According to MLBTradeRumors.com, the San Francisco Giants have invited thirty-eight year old right handed starting pitcher Ramon Ortiz to Spring Training under a minor league contract agreement. This appears to be the 2012 version of the team's now traditional purchase of "5th starter insurance", a longstanding Giants ritual much like the annual round-up of available veteran shortstops 35 years or older.
Ramon Ortiz you ask? Giant fans and their family members who pride themselves in holding unrelenting hatred in their hearts will remember Ortiz as the Angels' starter who beat San Francisco in Game 3 of the 2002 World Series on October 22nd at Pacific Bell Park. Which started at 5:34PM PST.
Ramon Ortiz is the kind of pitcher who became a "journeyman" the day he threw his first pitch as a Major Leaguer. He has a 86-84 lifetime record with a 4.93 ERA, and his best year was that infamous 2002 season when he went 15-9 3.77ERA/1.178WHIP for the then Anaheim Angels. The downside that year for Ortiz was the forty (yes, 40) home runs he gave up to American League hitters.
Ortiz will provide several services for the Giants-- first, as starter insurance if Barry Zito completly tanks in Spring Training or during the first two months of the season. Ortiz can come up and comfortably put up a .400 win/loss line and eat up numerous innings, giving the Giants time to figure out what the hell they really want to do for a 5th starter.
In addition, the day he steps on the field at Scottsdale Ortiz will also deliver a full five-fingered energy goose to Barry Zito. Zito is a fierce competitor and the Giants no doubt hope the sight of Ortiz lurking around the Gatorade dispenser throughout Spring Training, just waiting for Zito to mess up, will be the incentive Barry needs to properly focus and maybe win some games from the 5th spot in the rotation.
Welcome Ramon Ortiz. Enjoy your new Giants uniform shirt with the words "Todd Wellemeyer" crossed out on the back, and if Barry Zito offers you any of his home-made organic 12 grain wheat sprouted cookies, just pass.