With emergence of Burriss, Giants shop Fontenot, Theriot

With emergence of Burriss, Giants shop Fontenot, Theriot
March 24, 2012, 8:23 pm
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With the emergence of Emmanuel Burriss this spring, the Giants are exploring what their surplus of infielders could bring in the trade market.

A source confirmed a report from ESPN's Jayson Stark that the Giants have begun shopping infielders Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot. The Phillies, who won't have second baseman Chase Utley to begin the season, are a logical trade partner. The Atlanta Braves also are seeking infield depth.

There is a timing mechanism here. Both Fontenot (1.05 million) and Theriot (1.25 million) are on major league contracts that are partially guaranteed; if the Giants cut either player by Friday, they would pay them just one-fourth of their salary. After that, the contracts become fully guaranteed.

The Giants would consider trading one of them but not both, given Freddy Sanchez's slow comeback from major right shoulder surgery. Sanchez is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.

A club source told me this morning that if the Giants had to pick a starting second baseman right now, Burriss would be the choice. He's done more than anyone in camp to improve his standing while hitting .436 with a .488 on-base percentage in 17 games. Club officials took extra note of how Burriss hit two sharp singles Friday night against Alexi Ogando, the Texas' Rangers' right-hander who has premium stuff.

Burriss likely would bat seventh in front of shortstop Brandon Crawford, who is expected to play every day -- against both left-handers and right-handers.

The Giants also like what they've seen defensively from non-roster invitee Joaquin Arias, who has superior range and throwing ability to Fontenot or Theriot.

Theriot was scratched from Saturday's lineup at Goodyear because of a tender ankle that he jammed in minor league camp. He is batting .200 this spring and hasn't looked surehanded at third base or shortstop. Fontenot is hitting .269 and is considered a fringy shortstop, but more playable than Theriot.

Theriot is a right-handed hitter, and despite his poor spring, he has a reputation for being a tough, late-game at-bat. So he still appears to fit on the roster. Most likely, the Giants are looking for a trade match with either Fontenot or Theriot for an experienced power-hitting bench player or depth at other positions.