Following the Giants’ signing of veteran catcher Nick Hundley to a one-year deal earlier today, San Francisco GM Bobby Evans suggested that Buster Posey’s playing time behind the plate won’t decrease with Hundley on board (via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle). Evans called 120 games behind the plate a “fair target” for Posey, whose time at first base in 2017 figures to be fairly minimal, as was the case in 2016 when he appeared there on 15 occasions. “The more we can keep Buster behind the plate and healthy, the stronger our team is,” said Evans. “The ideal is to keep him back there as much as possible.” Though he’ll turn 30 in March and has long carried a heavy workload, Posey remains one of the most productive offensive catchers and best defensive catchers in all of Major League Baseball. Of Hundley, Evans spoke highly of the experience that the 33-year-old veteran will bring to the Giants in 2017.
A bit more on the Giants…
- Evans also said this afternoon that the Giants’ hope in left field is that either Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker will separate himself from those in competition for the spot and win the job this spring, as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes. “In a perfect world, one guy would win the job,” said the GM. “You’re not necessarily looking for a platoon. Then out of our non-roster invitees, someone would emerge as a fifth outfielder who could be a bat off the bench.” As Baggarly notes, the Giants’ list of non-roster invitees includes former Giants left fielder Mike Morse and veteran Justin Ruggiano — either of whom would satisfy the team’s desire for some right-handed pop off the bench. Evans’ comments are especially interesting given the fact that the 28-year-old Parker is out of minor league options. If Williamson has the clearly superior Spring Training and wins the job, Parker would have to be exposed to waivers before the Giants could send him back to the minors. Williamson, on the other hand, has two minor league options remaining. (You can see the option count for each player, and others, on the Giants’ depth chart at Roster Resource).
- KBO star Jae-gyun Hwang met with the Korean media to discuss his minor league agreement with the Giants earlier today, and Jee-ho Yoo of Korea’s Yonhap News Agency was on hand to get the 29-year-old’s thoughts. Hwang told reporters that he’s been studying English for more than a year now in order to make the transition process between cultures a bit smoother, and he said he’s also made some mechanical tweaks to his swing to better prepare himself for the harder fastballs he’ll be seeing in American ball. He also added that he decided to eliminate bat flips following his home runs in 2016 (and Hwang had a penchant for unleashing some epic flips) to avoid controversy with opposing clubs. While the Giants haven’t made a formal announcement of the move yet, Evans acknowledged (via Baggarly in the above-linked column) that Hwang’s market “was one that he could have taken a number of different deals.” Evans added that the Giants feel fortunate that Hwang accepted their offer and cited the infielder’s improved strikeout and walk rates as factors that intrigued Giants scouts. Hwang hit .335/.394/.570 with 27 home runs and 25 stolen bases in the KBO last year.