Position Battle Results

No, the good news about Armando Benitez is not an April Fool's joke. A trade that affects the 25-man roster happened Sunday; legit in veracity and in what the Giants got in return. It is probably not a good idea to make big announcements on April 1 but give the front office a break. Deadlines are still deadlines, and Opening Day is Tuesday. Say hello to your finalized 2007 San Francisco Giants!

The Spot: First Base
The Contenders:
Rich Aurilia (final spring stats): .283 batting average/.457 slugging percentage/.340 on-base percentage, 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 7 SO, 1 SB, 0 CS
Ryan Klesko: .357/.429/.391, 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS
Mark Sweeney: .205/.364/.286, 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 9 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS; Placed on 15-day disabled list
Lance Niekro: .362/.638/.385, 12 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 2 BB, 9 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS

Did well: Rich Aurilia and Ryan Klesko split playing time at first base in the last week of spring training, with Klesko picking up some at-bats as designated hitter in exhibition games in the Bay Area.

Did not do well: Mark Sweeney's poor spring ended on an even worse note. The team placed him on the DL with a foot contusion.

And the winner is: Aurilia was signed to play first base, and that is where he will be on Tuesday afternoon when the Giants open the season against the San Diego Padres. If the team had low expectations for Klesko he raised the bar somewhat. Neither former Padre is a world-beater at the position but it certainly beats the mishmash the ballclub has tried before.

 

The Spot: 5th Starter
The Contenders:
Russ Ortiz: 0-0, 3.00, 18.0 IP, 13 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 3 HR, 0 HBP, 5 BB, 13 SO, 1 WP
Jonathan Sanchez: 0-2, 6.57, 12.1 IP, 19 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 2 HR, 0 HBP, 6 BB, 9 SO, 0 WP
Tim Lincecum: 1-0, 6.43, 7.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 7 SO, 1 WP; Sent to AAA Fresno
Brad Hennessey: 1-1, 8.47, 17.0 IP, 25 H, 17 R, 16 ER, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 7 BB, 9 SO, 2 WP
Kevin Correia: 0-0, 7.71, 11.2 IP, 15 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 3 HR, 0 HBP, 6 BB, 6 SO, 1 SV, 0 WP

Did well: Russ Ortiz did not get a win this spring but everything else looks good for him. Tim Lincecum showed he is not too far away from the San Francisco rotation.

Did not do well: The remainders of this race pretty much took themselves out of contention. Once seen as strengths for the future, Jonathan Sanchez, Brad Hennessey, and Kevin Correia failed to beat out the much improved Ortiz.

And the winner is: Ortiz, far and away. Talk about low expectations; Ortiz is back and better than he has been in years and it was more than enough to make it into the rotation.

 

The Spot: Backing Up Bonds
The Contenders:
Ryan Klesko: .357/.429/.391, 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS
Mark Sweeney: .205/.364/.286, 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 9 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS; Placed on 15-day disabled list
Todd Linden: .353/.482/.421, 15 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 8 BB, 13 SO, 3 SB, 0 CS

Did well: Todd Linden had the most at-bats of any Giant in spring training, even more than Pedro Feliz who racks up plenty of ABs and will be starting at third base. He played every position in the outfield and hit almost everything opposing pitchers threw at him.

And the winner is: Linden will get at-bats in the regular season, beyond the necessity of backing up tired outfielders. The Giants have to put his bat in the lineup.

 

The Spot: Closer
The Contenders:
Armando Benitez: 1-0, 0.96, 9.1 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 12 SO, 0 WP, 1 SV
Brian Wilson: 1-1, 7.71, 11.2 IP, 13 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 7 BB, 7 SO, 0 WP, 1 BS; Sent to AAA Fresno

Did well: That is not a misprint: Armando Benitez did in fact have that killer spring. He had velocity and location working for him and kept the inflammatory comments to a minimum.

Did not do well: Brian Wilson landed in Fresno with a thud after a very poor spring, but Giants brass assure the masses that Wilson will be back in San Francisco.

And the winner is: Benitez reclaimed the role he nearly lost, beating in-house competition and trade rumors.

The Spot: Utility Guys (Up to 3 spots)
The Contenders:
Todd Linden: .353/.482/.421, 15 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 8 BB, 13 SO, 3 SB, 0 CS
Kevin Frandsen: .280/.413/.365, 10 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 9 SO, 1 SB, 2 CS, 5 HBP
Jason Ellison: .390/.475/.478, 14 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 9 BB, 10 SO, 2 SB, 3 CS; Traded to Seattle for minor league pitcher Travis Blackley

Did well: All three players looking to occupy the bench spots had great spring seasons, which made it hard for general manager Brian Sabean to trade Jason Ellison. Kevin Frandsen made Ellison more expendable when he appeared as a backup outfielder toward the end of spring.

And the winners are: Linden is the fourth outfielder and Kevin Frandsen is the all-purpose guy, for use in both the infield and outfield. Both will be invaluable as the regular season progresses.

The Spot: Bullpen Non-Closers (4 Spots)
The Contenders:
Brian Wilson: 1-1, 7.71, 11.2 IP, 13 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 7 BB, 7 SO, 0 WP, 1 BS; Sent to AAA Fresno
Armando Benitez: 1-0, 0.96, 9.1 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 12 SO, 0 WP, 1 SV
Kevin Correia: 0-0, 7.71, 11.2 IP, 15 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 3 HR, 0 HBP, 6 BB, 6 SO, 1 SV, 0 WP
Brad Hennessey: 1-1, 8.47, 17.0 IP, 25 H, 17 R, 16 ER, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 7 BB, 9 SO, 2 WP
Russ Ortiz: 0-0, 3.00, 18.0 IP, 13 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 3 HR, 0 HBP, 5 BB, 13 SO, 1 WP
Jonathan Sanchez: 0-2, 6.57, 12.1 IP, 19 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 2 HR, 0 HBP, 6 BB, 9 SO, 0 WP
Scott Munter: 0-0, 5.59, 9.2 IP, 15 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 5 SO, 1 WP; Sent to AAA Fresno
Jack Taschner: 0-0, 7.00, 9.0 IP, 13 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 11 SO, 0 WP
Sun Woo Kim: 0-3, 7.98, 14.2 IP, 22 H, 13 R, 13 ER, 3 HR, 0 HBP, 6 BB, 9 SO, 0 WP; Assigned to minor league camp

Did not do well: Scott Munter could not make it back to the major league roster since losing his outstanding sinker. Similarly lost is Jack Taschner. The left hander has not been right in a long while. Sun Woo Kim was probably just there to eat innings so starters and bullpen incumbents would not have to. He earned a trip to minor league camp for his efforts.

And the winners are: It is not all bad for Jonathan Sanchez. He failed in the fight for fifth starter but will be the set-up man for Benitez. He is also an option as a stopgap starter should injury or ineptitude cause problems in the rotation. Kevin Correia's role was never clearly defined and here he is again in the bullpen. Hennessey has fallen a long way from the rotation but he has the chance to get it back together as a reliever. Taschner may have made the bullpen by virtue of being left-handed and he makes three lefties the Giants can utilize in the late innings.



Chris has been a Giants fan since her days in utero. She loves baseball and writes about whatever she can get her hands on…even the Athletics. She's a Bay Area gal through and through. This is her 24th season of fandom. Love/hate mail can be sent to seasond_salt@yahoo.com, where the love mail gets top priority and the hate mail gets used for kindling.

The views expressed in the columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the site's publisher, writers, or other staff members. The content on this site may not be redistributed without the expressed consent of SFDugout.com.


Giants Farm Top Stories