Brandon Belt

Second place Giants need to get younger (fast)

While driving to Santa Cruz with my wife on Wednesday, she asked if the San Francisco Giants might be playing as terribly as they have lately on purpose. Why would a team that was (at the time) in first place in the NL West possibly do this? So they could place waiver claims ahead of the Diamondbacks, she said. While she was smiling when she offered up the idea, I still explained why I didn’t think that was a very rational or likely strategy for a contending team to utilize.

However, her theory made me happy for a couple of reasons. First, when we first started dating, Dave Roberts was starting in center. The Giants and the waiver wire weren’t exactly regular topics of conversation during drives to places like Santa Cruz back in 2007. Second, it was funny to imagine the Giants grounding into double plays on purpose in hopes they could be the first to claim Hikeki Matsui.

Those two sources of happiness were the only baseball-related positives I experienced on Wednesday. Okay, that and the fact that I wasn’t around a television to see the Giants’ 9-2 loss to the Pirates, which was the baseball equivalent of a 4-day-old sandwich from Subway. Lots of negatives to focus on if you so choose, such as Jonathan Sanchez fighting himself and losing … badly. Now the Giants are in second place because the D-Backs were lucky enough to face the Astros while the Giants were stuck playing the mighty Pir… oh, never mind.

But the worst news of the day could lead to a little excitement for the Giants, provided they make the right roster moves. Carlos Beltran’s hand/wrist/whatever still isn’t getting any better, and Nate Schierholtz hurt his hip flexor scoring a run on Tuesday night. It’s too early to tell now, but both players could be DL-bound.

Now we know Miguel Tejada probably isn’t hurt in the slightest, but Mark DeRosa has his spot. Even Brian Sabean wouldn’t field a roster in 2011 featuring DeRosa, Tejada and Orlando Cabrera, right? Right? RIGHT? Another veteran, Pat Burrell, is in North Carolina seeking a second opinion on his injured foot and sounds nowhere near returning.

Free Brandon Belt and…

If either Schierholtz or Beltran hit the DL, the Giants absolutely must call up Brandon Belt. If both roster spots become available, the Giants should bring up Belt and … Gary Brown.

We all know why Belt’s time as a Grizzly should end, but what about Brown? Isn’t he too young, too inexperienced, too … young?

Some say the Giants need offense (okay, everybody says that). Some say the Giants need fire (because they’re cavemen?). If offense means a lively bat and some speed, and fire means attitude, swagger and a little jackassery, Brown’s the guy you want. And what are you going to lose by bringing him up, besides giving Brown, 22, a head start in terms of service time? From all reports he’s quite impressed with himself, so if he flames out with the big club he gets a (supposed) much-needed dose of humility. If he’s decent, then the Giants might actually have a dynamic lineup from time to time and Sabean won’t be (as) tempted to offer a free agent contract to Beltran after the season for the gritty, gamerish way he gutted through his grueling wrist boo-boo in September.

Brown’s stats (San Jose): 518 PA, .316/.385/.468, 9 HR, 44 SB, 18 HBP

Hmmmm, a confident player with speed and a little power who doesn’t mind turning his shoulder into a pitch. Kind of sounds a little like Chase Utley, just with a little less power and a little more speed. Of course, Utley played two full seasons in Triple-A, but his season as a 22-year-old in A+ ball came with a .257/.324/.422 slash line and only 12 HBP. Utley was so weak back then.

I know this won’t happen in 2011. You know this won’t happen in 2011. But the movement’s already starting. #FreeBrandonBelt has been a hashtag for quite some time now; maybe it’s time for something like #UnleashGaryBrown. Or #DownForBrown. Tell the Giants that desperate times call for desperate measures, and brash outfielders straight out of college aren’t just for September callups anymore.

Oh, and Beltran and Schierholtz — get well soon.

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