Category Archives: Giants Jerseys 2019

Joey Rickard Jersey

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Looking back at the 2019 Giants, with an eye toward the future. Previously: Donovan Solano, Kevin Pillar, Alex Dickerson, Fernando Abad, Stephen Vogt, Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Pablo Sandoval.

Joey Rickard’s first appearance as a Giant came Aug. 8, inserted as a defensive replacement in the midst of a Madison Bumgarner no-hit bid. And, of course, the first ball was hit to him in left, a heart-pounding first impression. He caught the fly ball and exhaled. His tenure in San Francisco would slow down from there.

Rickard neither over- nor underwhelmed in his short time with the Giants, becoming yet another Triple-A hitting machine (.372/.431/.587) while playing sporadically with San Francisco, a righty bat who slashed .280/.333/.380 in 54 plate appearances.

The 28-year-old was the second outfielder from Baltimore whom the Giants claimed — Mike Yastrzemski is a keeper — and the two talked about the hitting deathtrap that is Harbor Park, the home of Baltimore’s Triple-A Norfolk affiliate. They escaped and both put up much better numbers across the country. Will Rickard stick around to follow up on that decent Giants debut?

The Las Vegas native is slotted for about $1.1 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors, which is not expensive; it more will be a question of whether his skills warrant a roster spot. His biggest talent — and the one Zaidi likely likes best — is his prowess against lefties. He hit .256/.365/.378 with two homers, two doubles and a triple in 96 plate appearances against major league southpaws last year.

If the Giants fit lefties Yastrzemski in right and Alex Dickerson — for as long as he stays healthy — in left, they would want righty complements (and, in Dickerson’s case, probably more than that). Austin Slater will be around and also has the ability to move to the infield. Jaylin Davis’ righty bat will fight to be in the mix.

Of the righty corner outfielders on the market, Nicholas Castellanos, Marcell Ozuna (who has a qualifying offer) and, uh, Yasiel Puig stick out. Castellanos especially, who killed lefties last season, slashing .370/.425/.713 in 120 plate appearances. Would the Giants, still in a soft rebuild, give $50 million-plus to a corner outfielder without standout on-base skills? Whether it’s Castellanos or someone else, Rickard’s job would be in jeopardy.

Rickard survived one 40-man roster purging Tuesday, when Mike Gerber and Ricardo Pinto were designated for assignment.

“Just grow in all phases. Not too content in anything, getting consistent at-bats, defense, running,” Rickard told KNBR in the season’s last week, looking ahead to his offseason goals. “So it’s not really focus on one thing, just overall game.

“… You miss [baseball] a lot quicker than you think. You get really bored really easily.”

The Giants will keep churning, constantly flipping the bottom of their roster in search for talent on the margins. That brought them Rickard, who had flamed out with the Orioles. Will it also lead to his exit?

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The Giants made a flurry of moves before Wednesday’s MLB trade deadline. While they moved multiple major league relievers, San Francisco also added a prospect from the Rays at the last minute.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the Giants acquired outfielder Joe McCarthy from Tampa Bay, with the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reporting San Francisco is sending minor league pitcher Jacob Lopez.

Jeff Passan

@JeffPassan
Joe McCarthy is headed from Tampa Bay to the San Francisco Giants, sources tell ESPN.

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Marc Topkin

@TBTimes_Rays
#Rays return from #Giants for minor league OF Joe McCarthy is minor league LHP Jacob Lopez

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The Giants confirmed the transaction later Wednesday afternoon.

McCarthy, 25, was ranked as the Rays’ No. 28 prospect. The former fifth-round draft pick was batting .196 with six home runs in Triple-A this season. But he’s a .269 career hitter in the minors with 29 total home runs.

Lopez, 21, was the Giants’ 26th-round pick in 2018. The left-handed pitcher is 2-3 with a 3.02 ERA over nine games this year.

This was far from the Giants’ biggest move of the day, but it could be an underrated one if McCarthy pans out.

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The Cubs have ongoing interest in bringing back free agent Nicholas Castellanos, who posted a 1.002 OPS over 51 games for Chicago following a Trade Deadline move from the Tigers.

Scott Harris, then an assistant general manager with the Cubs, had a firsthand look at Castellanos’ powerful display in the second half. Last month, Harris was named general manager of the Giants.

In what is perhaps a related development, the Giants are among the teams showing interest in Castellanos, two sources said Tuesday. Castellanos’ market is likely to become clearer during next week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, with the White Sox and Marlins among the possible suitors.

In addition to Harris’ familiarity with Castellanos, the 27-year-old outfielder fits the Giants’ plans in a number of ways:

• Last winter, in the months after Farhan Zaidi was named the team’s president of baseball operations, the rebuilding Giants nonetheless proved with their pursuit of Bryce Harper that they’re willing to go after stars who hit free agency at the right age.

Castellanos and Harper are far from identical, but Castellanos is only seven months older than Harper, and they were more comparable offensively this year than one might think: Castellanos posted a 121 OPS+, compared to 125 for Harper.

• Castellanos, a right-handed hitter, would be a welcome contrast to what could be an all-left-handed everyday outfield for the Giants: Mike Yastrzemski, Steven Duggar and Alex Dickerson.

Castellanos also has indicated a willingness to play the corner-infield positions, where Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt were close to league-average hitters in 2019.

• While Castellanos has played mostly right field for each of the last two seasons, he also has experience in left field, a longstanding area of need for the Giants. San Francisco left fielders combined for a .673 OPS in 2019, second worst in the Majors.

• The Giants’ decision to non-tender Kevin Pillar this week freed up a spot in their outfield and additional spending power in the 2020 payroll.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

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The Cubs have ongoing interest in bringing back free agent Nicholas Castellanos, who posted a 1.002 OPS over 51 games for Chicago following a Trade Deadline move from the Tigers.

Scott Harris, then an assistant general manager with the Cubs, had a firsthand look at Castellanos’ powerful display in the second half. Last month, Harris was named general manager of the Giants.

In what is perhaps a related development, the Giants are among the teams showing interest in Castellanos, two sources said Tuesday. Castellanos’ market is likely to become clearer during next week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, with the White Sox and Marlins among the possible suitors.

In addition to Harris’ familiarity with Castellanos, the 27-year-old outfielder fits the Giants’ plans in a number of ways:

• Last winter, in the months after Farhan Zaidi was named the team’s president of baseball operations, the rebuilding Giants nonetheless proved with their pursuit of Bryce Harper that they’re willing to go after stars who hit free agency at the right age.

Castellanos and Harper are far from identical, but Castellanos is only seven months older than Harper, and they were more comparable offensively this year than one might think: Castellanos posted a 121 OPS+, compared to 125 for Harper.

• Castellanos, a right-handed hitter, would be a welcome contrast to what could be an all-left-handed everyday outfield for the Giants: Mike Yastrzemski, Steven Duggar and Alex Dickerson.

Castellanos also has indicated a willingness to play the corner-infield positions, where Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt were close to league-average hitters in 2019.

• While Castellanos has played mostly right field for each of the last two seasons, he also has experience in left field, a longstanding area of need for the Giants. San Francisco left fielders combined for a .673 OPS in 2019, second worst in the Majors.

• The Giants’ decision to non-tender Kevin Pillar this week freed up a spot in their outfield and additional spending power in the 2020 payroll.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

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SAN FRANCISCO — It didn’t take long for Kevin Pillar to win over the fan base and his new clubhouse, but his run as a Giant is over after only one season.

The Giants non-tendered Pillar before Monday night’s deadline, making him a free agent for the first time.

Pillar, acquired in the first week of the season from the Toronto Blue Jays, led the Giants in homers, RBI and stolen bases, but there were other issues in his statistical profile and the organization preferred to go with a younger group in the outfield.

Pillar was expected to make about $10 million in his final year of arbitration.

“It was a difficult decision. It was a baseball decision, not a financial decision,” Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told NBC Sports Bay Area. “We want to make sure that we can provide the opportunity to some of our younger outfielders who have emerged over the last year.”

That group includes Mike Yastrzemski, who tied Pillar for the team lead with 21 homers and could see plenty of time in center field next season, Austin Slater and Alex Dickerson, who reportedly agreed to a one-year deal Monday worth $925,000. Two young prospects, one acquired by Zaidi and one he inherited, also will receive a long look.

“Jaylin Davis got a little bit of big league time, and we want to make sure he gets an opportunity,” Zaidi said. “Steven Duggar is coming off an injury, and we’re expecting him to be 100 percent coming into camp. I would still expect us to add to that picture by looking at free agents and trades.

“The versatility of a couple of those guys to play center field may give us an opportunity to add an impact bat in one of the corner spots, which is something we’ve talked about all offseason. We’re looking for offensive production and a way to score more runs. We’re going to have financial flexibility to explore those avenues in trades and free agency, but an equally important part of this is making sure we’re creating an opportunity for some young players.”

That group includes Davis, a 25-year-old who was acquired at the trade deadline and hit 35 homers in the minors last season, and Duggar, a 26-year-old who once looked like the organization’s center fielder of the future before shoulder injuries stalled his progress. Yastrzemski appeared more than capable of handling center field when given limited opportunities last season, and the Giants also could go with a wild card who might be the most intriguing option of all.

When Mauricio Dubon was picked up from the Milwaukee Brewers before the trade deadline, team officials talked of him one day serving a super-utility role, similar to what Kiké Hernandez has done so successfully in Los Angeles. While Dubon currently looks slated for the starting job at second base, he will get work in center field during spring training.

At the start of last spring, Duggar was the only one in that group who was part of the organization. Zaidi added Pillar to the mix after he struggled in five games with the Blue Jays early in the year, and the veteran ended up being an integral piece for the Giants.

Pillar hit 21 homers and drove in 87 runs in 156 games, but there were underlying numbers that concerned the Giants as they looked toward the future. Pillar, who turns 31 in January, ranked second to last among qualified NL hitters with a .293 on-base percentage, walking just 18 times all season at a time when the Giants are preaching plate discipline throughout every level of the organization.

While he made plenty of highlight-reel grabs, Pillar was worth negative-5 Defensive Runs Saved per FanGraphs, ranking 12th out of 14 qualified NL center fielders in the SABR index used for Gold Glove awards.

[RELATED: Giants reportedly looking to hire Indians infield coach Correa]

Pillar seemed to know this fate might be coming at the end of the year, saying he didn’t want to talk too much about the organization’s future because he wasn’t sure what the front office would decide.

There has not been much of a trade market for players in Pillar’s situation, and the Giants’ front office ultimately decided to make a decision that will be unpopular with much of the fan base and a clubhouse that gave the center fielder the Willie Mac Award. It’s one they believe will set them up better for the future, including the 2020 season.

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The San Francisco Giants will have a decision to make regarding shortstop Brandon Crawford this offseason. Will they continue to roll with him as a starter in 2020?
San Francisco Giants fans will always have a soft spot for Brandon Crawford. His beautiful defensive plays and numerous clutch hits over the years will forever be ingrained in the minds of fans who saw the championship-winning teams of the 2010s.

But father time spares no one in the world of sports. And unfortunately, the Giants may just be finding that out with Crawford.

At 32-years-old this past season, Crawford seemingly hit a brick wall at the plate. He batted a career-low .228, had an OBP of just over .300, and finished with a disastrous OPS+ of just 75.

Only three players in the entire MLB (that qualified for rate stats) finished with worse offensive seasons, that being Orlando Arcia, Yolmer Sanchez, and Mallex Smith. The only difference is that all three of those players are 27 years or younger.

They still have time to get better. Meanwhile, Crawford is on the wrong side of 30.

Crawford will be 33-years-old next season and baseball doesn’t exactly have a lengthy history of aging middle infielders getting better as they grow older. And that’s especially true for those coming off as bad of a season as Crawford had.

Simply put, Crawford is a liability at the plate and while his defense remains solid it’s difficult to argue that he’s worth the $15 million he’s set to be paid next season. Unfortunately, getting rid of him isn’t exactly an ideal option.

It’d be near-impossible to find a taker for his contract without sending over a large sum of money as part of the package. And it would be foolish to just designate him for assignment and eat the money.

Crawford is still a very good defender and actually had a positive WAR last season because of his defense. He does still have some value to the team, obviously not at his current price point, but enough value that just flat out DFA-ing him cannot be justified.

That leaves the Giants with two options. Either roll with him as the starter next season and hope that 2019 was an anomaly and not a sign of things to come or find a suitable player to split time with him and limit his at-bats.

Both seem to be realistic options, but the latter is more viable. It’s likely the Giants would turn to an external option to fill that void but don’t be surprised if the team tries to give Mauricio Dubon more time to develop at his natural position.

Dubon is penciled in as a starter at one of the two middle infield positions next season but where he will be playing is undetermined. Second base seems like the most likely destination for the young infielder but the Giants might see that his future is at shortstop.

Perhaps Dubon could split time with Crawford at shortstop while also playing some second base. This would allow Crawford to receive fewer at-bats while he looks to get his swing back on track.

The Giants would likely have to bring in another middle infielder to play second base or turn to internal options within the organization.

Either way, it’s likely that Crawford will be on the team in some capacity next season — whether as a full-time starter or in a reduced role. And while Giants fans may hold on to warm memories of old, it’s important to remember that the past only serves to limit the future.

Crawford will still have a role next season, but it’s still unclear if that role will be as a full-time starter or in a part-time platoon. But his best days are clearly behind him.

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SAN FRANCISCO — Over and over again in recent years, Buster Posey has served as a recruiter for the Giants front office, meeting players like Jon Lester and Shohei Ohtani and telling them the positives of signing to play in San Francisco. Last month, the Giants turned to Posey to be part of the vetting process.

The face of the franchise was one of dozens of team employees who met with Gabe Kapler during the interview process, and he sat in the third row of the press conference to introduce his new manager. Posey was the only Giants player in attendance, sitting alongside third base coach Ron Wotus, who will be part of Kapler’s staff.

“The organization, the Giants organization, means so much to me, and they asked me to be here and I felt like it was important for me to be here and show my support for the new manager,” Posey said afterward.

Posey said he was part of the interview process “to give a player’s perspective,” noting that he’s the only Giant who lives in the Bay Area full-time, so it was easiest for him. But the Giants likely would have tried to involve Posey regardless of where he makes his offseason home. Kapler will need to win over the clubhouse, and he enjoyed his time with Posey last month.

“I found Buster to be very attentive, very aware,” Kapler said. “As I think ahead of how I’m going to make an impact in this clubhouse, I’m going to lean heavily on Buster.”

Posey has known just one big league manager, but he apparently came away from the meeting with positive thoughts about Kapler. Posey, who met with other candidates as well, was said to be on-board with the choice, and he showed that support Wednesday.

The press conference might not have been what Posey expected, though. Kapler, Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris spoke for 58 minutes, and more than half of that time was spent discussing the mishandling of assault allegations when Kapler and Zaidi were in Los Angeles.

“I thought he answered the questions well. I felt like they were genuine (answers),” Posey said of Kapler. “I don’t know Gabe that well at all, but I know from talking to a lot of people that have known him that there’s been a lot of good feedback. I look forward to getting to know him better and hopefully we’ll have a great working relationship.”

The theme of Wednesday’s press conference is not going away anytime soon. Giants officials know that Kapler will be asked about the Dodgers incident again, and it’s likely that at some point — maybe as early as FanFest — some of his players might have to answer to the blowback from Giants fans.

[RELATED: Kapler admits he wasn't popular hire as Giants' next manager]

Posey said that the Los Angeles discussion was not part of his meeting with Kapler because they met so early in the process that “there wasn’t as much of a story around it at the time.” But he got a front-row seat on Wednesday as Kapler answered for his role in the incident.

“My biggest takeaway is the alleged victims are the ones that we have to keep in mind throughout the whole thing,” he said. “We can get into ‘this happened, this happened’ and if somebody was wrong in any way, I think that’s the biggest thing for me, is just trying to figure out why it happened, maybe, and how going forward you can prevent it from happening.

“I think Farhan mentioned giving them support. I mean, I’m a father. It turns my stomach to think about something like that happening to my daughter. That’s the biggest thing, I think, is just figuring out why it happened, how it happened, and doing the best you can to support.

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants stunned much of their fan base Monday when they decided to let go of Kevin Pillar, but the veteran center fielder wasn’t the only notable big leaguer to suddenly find himself a free agent.

Ahead of the deadline to offer contracts to arbitration-eligible players, 56 big leaguers were non-tendered. The list includes top draft picks, All-Stars, and a couple of familiar names. Former Giants Derek Law and Josh Osich were let go and now are on the open market.

Farhan Zaidi has four roster spots open as he heads to the Winter Meetings. That’ll allow him to be active in the Rule 5 Draft if he wants, as well as take a long look at the non-tenders. Here are a few veterans who could make sense for the 2020 roster:

Cesar Hernandez
A switch-hitting second baseman who has experience at other positions, a .352 career on-base percentage, and 29 homers the past two seasons? That’s an intriguing piece even before you consider that Hernandez played for Gabe Kapler the past two seasons.

The Giants brought Donovan Solano back but still could use middle infield depth in case Mauricio Dubon needs more time in the minors. Even if Dubon is the starting second baseman, they could use a left-handed bat to support Dubon, Solano and third baseman Evan Longoria, and Kapler could certainly use a former Phillie or two in the clubhouse to help ease the transition.

Blake Treinen
The former A’s closer might be the most intriguing name on this list. Treinen posted one of the best relief seasons in history in 2018, but his ERA jumped from 0.78 to 4.91 in 2019 as his walk rate more than doubled. Few relievers have better raw stuff than Treinen, and you can bet there will be a strong interest in a pitcher who could be a difference-maker if he finds anything close to his 2018 form. The Giants can offer him a guaranteed shot in the late innings, with a clear path to the closer job if Treinen gets off to a good start.

Kevin Gausman
The fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Gausman is the type of pitcher a lot of front offices will look at and wonder, “What if we could get him on track?”

Gausman, a 28-year-old right-hander, had a 5.72 ERA for the Braves and Reds last season but has had stretches of sustained success as a big-league starter. He had a 2.87 ERA in 10 second-half starts for the Braves just a year ago.

Regardless of what Madison Bumgarner decides, the Giants have enough rotation flexibility to take a shot on a player or two like Gausman. If they hit on one, they could have a heck of a trade chip in July. Aaron Sanchez (Astros) and Taijuan Walker (Diamondbacks) are others who fit this mold. Both are super-talented but coming off injuries.

Jason Adam
Most Giants fans have likely never heard of Adam, a 28-year-old who had a 2.91 ERA in 23 relief appearances for the Blue Jays. The right-hander has been in the minors for seven years but has piled up strikeouts the past two. Sam Selman had a somewhat similar background and found success in Triple-A last season before making it to the big leagues for the Giants.

Jimmy Nelson
The 30-year-old right-hander is just two years removed from posting a 3.49 ERA and 3.05 WHIP for the Brewers. Nelson missed all of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury and struggled in scattered appearances when he returned to the mound last season, but Zaidi likes taking chances on guys like this. The Giants claimed Tyler Anderson after an injury-marred 2019 season and might have had him in their 2020 rotation had he agreed to a deal Monday.

Yimi Garcia
Zaidi has brought in a few former Dodgers — Solano was a success story last year — and Garcia also is familiar with Kapler. The right-hander had a 3.61 ERA and 0.86 WHIP last season, striking out more than a batter per inning. He gave up a ton of homers, but what if MLB unjuices the ball?

Domingo Santana
Some Giants people had an interest in Santana when he was in Milwaukee, but he ended up in Seattle, where he posted a .253/.321/.441 slash line with 21 homers last season. The 27-year-old was worth 3.3 WAR in 2017 but has been worth just one Win Above Replacement the rest of his career, in large part because of serious issues with the glove.

Santana played left field and right in Seattle, but he was worth negative-10 Defensive Runs Saved in left and negative-7 in right.

[RELATED: What Giants CF plans are after Pillar non-tender]

The Giants of old would put anyone with a pulse in left field, but that may not be necessary after the 2019 discoveries of Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson. Still, this club needs right-handed power, and Santana has a career .473 slugging percentage against lefties.

Catcher To Be Named Later
The Giants need to replace Stephen Vogt, and they haven’t seemed all that ready to hand the job to Aramis Garcia. Nobody will be as clean a fit as Vogt, a great clubhouse guy who hit left-handed and could platoon a bit with Buster Posey, but there are a few veterans who became free agents Monday, including Josh Phegley, John Ryan Murphy and Kevin Plawecki.

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Good morning, McCoven!

Dereck Rodriguez may not have had the sophomore season he was hoping for, having gotten shuffled around between being a starter, going to Sacramento and moving to the bullpen. But I bet you this will still go down as one of the best years of his life. Just not for baseball reasons.

Rodriguez got married over the weekend and the Giants shared this photo:

We join them in congratulating the pair and wishing them a happy life together

And yes, before you say it, it’s a slow news day. The wait for Madison Bumgarner continues. The stove is practically an ice box at this point when it comes to the Giants. And there are no signs as of yet that the team will be in the hunt for any free agents this year. So we’re just playing the waiting game while the work gets done behind the scenes. Fun!

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No manager, no GM, but plenty of former Colorado pitchers.

The Giants added another ex-Rockie on Tuesday, plucking righty Rico Garcia off waivers for their final 40-man roster spot, ESPN first reported. Garcia, 25, was Colorado’s No. 20 prospect after briefly debuting last season.

The Giants claimed lefty Tyler Anderson from the Rockies last week, trying to deepen a thin pitching staff. The rotation needs a lot of work, with Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija the only two surefire pieces, and Farhan Zaidi offloaded several bullpen members at the trade deadline.

Garcia was a starter with Colorado, though his stuff (low-90s fastball, curveball and changeup) probably would play better out of relief. Last season, Garcia was dominant in Double-A, going 8-2 with a 1.85 ERA while striking out 87 and walking 23 in 68 innings. Then he was promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque — in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League — and was hammered, posting a 6.90 in 13 starts. He debuted in the majors late in the season and surrendered seven runs in six innings.

Garcia, from Hawaii, likely will be another bullpen option, but it’s possible he enters the rotation mix to compete with Tyler Anderson, Tyler Beede, Dereck Rodriguez, Shaun Anderson and Conner Menez for slots.