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Good Moves, Sabes

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We still don't know how Bruce Bochy will adjust to Andres Torres' appendectal absence. Lineups for tonight's game versus Clayton Kershaw, perhaps the nastiest left-handed pitcher in the league, will be posted in the late afternoon. I have no idea who will lead off: Could be Cody Ross, Aaron Rowand, Freddy Sanchez, Edgar Renteria, perhaps even Nate Schierholtz if Boch pays attention to Nate's numbers against Kershaw and lefties in general.

But mulling it over, I realized what a good move it was to claim Cody Ross off waivers from the Marlins. Press reports called it a pure blocking move so that San Diego wouldn't get Ross, but ever since the Randy Myers fiasco, I can't imagine any team makes a claim without being ready to take the player. Turns out Cody Ross is coming in handy. He's already had some big at-bats for the Giants and (despite the infamous misjudged broken-bat triple) is a competent outfielder. The next two weeks, he should have a chance to be a key part of the home stretch if Boch lets him. Claiming Ross off waivers was one of several good moves Brian Sabean has made recently. A few others:

* Trading for Javy Lopez and Ramon Ramirez. At the time the bullpen moves provoked a collective yawn (Ramirez for Daniel Turpen) and gasp (Lopez for Joe Martinez and John Bowker). But whether Sabean and Co. knew something we didn't, or they just got lucky, Lopez and Ramirez have been massively important -- the latter using smoke and mirrors, perhaps (19 IP, 13 H, 10 BB, only 9 Ks!). I know this isn't very sabermetric of me, but you can't argue with the results.

* Playing Buster Posey at first base for his first month in the bigs. I'll get some push-back on this one, but bear with me. The Giants knew at some point this year Buster would probably take over for Bengie Molina. They didn't want him to do so in April, and we can argue that replacing Molina in the lineup a month or two or three earlier could ultimately be the difference in a win or two -- and a playoff spot. But here's the flip side. Posey as starter is running out there every day and, as his forced day off Friday underscored, he's taking a beating. Playing first base in June saved a lot of wear and tear, and perhaps we're seeing that pay off down the stretch. He's not crushing the ball like July, but his September slash line is .270 / .341 / .541, still damn valuable. If the Giants play in October, the month off from catching in June could be the difference between a productive Posey and an exhausted Posey.

* Trading Tim Alderson for Freddy Sanchez. This would be harder to write if Freddy hadn't gotten his season back on track in August. But Sanchez doesn't have to hit .356 / .402 / .500, his August slash line, to make the Alderson deal a good one for Sabean. After all, have you seen Alderson's numbers lately? He bombed out with Pittsburgh's AA affiliate and finished the year struggling in A-ball. I feel bad for the kid, but as it coldly stands, Sabean made the right call, getting something for Alderson near the peak of his value. That "something" was a slick fielding second baseman with injury baggage and a mediocre, at best, idea of the strike zone who needs a lot of hits to fall in to be valuable at the plate. But UZR says he's playing some of the best defense of his career. Could Sabean have traded Alderson for someone better and healthier than Sanchez? That's extremely hard to answer, and we'll probably never know. at the time of the trade, many reports called it a "steep price" to pay for Sanchez, but a few commentators noted that Alderson's stock had already begun to fall.

I have a few other good Sabean moves in mind, but I don't want to pack too much Pollyanna into one post. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.   

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