Thursday, March 17, 2011

What you risk when you send Brandon Belt to Fresno

I'm writing this from my iPhone, so when you find the first error, know that and move on.


I asked a question to myself today, and "fired it through the Internet," as Ron Gardenhire would say. I used Twitter, the preferred method of the times. My question: Are Brian Sabean's recent comments -- Brandon Belt might be ready, and he's opened up some eyes this spring -- obligatory, or are they sincere? Which is to ask, is he simply saying this so we all don't grumble that, when he does send him to Triple-A, he's done so to delay his seemingly inevitable date with arbitration, or, is he actually contemplating placing Belt at first on Opening Day at Chavez Ravine?

A fellow blogger, the Crazy Crabbers, wondered what the harm would be in being cautious:

I don't see there being a huge downside for waiting but there is in bringing him up too soon. What is wrong with [a] cautious approach?

It could be that there's no harm at all. Or, it could be disastrous. Here's why: If, when you leave a talented player in the minor leagues, you're not putting the best team you can on the field, you're playing a dangerous game. There's something to be said for putting your best team on the field, you know, because that's what wins you the most baseball games. The Giants played this game last year, gambled, and won. They "preferred" Bengie Molina to Buster Posey on Opening Day, and for the first couple of months. Then, when Posey was good and "ready," they brought him to San Francisco. There's little doubt that he helped the Giants win more games than Molina would have. There's little doubt they won fewer when Molina was starting every day in April and May.

What if the Padres don't lose 11 games in a row? What if, the Giants lost Sunday, October 3, 2010, and again on Monday. What if they then lose to the Braves? Well, because hindsight is 20/20: the Giants don't just miss the playoffs, they lose a World Series championship. They lose a parade of one million people rejoicing in the splendor of the first championship in San Francisco Giants history. They lose an awful lot.

I'm not saying Belt is ready or that he gives them the best chance to win. That's for Sabean and his minions to decide. But if he is, and they send him to Fresno, it's a crying shame. You might gain another year of Belt and save some money, but you potentially lose Who Knows What. that's the harm: The unknown.

The Giants aren't such favorites that a few wins shouldn't matter. A few wins might decide the division. Plus, wasn't it refreshing when Jason Heyward made the Opening Day roster of the Braves last year? I sure thought so. Something tells me the Braves' brass was also refreshed when Heyward helped propel his team to the first round of the playoffs. And finally, I'm not the least bit convinced a great deal of harm can be done by bringing a player up to soon, and having him experience a bit of failure. Show me the study that says it'll ruin a young hitter, and we can talk.


I'm now boarding to Scottsdale. Finally.


  1. Have you read the Niekro, Linden, Ortmeier, Bowker study?

  2. Also: different players, completely.

  3. Have a good time in Scottsdale, consider me Green with envy.

  4. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports today that Belt is "too good" to send to the minors. I agree. Bite the bullet on Rowand and let BB start opening day. The Giants' schedule in April is brutal, so we need to field the best team to avoid playing catchup again.

  5. I wouldn't go around using Rosenthal as my go-to guy in terms of baseball operations, but in this case I agree. What's more, your point about their rough schedule is absolutely valid, and I hadn't thought of it myself. Well said.