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There’s Stupid, and then there’s the San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants signed minor-league free agent Andres Torres at the beginning of the 2009 season. He’d played more than 500 games in AAA – more than 2000 ABs – and hit .276 and put up a .750 OPS. Through age 30. These are not the markings of a future major leaguer. But he had a solid season off the bench in 2009 and won the starting center field spot in 2010, posting quality numbers.

Today, Torres is being benched for Game 3 against the Phillies. The reason? He’s 3 for his last 25 at bats. He’s not injured – all reports indicate that he spent hours in the batting cage – so why is his performance in the last six games enough to justify sitting him?

The truth is, it's not.  Either Torres is the guy the Giants thought he was when they started him in center field all season, or he's not.  If he is, then a benching accomplishes zero.  If he's not, then what the hell were they doing playing him 145 times so far this year?

This won’t make much of a difference in the outcome of the game – Torres’ true talent is quite a bit less than his performance this season, and I believe he’s a natural left-handed hitter who’s weaker from the right side. His replacement, Aaron Rowand, isn’t that much worse as a hitter.

But the process is totally broken.  If a player's not injured, "slumps" have zero predictive value.  Any notion that Giants, as an organization, were finished doing stupid things, was incorrect.  They obviously still have a shot at winning the world series, but you can bet they'll conspire further against themselves as the playoffs progress.

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