Brandon Belt

Giants and Miguel Tejada finally find each other

They made eyes like shy high schoolers in the library for years. The Giants and Miguel Tejada. It made too much sense not to happen. Not baseball sense, but considering what the Giants look for in a middle infielder it’s surprising that it took this long. But tonight, the Giants finally sunk their claws into Tejada, signing him for a year at $6.5 million.

He’s older than Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria. But like Uribe, he’s an ebullient clubhouse presence who should become the new leader of the team’s Latin contingent (although this line of reasoning sort of makes baseball clubhouses sound eerily similar to prisons). And most importantly, he generally plays every day (unlike Renteria) and didn’t get a multi-year offer (like Uribe).

The worry as the off-season marches on is that the Giants aren’t actually improving their team. Of course they want to get something about of Mark DeRosa, but two invasive wrist surgeries in one’s mid-30’s rarely leads to breakout offensive seasons while playing multiple positions. And Pablo Sandoval crushed the ball before becoming Danny Devito. But do the Giants really plan on defending their title with their two main acquisitions being a healthy DeRosa and a skinny (relatively speaking) Panda?

While neither Emmanuel Burriss nor Brandon Crawford are anywhere near the same class as Buster Posey, today’s Tejada deal has a little bit of a Bengie Molina scent to it, though. (OK, bad mental image.) While Dylan Hernandez wrote that the Giants offered to match the Dodgers’ offer to Uribe, I think their hope was they could save a little long-term money at the position and either Burriss or Crawford could take over sooner rather than later, perhaps as early as the second half of the 2011 season. After all, Tejada’s probably more of a 3B at this point of his career anyway.

Is the plan to trade a pitcher or two and Sandoval (when his value’s at its lowest) for a SS, and keep DeRosa in LF full-time? I doubt it. DeRosa can’t be counted on to play every day (if at all) and for all the Giants accomplished last year, they’ve definitely shown that defensive range in the infield isn’t a huge concern.

There’s still a while to go before this team’s set. Maybe they’ll surprise me and give Brandon Belt a shot if he performs well in Spring Training. Perhaps another Pat Burrell will fall into their laps this June. Maybe they’ll throw Zito money at Carl Crawford (sorry, I can’t stop myself). The best news so far is they haven’t traded Jonathan Sanchez for some Jason Bartlett/J.J. Hardy type. As long as the rotation stays unchanged, the Giants are still favorites to make the playoffs.

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