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Memo from the Personnel Department

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First, a report filed from No Surprise, Arizona, tells us Noah Lowry had an injection in his shoulder and won’t even pick up a baseball until April. Ugh. I feel for the kid. Realistically, anything he can contribute in 2009 will be a bonus. With an historically fragile Jonathan Sanchez and a 45–year-old Unit in the rotation, in addition to the usual caveats about starting pitching, it’s worth wondering who’s on the second line.

Keiichi Yabu would be a candidate for a spot-start or two, but he’s been kicked to the curb. And now comes word the Giants might trade for a long reliever. That makes no sense until you realize the long reliever could be synonymous with “a guy who might have to start a dozen games during the year.”

And it still doesn’t make much sense. If the Giants are going younger — the reason they gave for dropping the 40–year-old Yabu (one of my favorite movies, by the way, and definitely NSFW) — why not give Joe Martinez a shot at the swingman role? He pitched last year at AA Connecticut and this spring has made four appearances. He has surrendered a lot of hits, but his BB/K walk of 2/7 isn’t bad. (Better than another pitching prospect, Kevin Pucetas, who has walked 7 to only 2 Ks.) How about giving Martinez a couple more starts so he can face the other team’s regulars?

The Giants also have Pat Misch, who was mediocre last year when he took a few turns in the rotation. He would have to be re-added to the 40–man roster. Jeremy Affeldt has been a starter and swing man in previous years, but I think the Giants will want him to settle in as a set-up guy. There was talk of Pucetas having a shot at the team, but other than a nice stint in the Arizona Fall League his highest level is High-A. If the Giants want to fast-track him, let’s see how he does in Fresno.

And who knows, in a couple weeks Pedro Martinez might be willing to take a minor-league contract. There’s definitely no need to trade for a long reliever right now.

BING! Speaking of trades… according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Trib, the Giants have acquired infielder Sergio Santos from the White Sox for “future considerations.” If true, I assume Santos is minor-league roster filler.

[UPDATE: Baggs speculates that Santos will be the Fresno starting SS because Manny Burriss is likely to make the big squad.]

In his blip about the Giants possibly looking for a long reliever and backup catcher, Baggs speculated that Eugenio Velez, Merkin Valdez and Luis Perdomo could be trade bait. If the Giants can get value in return for Velez, by all means do so. But I don’t see it happening. As for Valdez and Perdomo, I’m wary of trading good young bullpen arms right now. If Romo’s injury is worse than appears, Hinshaw regresses, Taschner implodes, Howry gets old fast… you get the picture. The more bullpen depth, the better.

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