Brian Sabean

OK Sabes, which old outfielder will it be?

Now that the Giants have added Juan Uribe and Mark DeRosa to Bruce Bochy’s Swiss Army infield, where the only thing that doesn’t change from day to day is the sight of Edgar Renteria reminding all of us that we’re all going to see a day when we get old and our range sinks far below the league average.

Now, besides the whole Kiko Calero idea, it looks like the Giants have two choices based on how their current economic proclivities. Sign a serviceable (read: mediocre) veteran catcher, or an established (read: old) outfielder.

If you’ve checked out the list of available free agent catchers, you know it’s pretty depressing. Not because it’s slim pickings and they all want multiyear deals, but because any guy reading this knows they should have spent all their time learning how to play catcher as a child. Forget teaching my hypothetical son to throw left-handed, if I ever have a boy I’m going to buy him shin guards and force him to get into the squat at age 2, stand about 20 feet away and constantly hurl tennis balls to him in the dirt. Then he not only would have a Major League job as an adult until at least the age of 34, he’d be able to manage most big league teams after he retired.

Anyway, the Giants aren’t going there. They’ll roll with the 2-man combination of Eli Whiteside and Buster Posey, with a dash of Panda. That is, unless Yorvit Torrealba or Rod Barajas get real cheap — like the salary of a mid-level CEO, not a CEO of a Fortune 100 company. The Giants would be smart to stand pat, especially since Whiteside’s as good defensively as anyone available and Posey doesn’t have much to prove in the Minor Leagues unless the Giants want him in Fresno so he can play all 9 positions in the same game for a fun little promotion or something.

So, that leaves us with old outfielders. Why? Because unless opposing GMs are completely unaware that Kevin Pucetas and Joe Martinez aren’t Major League caliber starting pitchers, Sabez blew his wad last year when he dealt Scott Barnes and (uggh) Tim Alderson for the supposed saviors of last year’s destitute offense.

Sabean’s been kicking Scott Podsednik’s tires so much this off-season that he’s already lost another step and a half (little known fact: Sabes’ feet are actually cinder blocks). Plus, he has all of 226 extra base hits in 3,168 career at-bats; I think we all saw how effective a slap-hitting 25-30 SB guy was in right field last season. Jermaine Dye seems almost too obvious if you’ve observed Sabean throughout the years (of course, so did Mark DeRosa).

That leaves us with…Gary Sheffield, who satisfies all five major requirements for a trademark Sabean move:

1. His prime was back when people used to say things like, “You are the weakest link…Goodbye,” and think that drinking three Sobes a day was healthy.

2. He’s a National League guy. Well, he’s National League enough.

3. He has a lot of hits against the Giants, or at least enough at-bats so that Sabean is familiar with him.

4. He’s close enough to a major milestone and some minor ones, with 2,689 hits and several chances to jump ahead of guys on the career home runs list. He’s only 2 behind Mel Ott and 12 behind Willie McCovey, who’d probably be forced to take part in some on-field thing for Sheff if he signed to play at Mays Field and tied/passed him. That sound you heard was Larry Baer shrieking with excitement at the ceremonial possibilities.

5. He’s been a major hated rival for years (like Orel Hershiser and Randy Johnson), so this is just another way to confuse the fanbase and make them question their faith in baseball before they say, “Aw hell with it, at least we still haven’t signed Russell Martin…yet.”

So that settles it. A 41-year-old starting left fielder to finally fill the shoes of his former training partner. It’s a move that will be followed by Fred Lewis and John Bowker getting released and subsequently signing with the Red Sox and Angels, respectively, with both playing major roles in the 2010 Playoffs, and Nate Schierholtz getting treated for clinical depression after losing his starting job to Eugenio Velez. All of which will cause McCovey Chronicles to spontaneously combust, with the only survivors being the Little Giants.

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