Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Giants Prospects For 2004, as seen on Dec. 30th. by Ed Stern

Marty; good to have you back. Glenn Dickey wrote a few weeks ago that “Giants have dealt themselves into corner”. Some of his observations are well taken; others are open to dispute. Open to no dispute is his reference to the Giants pitching problems and their, impossible to justify, giving up of Ortiz, a 22 game winner and Ainsworth for the dubious privilege of having the services of Moss and Ponson for a few months. Sabean, and particularly management which thought it was a good idea to give up Ortiz in order to save a few bucks, have much to answer for.

The Giants won 100 games last year and left the rest of the division far back in the pack. If they can come up with at least one respectable starter, if their closer situation doesn’t become a disaster zone, they should do as well as they did last year. However, Dickey says that the team now faces a “serious power shortage”.

In support of that contention, he points to the loss of Cruz, Aurillia and Santiago. These three don’t bring to mind Mays, McCovey and Cepeda. One finds great difficulty in locating the power these three abysmal hitters provided. Cruz was an absolute disaster for the better part of the year, Aurillia had his career year in 2001 and hasn’t been a productive hitter since then, and Santiago is way over the hill, as both a catcher and a hitter.

Not only has Aurillia deteriorated as a hitter but his fielding has always left much to be desired. Teams considering him today are talking about playing him at third and one even mentioned playing him at second. When informed of these attitudes Aurillia was quoted as saying,” Am I really that bad?” The answer is “yes”.

It is true that the team could use a right fielder who can hit meaningfully behind Bonds. However, the team last year started with an outfield which had as their 4th and 5th player Bernard and Rivera. One outdid the other in futility. For much of the time they played with the three starting outfielders and Feliz, an infielder, their fourth fielder, and, it should be kept in mind, the third player in the outfield was Cruz, who couldn’t buy a hit for most of the year.

They have added Pierzinski, a move Dickey rightfully describes as “great”. In addition, Alfonzo should play as well as he did the last half of the year, including post season. He was feeling his way the first half of the season. Their outfield is much stronger with the addition of Hammonds, Tucker and Mohr. It is a better team than last year’s if the pitching comes around and we are still to hear from Sabean on that score. Not the least of the improvement will come from the defense, notwithstanding the loss of Cruz as a fielder.

The shortstop position will be fielded far better than it was with Aurillia. Snow has been retained, a wise move. He can hit well in the 2nd slot and still fields better than almost any other player at first.

Arizona and LA have been weakened. The division is the Giants to lose and it is unlikely that they will.


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