Andres Torres Out; Some Thoughts on What to Do
According to Andrew Baggarly (and other various reporters), Giants center fielder/leadoff man/offensive stalwart Andres Torres is out for at least ten days after having an appendectomy. Considering that the Giants are currently tied with the San Diego Padres for first place in the National League West with only eighteen games remaining, this is what I’d call a devastating blow.
Torres has been an asset both offensively and defensively. Offensively, he’s provided the Giants with about +11 runs above the average hitter and an additional +7 runs on the basepaths, whilst saving the pitching staff approximately 17 runs with the glove. That’s an invaluable player, especially one on a team that is very much a station-to-station ball club that is below average with Torres (-4) and is infinitely worse without (around -11). Dude hits a lot of doubles, legs out a number of triples, and has hit a surprising amount of home runs. Defensively, he’s a necessity to a pitching staff that is forced to pitch with a water buffalo in Pat Burrell over in left and a human snail in Jose Guillen over in right. With Torres gone, the outfield defense isn’t exactly what I’d call compromised- Rowand is adequate- but we need something better than that to account for the lack of range in the corners.
The question is, what do we do now to help offset the loss? Bruce Bochy appears to think playing Aaron Rowand in center field will work, and I’m okay with that. The other would be to play Rowand and Cody Ross, and to sit Guillen. Guillen’s hit better than both Ross and Rowand this year, but his defense is substantially weaker than those two. Personally, I’d feel more comfortable with Ross in right- or at least taking the majority of the at-bats- than Guillen. I’m of the state of mind that with a relatively weak offense- that’s being carried by Posey, Burrell and Huff- having a plus defender in right with the loss of Torres would be ideal. But I can understand choosing Guillen over Ross, to a certain extent. The one thing that I cannot ever agree with, however, is having Rowand hit leadoff. The guy’s a black hole in the lineup, and the last place you want to put him is in a position that gets a lot of plate appearances. I’d much prefer to have Sanchez hitting leadoff. Or anyone else, for that matter.