The final player picks to make the San Francisco Giants' roster out of Spring Training just shifted into sharper focus.
Jayson Stark of ESPN, via MLB Trade Rumors, reported that the San Francisco Giants are openly shopping infielders Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot to potential buyers. Theriot was signed for $1.32m in the off-season and Fontenot was extended to the tune of $1.05m for 2012. The Giants have five days to trade the veteran infielders before the team faces the prospect of having to cut both players in order to save paying 75% of their salaries.
It is no secret that the Philadelphia Phillies' infield situation has dramatically deteriorated with chronic injuries sidelining second baseman Chase Utley, first baseman Ryan Howard and third baseman Placido Polanco. Fontenot and/or Theriot could be valuable placeholders for Philadelphia through the first month of the season as they attempt to sort out, and maybe rebuild, their crumbling infield.
For the Giants, this almost certainly means Emmanuel Burriss and Brad Pill will make the team out of Scottsdale. Pill, who can play at first, third and in the outfield, has a .915 OPS in 18 Spring games and will add right handed pop from the bench. Burriss, who plays short and second, is batting .436 in 17 games and his fielding has markedly improved over last year.
By moving Theriot and Fontenot, the Giants will demonstrate their total commitment to Brandon Crawford as the starting shortstop-- for the first time in over fifteen years, there are no high priced veteran shortstops padding the roster.
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On another note:
As of today, Giants' starting right fielder Nate Schierholtz is batting .216 (8 for 37) in 13 Spring games. In the Friday March 23rd game against Texas, Aubrey Huff started in left field. To date, Brandon Belt is batting .333 after 16 games in the desert.
Let’s hope San Francisco's front office has actually moved on from the absurdity of making Schierholtz the starting right fielder and sending Brandon Belt to Fresno. If Huff is going to produce at the plate, let's find that out by starting him in left field, moving Melky Cabrera to right and playing Belt every day at first base.
As I said in a blog about a month ago: this was never a question about Huff vs. Belt in the line-up. It's always been about Schierholtz vs. Belt. And that's an easy one to answer.