Giants' emphasis on running the bases overdue; Don't expect Tejada in Oakland 

click to enlarge Angel Pagan is expected to provide a spark atop the lineup and on the base paths for the Giants this season. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images file photo
  • Angel Pagan is expected to provide a spark atop the lineup and on the base paths for the Giants this season.

Issue: Running wild?

Analysis: The Giants, buoyed by the arrival of outfielders Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, are placing an emphasis on aggressive baserunning this spring.

The thinking apparently goes like this: Pagan and Cabrera, along with the relative youth and speed of projected starting shortstop Brandon Crawford, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, right fielder Nate Schierholtz, first base candidate Brandon Belt, catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Freddy Sanchez, will at the very least allow the Giants to put more pressure on opposing defenses.

It would be a dramatic shift for what’s been a plodding, station-to-station squad dating all the way back to the Barry Bonds salad days.

Nice idea, Bruce Bochy and Co., but let’s get real.

Remember, Pagan’s nickname is “Crazy Horse” in part because he seems a bit loco at times with his decision-making; Cabrera is no Carl Lewis; Crawford has enough to worry about in terms of getting on base, period; Sandoval is fast for his size, but not fast; ditto Posey, for his position; Schierholtz and Belt aren’t locks to start; and Sanchez’s health remains a question.

In the name of fairness, the Giants aren’t talking about green lights for everyone. They don’t aspire to lead the National League in stolen bases.

They simply want everyone to bust ass out of the box on anything that looks like it could be turned into a “hustle double,” and to think about third base as the more desirable option than second when hovering off first and seeing a ball pounded into the outfield.

Shouldn’t that have always been the idea?

Issue: Miggy Magic, Part II?

Analysis: A’s general manager Billy Beane is a genius when it comes to memorable one-liners that make a point while eliciting a knowing nod, smile or LOL.

One of my favorites, delivered several years ago: “If I was into nostalgia, Eric Byrnes would be my left fielder and Carlos Pena would be my first baseman.”

Beane’s point was this: GM’s can’t afford to get caught up in the public’s affection for former fan favorites.

So don’t expect him to pay an ounce of attention to any fans who want to bring Miguel Tejada back to see if he can compete for the now-open job at third base.

Tejada says he wants a shot, and I’d bet a lot of A’s fans want to give him a shot, despite Tejada’s awful showing with the Giants last season.

If Oakland was willing to take a low-risk, $500,000 gamble on Manny Ramirez, why on earth wouldn’t they do the same with Oakland’s 2002 American League MVP and all-around great guy?

Good question. Tejada says he’s buddies with Yoenis Cespedes, and if the A’s are giving the first crack at the hot corner to recently converted catcher Josh Donaldson, what the hell?

Sensible argument, no doubt. Just don’t count on it.

If Beane was inclined to work the fan-favorite factor into his decision-making process, he’d have never traded Mark Ellis or Gio Gonzalez.  

Every Thursday throughout spring training, we’ll take a look at one major issue involving the Giants, one involving the A’s, and offer analysis.

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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