Even if Renteria does bounce back to the tune of his career .290/.347/.407 line, it’s doubtful that he alone will do much to reverse the Giants’ 72-90 record from 2008. The Giants’ primary Achilles Heel last season was not at shortstop (more on that in a minute). Instead, it was an utterly pathetic offense – an offense which hit just 94 home runs (25 percent less than the next closest team), was second-to-last in SLG and runs scored and third-to last in OBP. So, rather than wasting a fortune on a shortstop whose best days are likely far behind him, Sabean would have been much better served by taking advantage of the glut of corner outfielders on the market and signing a legitimate power threat like Pat Burrell or Adam Dunn or an on-base machine like Bobby Abreu for little more (both in dollars and in years) than what he squandered on Renteria. That would have been the most obvious way for the team’s longtime GM to steer the team back to respectability in 2009.
Ironically, if there was a bright spot in the Giants’ lineup in 2008, it was at shortstop, where promising youngster Emmanuel Burriss hit a healthy .283 in 95 games and posted a .357 OBP. The 23-year-old also showed excellent speed (13 steals) to go along with well above average range and a strong arm. Simply put, he was a far better player than Renteria. And at a pro rated salary of $390,000 he was much cheaper. The arrival of Renteria will relegate Burriss to the bench and stunt the kid’s development – not an insignificant development given that Burriss was supposed to spearhead a group of talented position prospects, including 2008 1st round pick Buster Posey, that is perhaps the best the team has assembled in decades. As a result, it turns out that the Bay might not be the only thing that’s foggy in San Francisco. So too might be the Giants’ chances in 2009. And even in 2010 and beyond.