Jan. 30: FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that Blanco would earn $1MM upon making the MLB roster and can pocket another $500K based on plate-appearance incentives.
Jan. 29: The Giants and Gregor Blanco have agreed to terms on a contract that will bring the outfielder back to San Francisco. Blanco himself announced the reunion on his Instagram account. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets that it’s a minor-league deal.
Blanco, 34, will return to a Giants team with whom he played from 2012-2016 and won two World Series rings. During his years in San Francisco, he was a roughly league-average hitter, slashing .259/.338/.360 (99 wRC+) across 2,054 plate appearances. A good portion of Blanco’s value came from his outfield defense and base-stealing ability. Though he never hit well during the postseason, he managed to walk 11.9% of the time during October of 2012 and 2014 combined, and crossed the plate a total of 20 times in 33 games.
Blanco’s tenure with the Giants game to an end following a 2016 season that saw him hit the DL in August with a right shoulder injury. The Diamondbacks elected to scoop him up on a minor-league deal last offseason, and the team ended up selecting his contract on May 5th following the transfer of the injured Shelby Miller to the 60-day DL. Blanco went on to hit .246/.337/.357 across 256 plate appearances while playing a reserve outfielder role.
Though Blanco is now 34 and his speed isn’t what it once was, he still has a shot to split playing time with the newly-signed Austin Jackson in center field. Indeed; a platoon combination of the two makes a lot of sense; the left-handed-hitting Blanco is a 98 wRC+ hitter against righties for his career, while his mark against lefties is 13 points beneath that. Meanwhile the right-handed-hitting Jackson absolutely demolished lefites last year, to the tune of a .357/.440/.574 batting line.