In the last month the Giants have made a number of small moves, none of which alone inspired me to write anything, but are now numerous enough for comment.
The Giants signed catcher Nick Hundley for what has been reported as a $2 million guarantee. The move surprised me a bit at the time it was announced, in that I didn’t think that another back-up catcher would be a priority with the emergence of Trevor Brown and the minor league signings of 4-A catchers Tim Federowicz and Josmil Pinto earlier this off-season.
Signing Hundley also forced the Giants to designate infielder Ehire Adrianza for assignment, who was quickly claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers then promptly placed Adrianza on waivers again, and he was claimed by the Minnesota Twins. Either way, the Giants lose a useful 4-A player entering his age 27 season.
However, just as you can’t have enough pitching, you probably can’t have enough back-up catchers, since catchers tend to get hurt a lot. It’s safe to say, though, that at age 33 Hundley won’t hit as well at AT&T Park as he did at Coors Field last year.
The Giants have signed a couple of relief pitchers on minor league deals, David Hernandez and Bryan Morris. I definitely like Hernandez better. He looks like the kind of strong-armed pitcher (494 Ks in 487 career major league innings), who has pitched mostly in hitters’ parks and could get a huge bump in performance as a right-handed pitcher at AT&T Park.
The Giants typically sign at least one reliever on a minor league deal each off-season who really helps the team the next season. The odds are good in my mind that one of Hernandez, Morris or Neil Ramirez, whom I wrote about briefly earlier this off-season, will be that relief pitcher in 2017.
Most recently, the Giants have signed veteran infielder Aaron Hill to a minor league deal. With the recent signing of Jae-gyun Hwang, I didn’t think the Giants would sign another infielder. Obviously, the team thought otherwise, and Hill also replaces the now gone Adrianza.
Hill is certainly a veteran presence of the kind the Giants typically value, and he has some right-handed power potential, although he really hasn’t hit for much power since the 2013 season. The Giants could still use another right-handed hitting outfielder with pop to compete in Spring Training, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen at this point.