Brian Sabean

NL ROY Tracker … speed kills

So what’s the deal with Edgar Renteria, anyway? With Mark DeRosa, it’s easy to explain. The inside of his wrist looks like Chef Boyardee, the surgery didn’t work, he can’t do baseball tasks like swing a bat or flick stale chewing tobacco out from his lower lip with his index finger.

Renteria is much harder to explain. He plays a little, collects a 3-hit game or two, then he’s nowhere to be seen. Last year, it was the elbow thing. (Once again, great medical research, Giants!) This year it’s been the groin, the elbow, the larynx, the sphincter, turf toe, restless legs syndrome, vertigo, mononucleosis, indigestion and scabies. OK, the only ones I think I remember are the groin and elbow, but who has time to keep track of these things?

So when people get tired of Pablo Sandoval (which they should), and complain about Juan Uribe’s play at shortstop (which you could, but even so you’d have to admit he’s a pretty damned rangy 240-lb shortstop), which leads to wondering aloud why Renteria isn’t playing instead, it leads to one question. Why does anybody trust this guy?

Is he baseball’s Rasheed Wallace, a guy who’ll sit on his name-value contract, spend the entire regular season taking up space, and suddenly start every game of the postseason at an extremely demanding position and hit .350 with 4 homers? Probably not. Do you know how many times Renteria has started and played a full game at shortstop the day after starting at shortstop? 36. You know how many times the Giants have played games on consecutive days? 134.

Every guy the Giants have signed to a multi-year deal who’s over 30 can be called a horrible signing. But Renteria’s may be the worst because you have no idea what to expect. Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand may provide less than half the value of what their making (or in Rowand’s case, 10%), but at least they’re available. Freddy Sanchez isn’t a revelation at $8M per year, but he’s helping the team. DeRosa’s money was wasted, obviously, but at least he isn’t wasting time (or a roster spot) hopping in and out of the lineup. Renteria’s a lineup tease with a list of injuries so long that instead of waiting for him to get healthy, people just assume he’s OK and wonder why he isn’t playing because they’re tired of paying attention. Which is weird. Anyway, onto the NL Rookie of the Year Tracker!!!

Jason Heyward

Current stats: .285/.400/.472, 18 HR, 10 SB, 3.1 UZR/150, 4.6 WAR and guardian angel Skip Carey sitting on his shoulder

Last night: 0-for-3, K, SB … and that’s one advantage Heyward has, the whole speed part of the “tools” collection. As silly as it is, most people won’t notice that Heyward has been thrown out 6 of the 16 times he attempted to steal a base (a 62.5% success rate, which isn’t Matt Kemp-level bad, but it isn’t that great either). The voters will think, “Hey, this guy’s got double-digit stolen bases, while Posey’s 0-for-2 with a running style that doesn’t remind me of a gazelle bounding across the Serengeti.”

Oh yeah, the Braves lost, leaving them a half-game ahead of the Giants in the wild card race.

Trending: Up

Chances of winning NL ROY: 53%

Buster Posey

Current stats:.321/.369/.516, 15 HR, 0 SB(!), 21/58 CS, 3.9 WAR

Last night: 0-for-4 with 3 K’s, threw out Kosuke Fukudome at second base on an attempted steal (note: Posey’s thrown out 36.2% of attempted base-stealers, 10th in MLB among players who’ve caught at least 50 games). The Giants lost 2-0, leaving them out of the playoff race. And if one of these guys makes the playoffs with the other getting left out, that’s probably going to have a much larger effect on the voting than it should. Just warnin’ ya.

Trending: Flat

Chances of winning NL ROY: 47%

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