The Padres Sign Marcus Giles
by Asher B. Chancey,
December 19, 2006

Could Marcus Giles be the steal of the off-season for the San Diego Padres? That all depends on Gilesí health, and where the Padres intend to put him in the batting order.

The conventional wisdom regarding Marcus Giles is that once Rafael Furcal left the Braves for Los Angeles, putting Giles in the leadoff spot clearly made him uncomfortable. True, Giles was injured for part of the season, and his injury apparently nagged at him. But Giles would seem to be a classic number two guy in the batting order, and it is entirely possible that Giles may have become consumed with trying to be a table setter when that simply isnít what he is.

As a result of Giles poor 2006 showing and the high asking price for which he was presumed to have been prepared to ask, the Braves declined to tender Giles a contract offer earlier this month. He wound up signing with San Diego for just $3.75 million.

The bad news for Giles is that in moving to San Diego, he moves from a decent pitchers park in Atlanta to a phenomenal pitchers park in Petco Park. The good news is, this might be a blessing in disguise. Petco Park is not a homerun hitterís paradise, but Marcus Giles is not a homerun hitter. Giles has hit 40 or more doubles twice, and a spacious Petco Park may actual play to his doubles power.

Look what Petco Park did for Mike Cameron last season. In 141 games, Cameron tied his career highs with 34 doubles and 9 triples, 18 and 6 of which he hit at home. Even though he didnít hit any where near his career high in homeruns, Cameron put up the highest OPS and OPS+ that he has managed since 2001, and was a different player from the Mike Cameron we saw with the Mets in 2004 and 2005.

There is one caveat to all of this. Like the 2006 Atlanta Braves, the 2007 San Diego Padres will be a team who has lost their leadoff man Ė Dave Roberts has signed with the Giants this off-season. Early indications seem to point to Marcus Giles being used to replace Roberts in that role. However, if the conventional wisdom is correct, the Padres would be silly to use Giles in this role.

Since we are discussing possibilities, it is also entirely possible that Giles' numbers declined in 2006 simply because Giles' numbers have been on a steady decline ever since his breakout season of 2003. Giles' batting average and on-base percentage have declined steadily in each of the last three years as he has devolved from .316/.390/.526 to .262/.341/.387. Additionally, he has struck out 100 plus times in each of the last two seasons, his stolen base percentage was the worst it has been in a full season in 2006, and his homeruns per at-bat were the worst he has posted in any major league season, full or otherwise.

Nevertheless, if Marcus Giles is healthy in 2007, he will be 29 years old and playing in his hometown with his older brother. The situation would seem tailor made for Marcus Giles to be the steal of the off-season for the San Diego Padres.

Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Asher resides in Philadelphia, PA and can be reached at