Long in the tooth? Giants will come calling

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derosa-091228.jpgLast year the San Francisco Giants signed 33-year-old free agent shortstop Edgar Renteria to a two-year, $18.5 million contract, in theory, to boost their offense.

Renteria, whose rapid decline had already been spotted by everyone except this guy, rewarded general manager Brian Sabean with a .250/.307/.328 line that included his fewest homers (5) since 1998, and the Giants boosted their offense by scoring *17 more runs than in 2009.

*I’m going to chalk this up almost entirely to the emergence of Pablo Sandoval. Quibble with me if you must, but don’t anger the Panda.

On Tuesday, the Giants will announce they are signing free agent Mark DeRosa — who soon turns 35 — to a two-year deal that is reportedly worth $12 million. Compared to the Renteria deal, this will be a bargain.

At this point in his career, DeRosa can play anywhere on the field except shortstop, center field and catcher. He’s coming off a career-best 23-homer season, and his career line at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park (.278/.326/.468) isn’t much different from his overall numbers (.275/.343/.424).

But he also struggled last season after injuring his wrist, and while it will help the defense to put DeRosa at third base and move Sandoval to first, DeRosa is not exactly a stellar defensive player. Versatile, yes. Stellar, no. In fact, he comes in at -6.5 in UZR/150 at third base over his career.

Given DeRosa’s age, his declining defense, and his recent injury struggles, I would expect this signing to come off only slightly better than the Renteria inking, in large part because he is cheaper. A good addition? Certainly. But a move to put the Giants over the top? Doubtful.

But that’s OK, there will be plenty of older, fair-to-mediocre free agents on the market entering the 2011 season, so Sabean can once again quench his thirst for the wiley veteran crowd. Lyle Overbay, anyone?

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks.

Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

Jacoby Ellsbury
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press
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We’ve got some potential craziness building in the American League Wild Card race with one day left in the regular season.

After dropping both halves of a doubleheader on Saturday in Baltimore, the Yankees are now just one game up for the first spot — hosting duties. Houston, currently in the second spot, won again Saturday in Arizona behind two Colby Rasmus homers and a very good start from Collin McHugh. Anaheim won Saturday in Arlington, Texas in maybe the wildest game of the year to stay one game back of the ‘Stros.

This also touches the still-undecided American League West, where the Rangers only have a one-game lead on the Astros and will face a fired-up Angels team on Sunday afternoon. By design, the start times for all these games that matter are the same: 3:05 p.m. ET. Only the Cardinals and Braves will play at a different time (due to Saturday’s rainout).

Buckle up, people. Get your popcorn ready. All that.

Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …

Yankees 2, Orioles 1 (Game 1)

Royals 5, Twins 1

Angels 11, Rangers 10

Nationals 3, Mets 1 (Game 1)

Rockies 2, Giants 3

Marlins 7, Phillies 6 (Game 1)

Blue Jays 3, Rays 4

Reds 3, Pirates 1

Yankees 3, Orioles 4 (Game 2)

Red Sox 0, Indians 2

Cubs 1, Brewers 0

Nationals 2, Mets 0 (Game 2)

Marlins 5, Phillies 2 (Game 2)

Astros 6, Diamondbacks 2

Padres 1, Dodgers 2

Athletics 7, Mariners 5 (13 innings)

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.