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.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.