Bengie Molina is back. At first I was shocked, and it was a mixture of “Uggh, I thought we were rid of him” and “Wow, the Giants have a lot more guys capable of hitting 20 homers in a season than they have in a while.”
We’ve all gotten so caught up in the allure of 1-year contracts that any one you throw out there sounds great. “Oh sure, we’re paying Randy Johnson $8 million when he’ll be lucky to make it out of spring training without suffering a herniated coccyx, but it’s only for a year!”
So when you hear that Brian Sabean waited out Bengie Molina long enough to snag him for only one year, at less than he was seeking for two years from the Mets, it’s tempting to think this was a day to celebrate.
It’s tempting to believe that a team full of players that either faded or downright broke down near the end of the 2009 season will somehow collectively recover and turn the clock back to when they were 29 — in the era of drug testing.
Tempting, but extremely naive.
“The Giants Way” was supposed to be about team speed and building from within, but it is what it always has been during the Sabean Regime: the same old gamers clogging up the basepaths.
They say the Giants don’t give young players a chance, but that’s wrong. Pitchers get hustled up here as if they’re a half gallon of half and half from a shady liquor store, ready to expire in 12-to-24 hours. But position players, perish the thought! It’s as if Sabean is 0 for 10 in terms of position players he drafted succeeding in the Big Leagues, and he wants to keep his record perfect. It’s enough to make one wonder why the philosophical turnaround with Sandoval. Is he really 32?
Sure, it’s a 1-year contract, and supposedly it’s from found money that Adam LaRoche turned down. But that’s money which could have been spent in many more valuable ways, like, I don’t know, a congratulatory arbitration-themed gravity bong for Tim Lincecum Kiko Calero. If the Giants want us to believe it’s in their best interest to spend their “budget” wisely, shouldn’t they feel the same?
Familiarity isn’t always the best trait in a baseball team. Oh, except for Rich Aurilia last year. That was awesome. I can’t even get up anymore without checking MLB Rumors and Jon Heyman’s twitter page to see if the Giants brought Jeff Kent out of retirement.
The difficult part of this Molina signing is it’s yet another example of the Giants seeming hellbent on recapturing glory days that never even existed. Do the Giants remember what last year consisted of from Bengie, or are they blinded by the 20 home runs?
Don’t answer that.
Bengie was a little pill last year. He’s never afraid to go all Jan Brady on everyone if he feels slighted, even though he’s a below average defensive catcher who can’t do two things a starting catcher should be able to do, at minimum: catch pitches above his shoulders and keep from throwing tantrums.
You know who can do both of those things, run faster than a 13.5 forty and get on base more often than Bengie while wearing the 3-D glasses they give you at Avatar? Buster Posey. But no, he isn’t strong enough to handle a full season, right after turning 23! That’s not the age where people grow up, it’s not until they’re 33 and have gone through a few knee ligaments and around 84,000 airplane sandwiches.
So, the Giants are yet again a split personality team. Maybe a Rowand-Sanchez-Sandoval-Huff-DeRosa-Molina-Renteria-Schierholtz/Bowker lineup really is a lot better than last year’s group. Or maybe all of us new media kids were right in that the two things we most looked forward to when it came to watching the 2010 Giants come up to the plate were the Panda and the Posey.
Bengie Molina is back with the Giants, and Sabean’s probably knee-deep in a bottle of Bullitt right now celebrating. Oh well, let’s just hope he doesn’t insult Tim Lincecum tomorrow with some thinly-veiled insult at the Molina press conference. We can handle a tantrum from Bengie. Not Timmy.