The day after Bruce Bochy used pitcher Matt Cain off the bench as a pinch hitter for starter Jonathan Sanchez in the 5th inning of a 4-1 ballgame in Atlanta, the Giants have designated pitcher Todd Wellemeyer for assignment and called up infielder Emmanuel Burriss.
This culminates a several week period when the team inexplicably carried 13 pitchers and 12 position players, with one or more of those positions players injured at times and unable to play. Amazingly, the Giants did not put any injured position players on the disabled list so they could call up game-ready replacement players from Fresno.
This kind of terrible player management by the Giants front office has caused Manager Bruce Bochy a number of awkward moments, including having starting pitchers take at bats when they should have been pulled, and holding back using legitimate pinch hitters mid-game to save them for possible use late in games.
Why the team went with 13 pitchers for so long is unknown; more importantly, why the team went with less than 12 available position players at various times during the past several weeks is unfathomable. While it may have saved the cost of a few airline flights, and you can argue that it’s disruptive to bring someone up for only several days, it appeared to be the opposite way to manage a big league ball club in the middle of a pennant race with a month and a half to go.
Burriss was an outstanding shortstop with great range who the Giants converted to second base several years ago; in a scenario that appeared confusing at the time, the Giants also converted minor league second baseman Nick Noonan to shortstop. Burriss was hit by reoccurring injuries last year, and hasn’t played since June 2009.
Instead of going with Burriss at shortstop at the start of the 2009 season, the Giants front office decided to sign free agent Edgar Renteria for $19 million over two years. Renteria has been a disappointment in the field, and has contributed little to the team’s offense the past two years. Renteria is currently batting .274 with a .363 slugging percentage.
Wellemeyer, despite losing the 5th starter job earlier this year and being inconsistent in the bullpen, was brought back to the team following a stint on the DL. He lasted four days, which culminated in a tough outing against Atlanta last Sunday.
Wellemeyer is 3-5 with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. Other teams have ten days to work out a deal with the Giants for Wellemeyer, or he will be released. At that point, any team can sign him, with the Giants on the hook for the remainder of his $1 million 2009 salary.