On Brad Penny, Jim Thome, and Buster Posey

September 1, 2009 at 11:05 pm | Posted in Giants | 5 Comments
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If you’re not the Yankees, you have to go for it when you get a chance. Right when your young players ripen, before you have to open the bank. For the Giants, that time is now. The signing of Brad Penny is nice, but they could and should have done more, including bringing up Buster Posey.

The Giants came in second-place with the Penny signing, whose a bit worse than  John Garland, signed by the Dodgers, but who should out-pitch the Rockies pickup, Jose Contreras.

Penny speaks his mind

Penny up: Went 16-4 in 2007 with a 3.03 ERA. Hates the Dodgers.
Penny down: 6-9 and 7-8 in 2008 and 2009, and has had problems in the clubhouse

Garland up: Won 60 games the previous four seasons and went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two postseason starts for the White Sox in 2005.  He pitched 7 innings of shutout ball his last time out.
Garland down: 8-11, 4.29 this year.

Contreras up: Helped WhiteSox win a world series in ’05
Contreras down: Hasn’t had an ERA under 4.27 since that ’05 season, around 5.5 this year.

Penny chose SF because of the spaciousness of AT&T Park and what that might do to his ERA and chances for a new contract. He also may want to stick it to the Dodgers, given the bad blood before he left there a couple of years ago. As reported in the 3-Dot Lounge, Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa had this to say about Penny:

Bowa dissed Penny

“You mean the same guy who was never on time, out of shape and has one complete game? He has more stuff to worry about than me. He has to worry about getting people out. He was never on time, never helped the kids out. You go right down the line, everybody who was on the DL watched the games. But not him. He was out of there. Put that on the f—ing dot-com.”

Don’t be surprised if Penny pitches extra hard against his former team. Or makes an errant pick-off move to third.

Bench Additions

The Dodgers signed future hall-of-famer Jim Thome, who has hit 23 homers in just 345 at-bats this year. GM Coletti and Thome were both careful not to ruffle the feathers of youngster James Loney, saying Thome will only play first in an emergency. Me thinks, however, that James Loney’s .274 average and paltry 9 homers might just be that “emergency”. Even if he can’t play first, Thome and Juan Pierre still form a devestating one-two punch off the bench.

The Giants responded by activating Rich Aurelia. Bringing up Buster Posey would have been a far superior move.  He’s hitting .328 with 18 hr and 62 walks in his 422 minor league at-bats this year. I know, I’ve heard the old baseball adage about bringing a kid along slowly so he doesn’t get his feelings hurt. But Posey is 22, not 19, and he’s had success at every level, including three years of all-world college play.

The most important consideration is the position Posey plays. Molina is hurting and also happens to be the slowest major leaguer ever. Whiteside is playing great defense but can’t hit. A third catcher would be huge late in games, and the Giants happen to have one that, um, almost won the triple crown of college baseball!

Sabean, why don’t you call the kid and ask him if he’d like to take the chance? See if  if he’s worried about being scarred for life if he strikes out a few times. I’ll tell you this– if we need some big hits late in the season or in the playoffs, I’ll take my chances with Posey over Aureilia any day of the week.

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