Should the Giants Change How They Handle Alfonzo?

With many fans calling for his head, what's the right way to handle the slumping slugger? The Giants should stay the course.

Alfonzo has been scorned by many Giants fans and who can blame them? He is not even hitting close to what we hoped for when the Giants signed him. He would have to hit like Barry Bonds did last year for the rest of the season for his stats to approximate what his career averages are for batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. His year has been a great disappointment. About the only consolation that Giants fans have right now is that the player the Giants would have gotten instead of Alfonzo, David Bell, had he signed with us, is doing even worse than Alfonzo.

Many fans have called for Alfonzo to be benched or at least not play so often. But the reality of this situation is that we have Alfonzo and he is signed to a 4-year contract (4 years!). That's about $23 million worth of total sucking over the next 3.5 years if he doesn't get out of this slump. That's a Giant hole in the budget for the next 3.5 years.

I don't agree with these fans, I think the Giants are handling him about as best as they can. He is a proven major league hitter with a lifetime BA about .300 and OBP about .400. Yes, he is stinking up the place totally right now but did I mention that he has another 3.5 years on his contract worth about $23 million?

Here are your options:

1. He stinks, he sits (what some fans are yelling for)
2. Trade for another 3B (what a few fans have called for)
3. Just play him period, what better alternatives are there (what Alou was doing until lately)
4. Play him regularly but give him periodic rests/benchings when he gets a couple of or three 0h-fers in a row (what Alou has been doing lately)

I believe the truism that you can't get out of a hitting slump sitting on the bench for extended periods. We simply need him to start hitting again else we have four years of this (hello Fernando Tatis!). Trading for another 3B would further undermine his confidence. Do you really want to see $23M sit on the bench? He would be Benard squared!

In addition, his replacements right now are no great shakes either. As well as Feliz has done so far, the only difference between Feliz this year and past years is that he is hitting more homers, finally. Else his BA/OBP is still subpar. Plus he has only really hit well when replacing Bonds in the field. At 3B, he is the same old, same old Feliz. And do you really want to bat Neifi instead of Alfonzo? Don't even go there, even with Neifi's batting rebirth.

I think 4. is the way to go. He gets regular starts this way to play his way out of his slump but he gets periodic "reminders" that he will sit if he doesn't hit. Fortunately, so far the Giants have not needed his offense. But with the injuries in the pitching staff piling up, the Giants will need his offense in a big way. We need the Edgardo Alfonzo who hit .300 with an on-base percentage of nearly .400 and slugging of .400-.450 when playing regularly and not injured if the Giants are to go deep into the playoffs and reach the World Series again. There is just no other way to go.



Martin Lee writes 'A Biased Giant's Fan's View' for SFDugout.com when the mood and muse strikes him. He will believe to his dying days that Bobby Bonds was robbed of being the first 40-40 player. E-mail him at GoGiants_25@yahoo.com and maybe he'll reply back.

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