The Giants are signing infielder Alex Blandino to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league Spring Training, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Blandino was outrighted off the Reds’ 40-man roster at the end of the season, making him eligible to sign a minors deal during the lockout.
Blandino has appeared in three of the past four seasons with Cincinnati, tallying 279 cumulative plate appearances. He’s a .226/.339/.291 hitter with a pair of home runs in that time. The right-handed hitting Blandino has been exceptionally patient at the plate, only offering at 34% of pitches he’s seen. That’s around 13 points lower than the league average, a plan of attack that frequently sees him working deep counts.
It’s little surprise that he’s walked in a strong 11.1% of his career plate appearances, but that patience has also caused some fairly significant strikeout problems. Despite possessing decent bat-to-ball skills, Blandino has punched out in a very high 29.7% of his trips to the dish because of the frequency at which he’s taken pitches both inside and outside the strike zone.
Blandino doesn’t bring much power to the table, but he owns a .235/.374/.369 line across parts of four Triple-A seasons. He’s also capable of bouncing all around the infield, having started games at all four spots on the dirt during his time with the Reds. The former first-round pick also made cameos in the corner outfield and occasionally in mop-up relief during blowouts.
As Slusser points out, Blandino is a Santa Clara County native who played his college ball at Stanford. The 29-year-old will look to return to the Bay Area by playing his way onto the Giants’ active roster next spring.