield of DeRosa, Rowand, and Schierholtz sure does not scare anyone from an offensive standpoint.

Buster Olney says in his column today that the reason why no trades are being talked about among GM’s right now is because there are still some good players available on the free agent market. I bet if Gary Sheffield or Jermaine Dye walked into the Giants clubhouse today there would be a huge boost in confidence among all the Giants players. The only reason I can think of why this hasn’t happened is because of money. Sheff and Dye want to get paid for what they are worth. They’re smart, they’ve been around, they know what’s going on.

Sheffield or Dye? Are you kidding? There’s reasons why they’re not on anyone’s rosters. Signing one of them would deny one of the youngsters a roster spot, and potential opportunity. There are plenty of good options with the players we have…let’s see who emerges.

Yes, you could play the youngsters if you don’t want to win. They strike out way too much and their obp is terrible. They are older minor leaguerers. There’s a reason why they haven’t stepped up to the next level. In order to win it’s obvious the Giants need offense. They should go out and buy some. The NL West is an easy division to win. They have a chance with their pitching but they are going to lose again if they let Velez, Bowker, Schierholtz take up spaces in their lineup. I don’t care about watching Triple AAA players.

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