Last night, Brian Sabean commenced with his annual attempts to add infielders at the deadline by acquiring Marco Scutaro from the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies will include some cash to offset his contract and will get second base prospect Charlie Culberson in return. Those of you that read my MLB.com prospect series will recognize Culberson. If you didn’t get a chance to check out that edition, you can find it here.
I’ve made no bones about the fact that I am not Brian Sabean’s biggest fan. He is one of the old guard of general managers that tends to make moves more from the gut than from the head. Sometimes that works out in his favor as the Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera moves did. More often than not they don’t work out in his favor. There has been a revolving door at second base since Jeff Kent left in free agency following the 2002 season. Marco Scutaro is only the latest player to be given an opportunity.
The good news is that Scutaro gives the Giants more flexibility. He can play every infield position and that could come in handy while Pablo Sandoval recovers from his hamstring injury. Still, the primary thought was to improve their lot at second base where Ryan Theriot has been holding down the fort and shortstop where Brandon Crawford has been playing regularly. Take a look at the neutralized numbers for the three players. In order to make this fun we will list them as Players A, B, and C.
- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .AVG/OBP/SLG. . . . .WAR
- Player A. . . . . . . . . . …295/.344/.348. . . ..0.3
- Player B. . . . . . . . . . ..261/.314/.349. . . . . .0.1
- Player C. . . . . . . . . . ..250/.307/.360. . . . .1.4
If you guessed that Scutaro was Player B then you guessed right. When you look at this current numbers you have to remember that half of his games come a mile above sea level. He has a sub .600 OPS on the road which means he likely won’t be of much value to the Giants. The Giants will be better off keeping Theriot (Player A) and Crawford (Player B) as the regulars at second and short respectively.
It’s not that Scutaro has no value whatsoever. Someone that can play slightly above replacement level at three different positions has some value, but it’s not a great deal of value and it certainly isn’t enough to justify trading Culberson. Kevin Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus) rated Charlie Culberson as the Giants 11th best prospect before the season. Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com ranked him 8th among second basemen, but did not put him in his top 20 with the Giants.
Either way, that is way too much to surrender for someone that will probably be best cast as a bench player. Last season, Sabean acquired Jeff Keppinger (a comparable player) for two prospects that didn’t rate in his top 20 on anyone’s list. Obviously, it looks like Sabean didn’t do his homework and so now he has an infield of an injured Pablo Sandoval and a crop of mediocre middle infielders.