Angel Villalona

LaRoche would actually make the Giants halfway decent

It looks like Adam LaRoche will be in the orange and black. Of course, whether it’s the Giants or the Orioles is anyone’s guess. Reports are that LaRoche turned down an offer of 2 years/$17 million from the Giants, and no other team besides those two odd bedfellows are even halfway interested (LaRoche’s agent must be thrilled). While the duration of the Giants’ offer is the definition of sane, the dollar amount is quite startling — especially if you consider that many feel like LaRoche is hardly an upgrade over an IshiGarko platoon. I don’t think that’s actually true, but there are metrics you can pull that’ll bear that comparison out.

Since the only other team supposedly in the LaRoche “sweepstakes” is Baltimore, unless Adam is more stat-conscious than Corey Maggette it’s probably just a matter of time until the Giants make him their third slightly-better-than-middle-of-the-road free agent pickup in the past month after Mark “Wait, I’m going to have to play left?” DeRosa and Juan “Angel Villalona should have hired my lawyers” Uribe.

Baggs is reporting that there’s no way Edgar Renteria becomes a bench guy (bummer, no matter what Bochy says about Renteria’s elbow surgery making him a different player) and Uribe remains in play as the full-time 3rd baseman. Oh, and Aaron Rowand might hit leadoff again (nope, not a joke — check the Baggs article if you don’t believe me). And if the Giants sign LaRoche, they’re telling us something that should make quite a few Giants fans happy (although I’m not necessarily one of them): Eugenio Velez will not be entrusted with a starting outfield job in 2010.

(One other thing a LaRoche addition could very well mean: Pablo Sandoval, almost-full-time catcher, something that looks more likely by the day. It would mean sacrificing Sandoval’s long term health for the short term benefit of the Giants’ heretofore impotent lineup. Um, I’m in?)

Now everyone who’s read this blog during the baseball season knows I’m a bit of a cynic regarding the Grand Ol’ Game. No other sport has the competitive inequities of baseball, or worse announcing during the playoffs (on TV). But if the Giants sign LaRoche, they’ve done pretty much as well as can be expected for a team that had absolutely no intention of going after the off-season’s top two hitters (and for good reason, as Jason Bay’s in the declining phase of his career and Matt Holliday followed up a .330 season by deciding it was a good idea to get hitting advice from Mark McGwire). It’s an off-season win for the Giants in my book. A win comparable to the Niners’ last two wins of the season against the Lions and Rams, but a win nonetheless.

And don’t give me any Brad Penny nonsense. Penny’s a fraud –  his scorching hot performance in September was a full-on money grab. He never wanted to pitch for the Giants, but after he got shelled in Boston for 2/3 of a season he hardly had a choice. If the Giants gave Penny $7 million per year he probably would have been injured by St. Patty’s Day (an injury directly related to that holiday, in all probability).

If I can go ahead and predict a LaRoche signing (and I’m pretty sure I can), the Giants have a lineup and roster that should look like this:

1. Rowand – CF

2. Sanchez – 2B

3. Sandoval – C

4. LaRoche – 1B

5. Uribe – 3B

6. DeRosa – LF

7. Renteria – SS

8. Schierholtz – RF

SP: Timmy/Cainer/Sanchy/Moonbeam/Maddy

RP: Wilson/Affeldt/Romo/Medders/Merkin/Joaquin/Runzler/Calero(?)

Bench: Ishikawa/Posey/Velez/Torres (or Lewis)

They aren’t going to scare the crap out of anyone, but this definitely seems like an improvement over the 2009 squad. Agree? Disagree? Still confused as to which LaRoche everyone’s referring to? Comments section is below…

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