The Giants could use a little ’09 Panda right now

Aug. 10, 2010 - San Francisco, California, United States of America - August 8, 2010: San Francisco Giants IF Pablo Sandoval.

For all intents and purposes, Mike Fontenot was a great late-season pickup by the Giants’ GM Brian Sabean. He can play multiple infield positions, he can hit right-handed pitching and I swear that his hair is made of hay. (I don’t know how that helps the Giants, but it just does, ok?)

But he’s also Mike Fontenot. Mike, .280 with zero pop Fontenot. He’s fine. He’s meh. He’s Mike Fontenot.

As the Giants gear up for Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night against the Phillies, the plan is pretty simple: Pitch well, score just enough runs to eek out four wins and then head to the World Series. It doesn’t take a blogger at The Scores Report to figure out that San Fran will rely on its pitching staff in order to lift them into the Fall Classic.

But this club could sure use a little dash of the Panda right now. And not that still-lovable, yet very destructive creature that roamed AT&T Park throughout most of this season, but the very effective swing-at-everything-and-yet-still-hit-.330 beast from 2009.

Compared to the season he had last year, Pablo Sandoval was the equivalent of having a rock in your shoe this season. He batted .268 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI (despite hitting .330 with 25 dingers and 90 RBI in ’09), yet showed flashes in April and August that made you still think he was the same hitter from a year ago. Whether it was his weight, his divorce, or the fact that he may or may not have sent lewd text messages to Jenn Sterger, he didn’t perform.

But Giants fans know what kind of talent this 24-year-old kid has. He’s a pure hitter in every sense of the word and when he’s on, he’s a much heavier clone of Vladimir Guerrero. I once saw Sandoval swing at a pitch that bounced before it came across the plate and he still lined it into the outfield. He can it – he just hasn’t been.

In the last 25 regular season games, he batted just .214 with one home run. He was benched after Game 2 of the NLDS and it remains to be seen whether or not it’ll be him or Fontenot who starts tomorrow night in Philadelphia. Given San Fran’s opponent in the NLCS, it would be nice if Sandoval could show a glimpse of the hitter he was last year because again, Fontenot is Fontenot. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the former Cub gets the best of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

Yet something tells me that Sandoval can still be a weapon in the Giants’ fickle lineup and I’m willing to bet that they would overlook his shaky defense if he could re-establish himself as an offensive force. But if he continues to flail at pitches in the dirt, over his head and in the on deck circle, then “meh” will have to do.

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Giants’ Sabean throws all logic out the window, acquires Jose Guillen

April 12, 2010: Kansas City Royals' Jose Guillen (6) during the MLB baseball game between the Kansas City Royals vs Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.

Jose Guillen can’t play defense, can’t get on base and he can’t hit for average.

So naturally Giants’ GM Brian Sabean had to have him.

On Friday, the Giants acquired the 34-year-old former Royal, who is well known for having a poor clubhouse reputation. That’s something the close-nit Giants don’t need right now heading into a huge weekend series with the first place Padres (the team the Giants are trailing by 2.5 games in the NL West).

Clearly hypnotized by his 16 homers this season, Sabean felt the need to add the outfielder despite the fact that Guillen is more useless than a chair with only two legs. Plus, his acquisition means that Aaron Rowand, Travis Ishikawa (assuming Aubrey Huff moves back to first base) and Nate Schierholtz will receive less playing time than they already are, which is befuddling when you consider that Guillen isn’t a better option than any of them.

If I punch myself in the side of the head enough times and squint hard enough, I might see the need for Guillen as a pinch hitter. But there’s no way that the Giants actually believe this schmuck is a starter. Do you know how much ground there is to cover in right field at AT&T Park? Guillen would be an absolute train wreck and for what? A couple of home runs down the stretch? I thought that’s what Pat Burrell was for? Didn’t Sabean already acquire Pat Burrell already? I’m confused.

The worst part is, Sabean traded away two capable outfielders earlier this season in Fred Lewis and John Bower – two homegrown players that were better defensively than Guillen and who came with zero baggage. How does trading Lewis and Bowker and trading for Guillen make any sense? Tell me what the difference is between those players, or how Guillen makes the Giants better than Lewis and Bowker? And what happens to Schierholtz? The kid entered spring training as the favorite to start in right field and after a poor couple of weeks at the plate, he became Lewis’d, Bowker’d and Kevin Frandsen’d in the blink of an eye. If I were a Giants’ farm player, I’d want to be dealt immediately because Sabean will eventually block my position with a crusty old vet. It’s only a matter of time.

Sabean doesn’t have the slightest clue what it takes to build an offense. For every Burrell, Huff and Juan Uribe, there’s a Rowand, Edgar Renteria and Mark DeRosa (who clearly wasn’t healthy when Sabean decided to hand him a two-year deal this past offseason). For every Bengie Molina trade, there’s a Guillen, Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez deal right around the corner.

I’ve never see a man make so many stupid decisions and yet retain his job for 14 years. If Brian Sabean were the President of the United States, half the nation would be underwater right now.

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