When, Oh When Are the Giants Going to Call Up John Bowker?

After yesterday’s game, 25 year old John Bowker is hitting .354 with a 1.065 OPS in 240 AB’s at AAA Fresno.  His OPS is good for third in the Pacific Coast League behind 26 year old Jake Fox, who is now hitting .353 with a .918 OPS in 34 AB’s for the Cubs (in fairness, Fox had a ridiculous 1.336 OPS at Iowa) and 29 year old Hector Luna, who plays in Albuquerque, one of the best places to hit in the already hitter-friendly PCL.

Hello!  The Giants are desperate for hitting, and Bowker is killing the ball at AAA.  Bowker is a commodity the Giants don’t have a lot of: a minor position player still young enough to have a real major league career.

Meanwhile, after getting two hits last night, 37 year old Rich Aurilia is hitting .213 with a .535 OPS.  Aurilia plays 1B and 3B, and in a real pinch SS.  Bowker plays 1B and the corner outfield positions.

Pablo Sandoval has been much better defensively at 3B than anyone reasonably expected (I, for one, had visions of catcher Bob Brenly, who on September 14, 1986, made an astounding four errors in one inning in a failed attempt to play him at 3B, the only player to make four errors in one inning in the 20th Century; here’s the boxscore).  As a back-up, the Giants have Juan Uribe, a former SS (former SS’s usually have no problem performing at least adequately at the hot corner).

Yes, Aurilia’s a great guy, good to have in the club house, and he’s meant a lot to the Giants’ organization over the years. Yes, the Giants have too many outfielders already.  And GM Brian Sabean loves those over-the-hill veterans.  However, it’s getting to the point where even Sabean has to make a move.

Baseball is a meritocracy of sorts.  There are always guys at the margins who deserve to be in the majors who aren’t or who aren’t getting as much playing time as they deserve, but by and large the best players play, because winning consistently is the only guaranteed way to get cans in the seats, which is what pays everyone in the industry their bloated salaries.

The Giants have to make a move soon, like the next week or ten days.  At this point in their respective careers, Bowker has everything going for him, and Aurilia is just taking up roster space.  If the Giants really want to keep Aurilia around for his professionalism and sage advice, offer him a coaching position for the rest of 2009.  The Gints are almost certainly on the hook for the rest of Aurilia’s 2009 salary anyway.

P.S.   Opening a roster space at AAA Fresno by promoting Bowker and taking Aurilia off the 40-man roster would open up a spot for Buster Posey in Fresno without anyone else being demoted.

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