Sabean's Eleven

It's a mystery. Somehow GM Brian Sabean thinks this pitching staff can get by with only eleven pitcher, a man short compared to the average staff. What is he thinking?

I wish I could be witty about it, but I can't be.

I have no clue what Sabean is doing. Not even the most extreme and unusual explanations short of certain agents having revealing photos of our esteemed general manager can explain this.

We all know the pitching staff has been the main culprit in the team's troubles the past month and change. Particularly the bullpen. This much is plainly simple. Even people who aren't watching the games daily know it.

And yet, the Giants continue to keep their pitching staff a man short. It's been a man short since the trading deadline. They replaced Felix Rodriguez with Ricky Ledee, and ever since kept the staff short, whether it was keeping the rotation short, or keeping the bullpen short staffed. It's so short, the recently ran starter Brett Tomko out as a reliever instead of just having him do his normal throwing on the side. If that isn't admitting your team's problems, I don't know what is.

But the only thing more astounding than this decision to keep an 11 man pitching staff is the player who's taking up that roster spot. Cody Ransom.

Nothing against Ransom as a person. I'm sure he's a nice guy, and he works his butt off. But frankly, this is ridiculous.

He's a shortstop and second baseman when the team's current depth chart has 3 other players who can play at either position. Ransom's offensive production is putrid. His .162 batting average is the lowest on the team amongst position players except for newcomer Ledee, who hasn't gotten a hit yet in 14 tries. Even Kirk Rueter has a higher batting average. Not that he's been getting any opportunities. Since the beginning of July, he's gotten exactly 9 at bats. In comparison during that time, the bullpen pitchers have collectively gotten 4 at bats!

And then there's Ransom's defensive contribution, which on Tuesday included missing a ground ball that should've fetched one out, probably two, that could've ended an inning that later contributed 3 runs that gave Pittsburgh a lead going into the last inning.

Surely, a pinch runner isn't this valuable. A pinch runner is only good when one's team is close when it's late. Right now, the Giants bullpen is keeping things from ever being that way.

I can't think of a single explanation as to why Sabean is keeping Ransom on the roster. He's not contributing to this year's team. And I can't really see why we would care if anyone picked him up on waivers if the team attempted to move him back down to Fresno. And I can't imagine that the Giants are counting on him in 2005. If he's there, well, sure, give him a shot, but the Giants can't really be so desperate for him to be on next year's roster to have him hurting this year's team, both directly and indirectly, so badly.

I just don't get it. And until the Giants can bring themselves to do something about this issue, they're going to be stuck with Sabean's Eleven on the staff, and knowing that no lead they have will ever be safe, even against the worst teams in the league.

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