Gregor Blanco

SFG: San Francisco Giants Mailbag: Lincecum, LF Power, Leadoff Spot

Apr 6, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks during opening day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 6, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks during opening day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants started off the 2015 season on Monday with their first game of a three-game series on the road against the Arizona Diamondbacks. One game down, 161 to go.

In this week’s Giants Mailbag, we will discuss expectations for Tim Lincecum in 2015, the lack of power from the left field “platoon”, and how Nori Aoki will do as the leadoff hitter, compared to Angel Pagan.

Click here to read the rest of the story at Golden Gate Sports.

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SFG: Assessing Gregor Blanco’s Value as a Fourth Outfielder

Mar 4, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco (7) looks on before a spring training baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 4, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco (7) looks on before a spring training baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Gregor Blanco is always ready to step in for the San Francisco Giants. In the past few years, Blanco has entered the regular season as the fourth outfielder. In past offseasons, the Giants have either found another outfielder that is more of an offensive threat, which makes them a stronger candidate for a starting role and moves Blanco to the fourth outfielder role, or the Giants have found someone to platoon with Blanco.

Click here to read the rest of the story at Golden Gate Sports.

SFG: San Francisco Giants: Aoki or Blanco in Left Field?

Oct 5, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Nori Aoki (23) prior to game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game against the Los Angels Angels at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 5, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Nori Aoki (23) prior to game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game against the Los Angels Angels at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants have reportedly agreed to terms today on a two-year, $7.5 million contract with Gregor Blanco. With this new contract, Blanco avoids arbitration and is set to make $3.6 million in 2015 and $3.9 million in 2016.

In addition to this new deal with Blanco, the Giants also signed Nori Aoki on Friday to a one-year, $4 million deal with the possibility for $1.5 million in performance bonuses. The deal also includes a $5.5 million option for the 2016 season.

With these signings, the Giants appear to be done with their left field search. Aoki could be the starting left fielder as of now, but it’s also quite possible that Bruce Bochy decides to implement some sort of left field platoon with these two outfielders, as one is more defensive-minded and one is more offensive-minded.

Click here to read the rest of the story at Golden Gate Sports.

San Francisco Giants: 2014 Preview

Mar 12, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) is taken out of the game by manager Bruce Bochy (15) against the Chicago White Sox at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The San Francisco Giants have one mission for the 2014 season. The Giants hope to prove that the 2013 season was a fluke and that they’re ready to contend for not just a playoff spot but also another World Series title.

Here’s a preview of the Giants’ 2014 season:

San Francisco Giants: 6 Players Who Need A Great Spring

Feb 26, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Francisco Giants pitcher Jose Casilla (72) stands with his teammates during opening ceremonies at Scottsdale Stadium prior to their exhibition game with the Oakland Athletics. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Spring Training is finally underway for the San Francisco Giants. They had their first Cactus League game yesterday, and it’s time for players to start competing for playing time or a spot on the 25-man roster.

Here are six players on the Giants who have something to prove and who need to have a great spring:

San Francisco Giants: Is Michael Morse The Answer?

Sep 20, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Michael Morse (38) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The San Francisco Giants have finally found their everyday left fielder. The Giants agreed to terms with Michael Morse on a one-year contract worth $6 million plus incentives based on plate appearances, which could lead to $3 million more. Morse has played nine seasons in MLB for the Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles. Morse, who will be 32 on Opening Day next season, is expected to be the starting left fielder for the Giants, but he can also play right field, first base, and even some third base.

Last season, he struggled at the plate because of a wrist injury as he hit .215, had a .270 OBP, and a .381 slugging percentage. He did have 13 home runs and 27 RBI though in 88 games. The Giants are hoping that he can re-create the great production he had in the 2011 season with the Nationals when he hit .303 with 31 home runs, 95 RBI, and he had a .360 OBP and a .550 slugging percentage.

“For me, I thought he was our best option and it’s certainly what I wanted,” Bruce Bochy said. “I’ve always liked him. He’s a threat up there.”

Morse brings many things to the Giants that they severely lacked last season. First of all, the Giants needed a left fielder with right-handed power. One of Morse’s strongest qualities is his immense power. Last season, the Giants had some of the worst production from left field in all of MLB. Giants’ left fielders hit just five home runs last season, the fewest in the majors, and had a collective .651 OPS, the lowest of any position for the Giants.

AT&T Park is known as the ballpark where power goes to die. However, Bochy believes that Morse will be able to translate his power to the confines of AT&T Park, even to the more daunting right field side.

Another quality that Morse brings to the Giants is his versatility. He’s not known for his defensive prowess, but his ability to play multiple positions will prove to be advantageous for the Giants. He was drafted as a shortstop, and, as mentioned before, he can play both corner outfield spots, first base, and third base. Bochy has said that Morse will be in the starting lineup every day, mostly at left field, but also sometimes at one of those other positions.

Lastly, Bochy believes that Morse will be a great fit in the clubhouse. Bochy knows Morse already, because he coached him on a traveling All-Star team in Taiwan in 2011. Bochy commended Morse’s impressive work ethic and energetic personality. He seems like a Hunter Pence-esque type of presence in the clubhouse and on the field, mostly because of his quirkiness and awkwardness.

Aug 4, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Michael Morse (38) doubles in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants have a history of acquiring players who are coming off of a poor year, production-wise, and getting fairly good production from them the next year. The Giants saw this pattern when they acquired Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, and Pat Burrell in 2010. They’re hoping to receive this same type of result with Morse.

“He’s a great for us and what we need — a right-handed bat with power,” Bochy said. “I guess you could make a comparable to when we acquired Pat Burrell in 2010. When this guy is healthy, and he is now, he can do some damage. It’s well worth any risk to bring him aboard.”

The Giants will have many options in terms of their batting order. Bochy said that he likes putting Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Pence, and Pablo Sandoval in the number three through six spots in the batting order, but this might change with the addition of Morse. Bochy said that Morse could possibly hit fifth, sixth, or seventh. He likes keeping Belt in the three-hole, but depending on pitching matchups and who is hitting well at a given time, the lineup could change day-to-day.

The Giants will have a starting lineup that will look something like: Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Belt 1B, Posey C, Pence RF, Sandoval 3B, Morse LF, Crawford SS, and the pitcher’s spot. If everyone is healthy, this is a pretty strong lineup. The Giants will certainly have more power than they had last year with the addition of Morse, and they will have a good balance of speed, power, opposite-field hitting, etc.

In addition to a better starting lineup, another great part of the Morse signing is that it allows Gregor Blanco to come off the bench. Blanco was over-exposed last season because he had to play an everyday role. Blanco was supposed to platoon with Andres Torres, but when Pagan went down with his hamstring injury, Blanco was forced to start every day, which affected his offense.

Blanco will most likely be the Giants’ fourth outfielder and come into games as a defensive replacement in the late innnings for Morse. Since he can play all four outfield spots, he will earn some spot starts too, in order to give a rest day to any of the outfielders. This is the best role for Blanco, and he will be a valuable player off the bench for the Giants this upcoming season.

Morse has been labeled as injury-prone, but if he can play the majority of next season, he will be an excellent fit for this Giants team. As Bochy said, Morse will prove to be worth the risk. He provides some much-needed power, versatility, and a strong work ethic. If healthy, Morse could be the answer to many of the Giants’ problems from last season.

Will the San Francisco Giants Use Another Left Field Platoon in 2014?

Jun 13, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco (7) reacts in the dugout after scoring a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The San Francisco Giants headed into the offseason with a couple important areas to address. First of all, they had to upgrade their starting rotation. To address this, they signed Tim Hudson, re-signed Tim Lincecum, and re-signed Ryan Vogelsong. Next on the list is to address the left field situation.

The Giants are stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place in terms of finding a left fielder. Giants management is wary about spending the big bucks to get a big-name free agent like Shin-Soo Choo. They’re also wary about giving up some of their top prospects, such as Kyle Crick, Edwin Escobar and Chris Stratton, in order to trade for a serviceable everyday left fielder.

In addition to these problems, there aren’t many outfielders currently on the market that could be signed at a lower price level. The Giants have been connected to some of them, such as Brett Gardner and Jeff Baker, but those are purely just speculative rumors.

It seems as if the Giants will ultimately go with another left field platoon this season. Giants fans might not be happy about it, but the Giants seem content about going into the 2014 season with a platoon of Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez.

Giants fans know what Blanco can bring to the Giants. His strongest asset is his superior defense. He’s fast so he can cover a lot of ground, he can play all three outfield positions and he has a strong arm. Offensively, he failed to find that consistency that the Giants needed from him when Angel Pagan went down with his hamstring injury.

Jun. 9, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: San Francisco Giants outfielder Juan Perez against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are actually a lot of similarities between how Blanco and Perez play. Like Blanco, Perez is very talented defensively. He can also play all three outfield spots, he also has great range and he also has a strong, accurate arm.

Offensively, Perez would provide the right-handed bat in the platoon. When he was first called up by the Giants last season, he struggled to find consistency. However, when he was called up again in September, he started to feel more comfortable at the plate. In September, he hit .277 with one home run and five RBI. Overall, he hit .333 with runners in scoring position and he hit .333 against right-handed pitchers.

Both Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean have said that their main focus right now in the winter meetings is to find a left fielder. However, Bochy also said that he was very impressed with Perez’ play at the end of the 2013 season and that a Blanco-Perez platoon “is a pretty good safety valve. I’m pretty comfortable that if nothing happens, at least we have him.”

If the Giants do decide to go with a Blanco-Perez platoon in 2014, it will certainly improve their defense. Torres was the weak link, defensively, in last season’s left field platoon with Blanco, and Perez is certainly a defensive upgrade from Torres.

Offensively, it’s unclear if Perez could consistently contribute at the plate over the course of a full season. Also, since he’d be splitting starts with Blanco, he’d have to adjust to not playing everyday and not getting consistent at-bats. This would be a tough adjustment for a young hitter, so, even though Perez would be an upgrade defensively, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about his ability to hit consistently.

A Blanco-Perez platoon might not be ideal, but Giants management seems confident that Perez can continue his hot streak from 2013 and carry some of that momentum into the 2014 season, if he does in fact form a platoon with Blanco.