I think about the Giants' roster a lot, far more than is healthy for a grown man neither employed by the Giants nor paid to write about them. Even more worrisome, however, is how often I think about the Giants and completely forget that Dave Roberts is still on the team. It usually goes something like this (begin interior monologue):
OK, let's see, Lewis in left, Rowand in center, Winn in right, Schierholtz will start the year as the fourth outfielder, maybe start Nate against righties when Winn slides over to center to give Rowand a break...barring a trade, of course...hmm...gotta get that bathroom cabinet fixed...what should we have for dinner? leftover chicken? nah...I guess Bowker could be the fifth outfielder and back up at first base...or if they sign Manny, which isn't going to happen, Lewis will be fourth OF and Schierholtz fifth...order in Thai food, maybe, hot soup would be nice on a cold night...holy Beltway, she's gotta be the hottest deputy White House chief of staff ever...Notably absent: Dave Roberts. Hello, McFly -- he's still on the payroll. He's making $6.5 million in 2009, which means he's untradeable unless the Giants eat all of his salary. Maybe some other team would pay half a million for Roberts to steal a few bases and pinch-hit in situations that called for a guy who knows how to work a walk, but said team certainly wouldn't give the Giants anything in return. In today's new new baseball economy, if Roberts were a free agent he'd probably have to retire.
The big question, then: Do the Giants keep him as the world's most expensive pinch-runner and occasional pinch-hitter? My first reaction is to say no way, that's Eugenio Velez's job (without the "expensive" part), but then again, would you trust Velez to steal a base when it absolutely, positively has to be stolen? Or take close pitches from a late-inning reliever with shaky control? And if Roberts isn't the 5th outfielder, who is?
In other words, ladies and gentlemen, is there a place in this world, this Giant corner of the world, for Dave Roberts? Cut him? Keep him in case Fred Lewis's foot re-grows a sixth toe? Make him a coach? His fate is in your hands.