It seems likely that Freddy Sanchez will start the season on the DL. Does that mean an opening for Emmanuel Burriss? The former Golden Flash has 146 hits in the big leagues (222 games), but only 15 of those went for extra bases (13 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR). MannyB turned 27 in January, a make-or-break age for most ballplayers. It's hard to imagine him being anything other than a stopgap--his career minor league line is .285/.348/.344, and you never like to see SLG < OBP. He is fast, we know that, and he has a Schierholtzian arm, but can he give the team something more than the LSU duo of Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot? I really want to root for MannyB, but I just don't see enough in his track record to suggest he can stick at the job. Nonetheless, he may provide a few weeks of inspired play and make a positive contribution. And he might just shut up the naysayers, which would be fine by me!
With Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner all looking good and apparently at full health, most of the roster decisions are minor by comparison. Barry Zito just might be average (hallelujah!), and Eric Surkamp just might hold down the 5-spot for a bit if Ryan Vogelsong is not quite up to speed. I could live with Brandon Belt at AAA if Brett Pill can bring some right-handed power to the lineup and keep the heat on Aubrey Huff. We know the young lefty is going to be an everyday player very soon, and will likely be tearing it up late in the season, so I don't think we need to worry. Belt is a tremendous talent, and he just needs a little more seasoning before he becomes a regular. I like the depth at first base. When your putative starter is 35 and coming off a wretched season, you need to have a backup plan. I think the Giants are in good shape. The most exciting story--other than the return of Buster Posey--is the emergence of Brandon Crawford. I really hope the Giants are patient with him. If they are really willing to put him in the 8-hole and let him ride out the rough spots I think they will find he will hit better than they expect. We all know his glove will save piles of runs--can't wait to see it everyday!