In a move that must have brought a mixture of humility and embarrassment for both of the protagonists involved, Brian Sabean released Dave Roberts today.
No one’s going to cry about this, except perhaps the misguided souls who worry about things like the Giants’ budget and how player personnel decisions affect each other financially (why anybody cares about whether the Giants’ investors turn a profit and stick to a budget has always baffled me, and I know I’m not the only one).
Roberts will be paid to pinch run for another team this season, and the Giants will be better for it.
The bright shining ray of hope in this cloud of low slugging percentages and $7M salaries is Sabean was able to convince Bruce Bochy (and himself) that Roberts was simply taking up space. Roberts is no longer needed — if he ever was in the first place — for experience, speed, outfield versatility or a pleasant clubhouse presence. Sabean talked about the move this afternoon with Jon Miller during the Giants’ 4-2 Spring Training loss to the A’s, and mentioned the need to get at-bats for John Bowker, Eugenio Velez and the injured Nate Schierholtz.
The biggest winner in this has to be Velez, who is especially valuable considering his skills (such as they are) at second base. Schierholtz is out of options and was going to be on the 25-man roster with or without Roberts (although any back pain requiring an MRI is more than a tad worrisome), but Velez has the speed of a centerfielder (of course, so does Aaron Rowand, so that may be faulty logic), the arm of an upper-end rightfielder and as we saw last year, a predisposition for accruing game-winning RBI.
Another winner in this deal: the BASG. My Velez-love is almost Randolphian, and I know from interviewing Schierholtz that he’s easy to root for, and his mom is a veritable baseball expert, someone who on numerous occasions I’ve found myself talking ball with for a half hour.
The Giants also announced that they optioned two relievers to Triple-A, Keiichi Yabu and Rule 5 draftee Luis Perdomo. I’m guessing if Roberts finds himself on somebody’s Triple-A squad to start the season we’ll see him on ESPN or the MLB Network as a talking head. Just look for the guy who looks like Fernando Vina, but actually has a personality. Nobody’s saying Roberts isn’t a good dude, just the worst non-Zito signing in Giants history.