Persons who’ve paid close attention to the New York Mets in 2009 (and somehow managed not to poke their own eyes out) might be surprised to learn there’s another club in the National League even more offensively challenged. Well, 4 clubs actually, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll consider an actual post-season contender. Occasional Kung Fu Panda-heroics aside, San Francisco have scored just 598 runs this season, good enough to be ranked 26th out of all MLB teams. Despite this scant run support for a stellar pitching staff, the Giants enter play today 3.5 games behind the Rockies, but with a keen eye on the punchless lineup, the San Francisco Examiner’s Glenn Dickey (above) would like to hold the architect, General Manager Brian Sabean, fully accountable. “Bringing back veterans who are on their last legs is Sabean’s pattern…he should be fired because he™s put together an unbalanced team that won™t make the playoffs this year or next.”
In center field, Aaron Rowand got a five-year contract for $60 million before last season, apparently on the basis of his 2007 year in Philadelphia, where he hit .309 with 27 home runs while playing in a powerful lineup and with half a season in the Phillies™ bandbox park. In almost two full seasons in San Francisco, he™s hit the same number of home runs combined. Last year, he hit .271. This year, he™s hitting .265. And the Giants are stuck with him for another three seasons.
In 2005, Randy Winn (above) came to the Giants from the Mariners and had the best half-season of his career, probably because he had switched leagues and the pitchers didn™t know him. Sabean signed him to a contract extension that was high enough to make him untradeable. Winn has been a solid outfielder and good hitter without the power you expect from a corner outfielder. He™s regressed seriously this year, so the Giants can finally lose that contract.
The middle of the infield is another problem. Sabean jumped at Edgar Renteria and signed him to a two-year contract at $18.5 million. A scouting report in midseason noted that Renteria was the worst starting shortstop in the league at going to his left, and he isn™t any better going to his right. He™s lost bat speed, too. A lifetime .290 hitter who hit .332 as recently as two years ago, he™s hitting just .250. He™s probably a year from retirement but he™ll take advantage of Sabean™s generosity next season.