Instead, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday, Blanco and the switch-hitting Torres will compete for playing time in left field. Bochy said it will not necessarily be a left-right platoon, even though Torres hit much better against left-handers for the Mets in 2012.
The Giants looked into more seasoned right-handed-hitting outfielders such as Cody Ross, Reed Johnson and Scott Hairston, but they either were not willing to take a part-timer's salary or not what the Giants wanted defensively.
Torres, who turns 35 next month, is attractive because he can play all three outfield positions, including center if Pagan needs a day off or gets hurt.
Giants executive Bobby Evans said the team is not necessarily done shopping, as Sabean wants to keep looking for ways to improve the club and add depth. That includes the bullpen, which could gain former A's and Cubs right-hander Chad Gaudin, whom the Giants signed to a minor-league contract with a spring-training invitation. Gaudin turns 30 in March. He can start or relieve and could fill the Guillermo Mota swingman role.Another interesting datapoint is that the Giants payroll is projected to reach $145M for the 2013 season, about $15M more than last season, as the team pushed to keep the team mostly together.
Plus a good quote from Baer about the Giants strategy:
"Our strategy is just different, developing guys and bringing them through the system and sprinkling in free agents and trades when it makes sense," Giants President Larry Baer said Thursday. "We've done free agents before, but we're trying to do more of a homegrown thing."
Baer, when asked about another major acquisition this winter, said, "Anything is possible," but made it clear the Giants would not do so in reaction to the Dodgers.Andres was his usual bubbly self:
"You can't let what any other team does alter your strategy. That would be a mistake," Baer said. "If we're going to look at the Dodgers spending all this money and say we're going to be free-agent-centric, we don't think that would be smart."
"I cannot stop laughing," Torres said, articulating his joy. "It's such a great feeling."
"I just want to be there," he said. "[Manager Bruce] Bochy knows that I'm going to be ready to play. They know what I'm about."Pavlovic has a nice quote from Evans and thoughts on Belt:
Torres, who became a free agent when the Mets declined to tender him a contract on Nov. 30, drew interest from a handful of teams.
"No disrespect to them, but I told my agents that I wanted to play for the Giants," said Torres, whose deal is worth a reported $2 million. "My heart was there. The Giants were the team that gave me an opportunity."
President of baseball operations Bobby Evans said at the winter meetings that the Giants were hopeful to give some younger players a long look, so this could also open the door for the likes of Francisco Peguero or Roger Kieschnick to contribute at some point. We’re talking about a player that’s going to hit seventh or eighth in the lineup, so the Giants can afford to mix and match a little. I do also suspect that — despite what they’re saying now — the Giants will give Brandon Belt some time in left field next spring. If he turns into a consistent hitter, they’ll need to find a way to keep him in there on days when Buster Posey needs to play first base.ogc thoughts
Welcome back, Mr. Torres! At $2M and one year, he could make a good platoon with Blanco, as he hit well vs. LHP in 2012, though currently that is not the scenario the Giants are looking at. Instead, as they have in seasons past, they have made an effort to leave at least one spot open for some of the young prospects to compete for playing time. With much of the lineup looking set, LF look to be that position in 2013, though apparently the Giants have not shut the door quite yet on finding a Huff-like deal, like the one we got him on in January 2010 (my speculation on this, given how high payroll is already).
As I have been suspecting in posts previously, Peguero and Kieschnick will get a chance to compete for playing time in the Giants outfield, at minimum as one of the bench players. Given the grooming of Noonan for utility duty, I would not be surprised to see him playing LF during the spring, Arias too, as many people will be battling for probably 2-4 bench spots.
And if there is no clear starter in LF, that would open up four spots for competition, 2-3 utility OF or perhaps a third utility MI. I am assuming that Theriot will be resigned - he must be looking for a better team for starting playing time, else why hasn't he signed yet given his interest in returning and the Giants interest in signing him, but if he don't got a spot yet, have to think he'll be baaack, with the other two MIs being Arias and Noonan, should the Giants go there, as Blanco and Torres could share LF, Peguero or Kieschnick could be the third utility OF or since Belt can and should be playing some LF, they could go with Noonan instead.
For Belt will clearly be in the mix as well. Posey being used at 1B in conjunction with giving Hanchez a good number of starts to develop him (as well as rest Posey), would obviously push Belt out of the starting lineup if he didn't play LF during those games. Belt had a nice season, which is amazing given his struggles with avoiding the strikeout and with hitting homers, so I'm really looking forward to him putting together the lessons from the 2012 season with his latent power, and give us an even nicer season in 2013. That would go a long way towards a repeat Division title. And so I don't see Belt sitting down as much in 2013 as he did in 2012, and that means starting him in LF when Posey moves to 1B, instead of resting, when Hanchez starts at C.
I assume Hanchez will again be the personal catcher with Zito again, plus take on Lincecum as well. I was thinking about how much media questioning Posey had to put up with about him having to catch those pitchers in the playoffs, when I realized that perhaps Bochy was playing mind games with Buster. He could have more forcefully let the media know in no uncertain terms how much he backs up his catcher, but maybe he did that in private so that the media questioning would put a fire under Posey to perform even better than he had before. And looking at the World Series, if so, good plan.
Anyway, very happy that Torres is back, he's a good egg and hard worker, a good Giants. Hope he finds again some of what he found in 2010, that would really give our team a boost that might put our offense over the edge and really kick butts regularly in 2013. Even platooning with Blanco might do that, both are good at their respective platoon positions. And both are excellent on defense, so I wonder if Pagan might find himself sitting sometimes late in the season, ostenibly for extra rest for the playoff contention, but also because Torres plays stellar defense in CF.