Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a hilarious — though painful for Giants’ fans — takedown of the Bengie Molina signing that’s definitely worth a read. But it’s something that he says after the phony press conference that I think gets at the basic problem with the signing:
I’m actually fine with the idea that Posey should be eased into the
starting job; he’s young, and catching is a heckuva strain on the body.
If Posey was really worn down after the Hawaiian League, spring
training, the minors for a full season, sitting on the bench in the
majors, and the Arizona Fall League, maybe it’s not a bad idea to let
him ease into the job.
Driving the Giants’ desire to bring in Molina — or some other veteran catcher — was their belief, based on Buster Posey’s less-than-thrilling performance in the Arizona Fall League, that Posey wasn’t ready to start. But as Grant notes, that stretch came after a long year for the guy. He caught a ton of games once you figure in the winter league in which he played. He had to have been gassed by the time he got to Arizona.
I find it troubling that the Giants would put that much on their young catcher’s odometer in the first instance — let the kid rest his knees for cryin’ out loud — but I find it more troubling that, in making the decision that Posey isn’t ready for a starting job in the majors, they’re giving his performance at the end of that marathon greater weight than what he accomplished when he was fresher last summer.
Maybe it doesn’t matter if the Giants have no chance this year. In such an instance saving your catcher for the future may not be a bad thing at all. But the Giants do have a chance. They have excellent pitching, the Dodgers are likely going to slide back, and the division could be San Francisco’s for the taking.
But they’re going to start Bengie Molina every day, and will likely have him hitting way higher in the lineup than he has any right to be. It’s that kind of thing that costs teams playoff spots.
After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.
In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.
The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.
“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”
Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.359/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.