It Only Seems to Get Worse for Giants

The Giants are in an epic June and now July Swoon, having gone 5-18 since June 15, and they appear to be well on their way to yet another loss today, down 7-1 to the Mets in the ninth inning.  Right now, the Giants don’t hit, their starting pitching, except for Madison Bumgarner, is weak, and their bullpen can’t get it done.

One of the few recent bright spots for the Giants of late is the emergence of Chad Gaudin as an effective fifth starter following Ryan Vogelsong‘s broken hand.  Today, however, Gaudin was charged with open and gross lewdness for touching a young woman’s breast in a Las Vegas hospital last January.

The now 30 year old Gaudin was apparently drunk, so drunk, in fact, that he couldn’t tell police officers what he was doing at the hospital in the first place.  Before his arrest, he approached a 23 year old woman lying on a gurney, told her she was gorgeous and touched her face and breast.  A paramedic told Gaudin to leave the woman alone, which he refused to do, and Gaudin was then restrained by hospital security until police arrived.

The charges against Gaudin are hardly what the Giants need to break out of their funk.

Meanwhile, the Giants signed Jeff Francoeur yesterday, who had recently been released by the Royals.  The Giants hope to platoon Francoeur in left field with Andres Torres while Gregor Blanco starts in center for the injured Angel Pagan.  According to Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Mercury News, the Giants are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle the way they did back in 2010 with Pat Burrell, signed after being released by the Rays.

Well, anything’s possible, and at least Francoeur is cheap, coming at the pro-rated portion of the major league minimum with the Royals on the hook for the rest of his 2013 salary.  Even so, I’ll be very surprised if Francoeur helps the Giants significantly this year.

First, Francoeur is no Pat Burrell.  Pat had a lot more power, he got on base a lot more, and he had struggled for the Rays playing in one of the worst hitters’ parks in baseball.  Francoeur hits lefties fairly well, but his career .307 on-base percentage is terrible for a corner outfielder, and he washed out of Kansas City, which plays its home games in a better than average hitters’ park.

Francoeur looks a lot more to me like Shea Hillenbrand, whom the Giants acquired along with Vinnie Chulk for Jeremy Accardo in the summer of 2006.  Accardo only had one great season for the Blue Jays, but that was one more great season than the Giants got from either Hillenbrand or Chulk.

Francoeur really has only one plus skill and that’s his terrific right fielder’s throwing arm.  However, Francoeur isn’t likely to displace Hunter Pence, and the former’s great arm isn’t likely to be nearly as useful in left field.

Then again, what do I know?  A year ago, I pointed out when the Giants acquired Marco Scutaro, that Scutaro’s 2012 season at the time of the trade looked suspiciously like Orlando Cabrera‘s 2011 season at the time the Giants acquired Cabrera.  Yet Scutaro was every bit as good the last two months of 2012 as Cabrera had been bad the last two months of 2011.

The future is a hard thing to predict.  This much I am sure of, however — the odds that Jeff Francoeur will play in late 2013 more like the Pat Burrell of late 2010 or the Marco Scutaro of late 2012 than the Shea Hillenbrand of late 2006 or the Orlando Cabrera of late 2011 are pretty slim.

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