SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–Farhan Zaidi has a sort.
He confirmed it along with his first free agent signing –switch-pitcher Pat Venditte– and he’s continued to point out it with every subsequent addition to the Giants roster.
“They had been one of many first groups to achieve out,” Venditte mentioned of the Giants. “They had been within the first wave, the primary couple days of free company.”
As dozens of journeymen free brokers watch for the cellphone to ring this February, a reliever with restricted massive league expertise who occurs to be essentially the most versatile pitcher within the sport discovered a house moderately simply.
It’s no shock that house is the one Zaidi is transforming.
Throughout his tenure because the Dodgers basic supervisor, Zaidi established a repute for hoarding multi-positional belongings and pitchers who may flip from the rotation to the bullpen at a second’s discover. Zaidi views the 40-man roster like an in-progress mosaic and he’ll put on down the waiver wire if it provides his product even the slightest enchancment.
So when Zaidi was employed, many within the business linked the Giants to one of many offseason’s prime free brokers, Marwin Gonzalez. With a profession .737 OPS and the flexibility to play each defensive place exterior of catcher, Gonzalez can do every thing besides throw with each arms.
The Giants checked in with Gonzalez’s agent, Scott Boras, earlier this offseason, however on Friday, a number of studies mentioned Gonzalez had finalized a two-year, $21 million deal to affix the Minnesota Twins.
The phrases of Gonzalez’s contract got here as a serious shock, however the reality he didn’t land in San Francisco regardless of Zaidi’s presence isn’t as a lot of a shock. Many consultants thought Gonzalez would command a three-to-four 12 months deal within the $40-$60 million vary, however in a depressed free agent market, Gonzalez did not generate extra curiosity.
Within the hours earlier than Gonzalez’s signing, the Giants had been nonetheless thought-about a potential vacation spot, however Zaidi has a number of different in-house candidates to fill an identical position.
Essentially the most comparable participant in camp to Gonzalez is perhaps Yangervis Solarte, a five-year veteran who signed a minor league cope with a non-roster invite to spring coaching. Solarte has appeared at each infield place and in addition earned enjoying time in left area, a spot the Giants plan to attempt him at this spring.
“Solarte is a man who can play anyplace within the infield, he’s performed some outfield and he’s a switch-hitter,” Zaidi mentioned. “Even when these guys don’t have an outlined daily position popping out of spring coaching, they discover a method to get 300-to-400 at-bats.”
Solarte is one among a number of multi-positional gamers competing for a roster spot in Giants camp, as he joins fellow switch-hitting infielders Alen Hanson and Pablo Sandoval. Although Zaidi doesn’t anticipate any member of the trio to safe a beginning job at one place, their means to create extra favorable matchups by hitting from either side of the plate ought to provide supervisor Bruce Bochy some extra mid and late-game flexibility.
“Whether or not I’m a starter or coming off the bench, I don’t pay a lot consideration,” Solarte mentioned by means of Spanish language translator Erwin Higueros. “I do know what my skills are, I do know what I can do and I do know I can assist the staff. So no matter they need to do, I’m okay with it.”
Solarte hit 16 residence runs within the first half of final season with Toronto, however cratered later within the 12 months as he handled an indirect harm. His profession on-base proportion and on-base plus slugging are almost an identical to Gonzalez’s numbers, however he’s not almost as sturdy of a defender and he’s coming off the worst season of his profession.
The Giants acquired Solarte optimistic that final season’s struggles had been an outlier, but when he doesn’t meet expectations, Zaidi is hopeful Hanson can seize a Gonzalez-type position. In his first season with the Giants, Hanson appeared at 5 positions and showcased blazing velocity, however his glove is a serious query mark and his means to hit from the precise facet is a weak spot.
At 26, Hanson nonetheless has loads of time to turn into a extra full participant, particularly if the Giants reward him with extra vital alternatives this 12 months.
“He clearly got here on final 12 months and did numerous thrilling issues and we expect he can take a step ahead this season,” Zaidi mentioned. “We see him transferring round loads.”
The Giants had payroll area beneath the luxurious tax threshold restrict to signal Gonzalez, however with a handful of different versatile gamers in camp competing for the same position, they opted to go. Gonzalez would have made loads of sense given Zaidi’s preferences and observe file, however for now the Giants will hope Solarte, Hanson and even Sandoval could make up for what they might have misplaced.