Barry Zito is not the only former World Series hero the San Francisco Giants will say goodbye to this offseason.
Outfielder Andres Torres was placed on the DL on Thursday due to a left Achilles tendon strain that has been lingering since the 2011 season. This injury puts the rest of Torres’ season in jeopardy, and one has to believe that his second tenure as a Giant has come to an end as nothing but a disappointment.
The initial decision by the front office to bring back Torres only for him to platoon in left field with Gregor Blanco at $2 million for one year was questionable. He was coming off a mediocre season with the New York Mets, which was a slight improvement over his 2011 campaign in San Francisco that saw huge drops in almost every statistical category.
2010 w/ SFG: .268 BA, .343 SLG, .823 OPS, 84 R, 43 2B
2011 w/ SFG: .221, .312, .643, 50, 24
2012 w/ NYM: .230, .327, .664, 47, 17
2013 w/ SFG: .250, .302, .644, 33, 17
Torres was nothing like the player the Giants hoped he’d be for them in 2013 — certainly not the player they paid him to be. After center fielder Angel Pagan went down with a torn hamstring on May 25, Torres saw much of the time as his replacement. He didn’t excite with a new opportunity as an everyday player, hitting just .246 with an OPS of .632 and just one home run.
Despite being a huge fan favorite because of his classy demeanor and electric personality, he did not perform up to par on the field.
But how could you blame GM Brian Sabean? Torres was one of the only affordable — albeit at a marginally steeper contract than expected — outfielder on the market. Sabean had already committed just under $15 million to Marco Scutaro and Pagan for the 2013 season. Plus, Sabean was working on a very large and vital contract for Buster Posey behind closed doors while scoping the free agent market.
Beyond what was available on the market at the time, Torres was the obvious nostalgic choice to compete for the starting job in left field at the start of spring training. He is, in fact, the man who Edgar Renteria told he was going to hit his World Series-clinching home run minutes before he did so in the seventh inning of Game 5 in 2010.
The Giants would not have won the division over the Padres in 2010 if it weren’t Torres’ fantastic season — the best of his career, in fact. He started in all but one game in that postseason and was a important piece to the puzzle of “misfits” that brought San Francisco its first title.
Torres most definitely was not the only problem to this wasted 2013 season, but signing him to a free-agent contract in the winter did not help the Giants’ chances at a repeat. Hopefully, Torres makes it back to play another game this season to receive a proper ovation with Giants fans. If he is able, the 14-year minor-league-journeyman will hear roars of appreciation from Giants fans, and deservedly so for his contributions in 2010.
This time, however, it should be a goodbye for good.