Schierholtz, Ishikawa On The Bubble For Giants

The Giants have a pair of out of options position players on the bubble in Nate Schierholtz and Travis Ishikawa.  According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, "Schierholtz could be the easiest and most likely to be dealt. Perhaps soon."

Schierholtz, a right fielder, is trying to break into an outfield that already features more expensive players such as Cody Ross, Andres Torres, Pat Burrell, Mark DeRosa, and perhaps Aaron Rowand.  And don't forget top prospect Brandon Belt, who could force Aubrey Huff to left field or play there himself.  Just for good measure, Ishikawa is playing a little outfield this spring.

The 27-year-old Schierholtz has failed to produce in 758 scattered big league plate appearances.  He has, at least, shown the ability to hit for average, power, and a strong contact rate in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.  Going back to the Baseball America 2008 Handbook, Schierholtz "plays a strong right field and has an above-average, accurate arm."  He would have been a more interesting player for the Royals to try in right field than Jeff Francoeur, and could make sense for the Phillies currently.

Trading Rowand would alleviate the Giants' outfield logjam slightly, but Baggarly says there's nothing cooking on that front.  Rowand is a release candidate in my mind, unless there's a team willing to pick up a couple million bucks of the $24MM owed to him for 2011-12. 

Baggarly notes that both Schierholtz and Ishikawa could be on the outs if Belt makes the team.  On Friday, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that the situations of Rowand, Ishikawa, and Schierholtz will not be big factors in the Belt decision.  Belt's service time might be a consideration, not that the team would admit that publicly.  If the Giants can survive the season's first nine games without Belt, they can delay his free agency by a year. 

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