A couple of weeks ago, it showed up in the transaction logs that the Giants had signed first baseman Ronald Guzmán to a minor league deal. The club today announced to reporters, including Grant Brisbee of The Athletic, a batch of players that would be in camp as non-roster invitees. Among them was Guzmán, though he was listed as both a pitcher and an infielder. Video of Guzmán pitching recently appeared on social media, with the Instagram account Dominican Baseball Solutions sharing some footage back in December.
The fact that the Giants are announcing Guzmán as a pitcher suggests that they are at least somewhat willing to give him a real shot to prove himself in that capacity. He doesn’t yet have any professional experience as a pitcher, though the Instagram post linked above says that he was hitting 96 mph on his fastball, as well as throwing a slider at 82 mph and a changeup at 84.
Guzmán is now 28 years old, so making a transition to pitching will be difficult but the switch is not totally unheard of. Perhaps the best recent example is Anthony Gose, who spent many years as an outfielder but struggled at the plate and converted to pitching in 2017 at the age of 26. He eventually made his way back to the big leagues with Cleveland in 2021 and tossed 27 2/3 MLB innings over the past couple of years. Unfortunately, he required Tommy John surgery late last year and will likely miss the entire 2023 season.
It doesn’t seem like Guzmán is done with the other part of his game, however, since he was also announced as an infielder. He got into just three MLB games with the Yankees last year but hit .255/.344/.478 across 105 Triple-A contests for a wRC+ of 116. The first base position in San Francisco has some uncertainty with Brandon Belt joining the Blue Jays. It seems like LaMonte Wade Jr. will come in from the outfield and see significant time at the cold corner with right-hander J.D. Davis perhaps also involved in a platoon capacity. Guzmán can be in Triple-A to provide some veteran depth while also trying to jumpstart his late-career move to the mound.
Players attempting to play on both sides of the ball have been popping up a few places lately, but with little success outside of Shohei Ohtani. The Rays allowed Brendan McKay to develop as a two-way player for a while though he’s been severely hamstrung by injuries in recent years. Michael Lorenzen dabbled with being a two-way player but has found far more success as a pitcher, while Christian Bethancourt and Matt Davidson were in the opposite camp. White Sox prospect Oscar Colás did some pitching in Cuba but has given that up to be a full-time hitter in recent years. Alex Verdugo has expressed an interest in becoming a two-way player in the future but has been kept as outfielder in his career thus far.
So he can be twice as bad. Cool.
He got a shot with the Yankees last year and was lazy. Didn’t hustle on the base paths. Best of luck.
He’s the Hispanic Greg Bird.
Just be good enough at one-way.
I mean, maybe the thing he’s good at one way is pitching!
deGrom Texas Ranger
He is pretty good at producing outs.
More like one way surgery.
That’s nice. He’ll be able to strike himself out now…
Seeing as how pitchers generally are bad at hitting, maybe he can in fact pitch better than he can hit?
Buster Posey was his college teams closer…
My first thought was he gained some weight so he’d be fat and lazy running to first. Seriously though good luck to him trying to keep the dream alive.
So many haters in the comments, y’all try to play big league ball and put up better numbers. At least he getting on his grind while y’all sit and talk tough. Lol get a life
For real, I’m pumped there’s more guys trying it. Good luck to him.
Okay, Nancy. Relax.
Actually just a high schooler that realizes he has major talent just to be where he is
Bunch of losers, they post their garbage takes and feel better about themselves. What a sad existence.
Haters? That’s such an overused term. A hater is someone that has no reason to dislike someone other than their success. This guy has had no success, partly because he doesn’t hustle. Perhaps you shouldn’t post on this site if you’re just a casual fan that doesn’t pay attention.
You are wrong! Especially given your own definition of “hater”. There is no good reason for anyone on this board to dislike Guzman except he is doing what they wish they were doing. And yes, he has been successful. He is being paid to play badeball and has touched the majors. Given the odds of getting that far, that is success. So yes, the label of “hater” (as you define it) fits perfectly.
48 thumbs up. Have to say that might be the most I’ve ever seen for a comment.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Haven’t been on this site long have you “grasshopper”?
Quite a few years, actually. I just never really paid attention to them until I started posting.and one of my comments got over 30 thumbs up, to my surprise.
The Next Ohtani LOL
Bumgarner could have been first in this if the DH came to the NL sooner.
I feel like Guzman might be the next John Burkett more than the next Carlos Zambrano
Im eagerly awaiting the rash of postion players that also serve as at least a semi-legit relief pitcher. Not all of them have to be starters.
After Ohtani signs his contract I’m sure a lot of young players will consider it.
I concur. It would be nice to have a two-way guy who can be somewhat competitive on the mound, even in low-leverage and mop-up duty. The novelty of a position player coming into pitch has worn it’s welcome over the last few years. You’ll get a few guys who can throw 85+ MPH, but most are just up there to throw 50 MPH batting practice pitches and get through the last inning. Like you said, they don’t all have to be starters, but they also don’t have to be high-leverage guys. Just someone that can come in and throw some competitive offerings that batters actually have to try and hit.
He may be more useful on a baseball mound than a batters box. This is most likely a waste of his time though.
Doing This probably cost Cristian Bethancourt a couple years of service time at this point. He’s back in the MLB as a catcher after flaming out in his transition to be a reliever.
Odds are way stacked against him. But cheers to a reverse Rick Ankiel!
He very well could outbid Ohtani next offseason
What is Ohtani bidding on?
A signed ball by ohtani when Clemens struck him out. Guzman will in fact get it.
I just don’t see what’s wrong with having a position player or two who have enough regular pitching experience to get by in a mop up situation, and thereby save innings on your regular relief corp.
I really hate the term “two-way player” because it implies that only pitchers play one way. Every single player on the team except for designated hitters and pitchers are two way players.
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
Baseball is split by offense and defense like the NFL. It is split by position players and pitchers. So to be a “two-way player” you would have to be competent as a position player and as a pitcher, not as a hitter and a defender.
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
I know what it means man. I am just saying it belittles all defenders other than pitchers.
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
I just explained how it doesn’t. It only belittles them in your mind.
Technically pitchers are in the field and do play defense, so you are not correct. Pitchers if batting also would be doing more than everyone.
How is that? Pitcher is a defensive position same as right fielder or third baseman. How are pitchers doing more if they play defense alongside everyone and bat in the same order?
Wait, you really don’t understand what pitchers are doing that the other defenders aren’t? You know… like, pitch?
Two way players are in a tough spot because they have to be good at one skill and at least average at the other. Just having Average Replacement WAR ratings for hitting and pitching are not good enough to justify a roster spot unless the alternative is a less than average one way player.
Relief pitching for a two way player might be difficult. Generally you want to use a reliever two or three games in a row and they need time to warm up. If a guy is playing a position when the starter gets in trouble, how is he supposed to warm up properly? The rules for two way players aren’t very friendly for two way relievers.
Idk, I’m okay with a low-leverage reliever/bench guy having a .650 OPS and 4.50 ERA. A lot of those innings are going to come in mop up duty where it doesn’t matter, and most of those plate appearances are not going to come reguarly. There’s always going to be one low-leverage/mop-up reliever and sub-par hitting bench bat on every team, so why not it be just one player and save the roster spot?
Why would you need to be that good to be worth a roster spot? If anything, the bar is lower than for other players, since you get to combine a hitter and a pitcher into a single roster spot, which is now especially important with the 13-pitcher limit. You just need be an adequate MLB player at both skills.
All “two-way” players should be forced to be listed as pitcher only so they count towards the roster limit on pitchers. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with rostering extra pitchers by pretending that they’re some special unicorn the rules don’t apply to. Position players aren’t allowed to come in and pitch unless it’s a big blowout, and it should stay that way. If a guy like this gets rostered as a relief pitcher who occasionally pinch hits or gets a spot start that’s fine, but more likely the team will try and pretend he’s a bench player who they want to use to supplement their bullpen ranks above the limit because special rules apply to two way players and that’s now being exploited.
D2323 what you are saying is true about exploiting the rules. Exploiting isn’t cheating though. So teams will leverage whatever isn’t covered by the language if they think there is an advantage. The way the rules are now does allow the subterfuge of listing a live arm as a bench bat but we haven’t had to cross that bridge yet. I welcome that moment though.
put it in the books
If they were to do that then they’d be short on the bench so it would hurt them on the other side of the ball.
Good point books. Roster construction and managing sounds a lot tougher when the 2 way guy has acceptable but less than elite skills. With Otani you just pencil him into the DH or pitcher spot no doubt about it. With lesser 2 way position guys, the platoon splits, fielding metrics and all the pitching data about him make for a mountain of data to evaluate to figure out how a particular player might fit on your 26 man roster.
It doesn’t hurt them on the bench nearly as much as it benefits the pitching staff, going short on the bench for a couple days isn’t that big a deal, teams do it all the time when a guy has a day-to-day injury. Teams rarely burn their entire bench in a game, and even if they had to the issue is alleviated by having a bullpen guy who can pinch hit or run or play the field if you really need to.
Say Guzman makes the team as the 26th man, technically rostered as a position player. The only situation where this leaves the team shorthanded is if they use him to relieve early-ish in the game, he pitches and then comes out, and then later in same game multiple position players get injured/ejected and since they’re short on the bench they have one less replacement. Extremely rare set of circumstances which doesn’t really effect the team that greatly since they just call up more bodies from AAA the next day. On the other hand, the benefits of having an extra reliever listed technically as a position player are enormous. You have an extra guy to eat innings and save your more valuable relievers, an extra guy to play matchups with, an extra guy in case of long extra innings.
In other words, that player would be a 14th pitcher in reality which skirts the rules. There has to be some clear demarcation in the minimum value of the position player part then. I mean this player would have to demonstrate that he has some valuable position player skills too. Hanser Alberto did this for the Dodgers last year but no one wants him for his arm. Guzman is primarily a 1st baseman so he would be a mop up guy unless they find out that he’s got a really live arm. We shall see.
Of course they get special rules, as that’s one of the main reasons to having two-way players in the first place! If you find a guy rare enough to be good enough both ways, then you deserve to get the benefit of rostering an extra pitcher.
They also can’t just pretend he’s a bench player, as he’s required to have enough PAs and IPs to qualify as a two-way player.
Bohs and Os
With the universal DH there’s no reason to be a 2 way player. Unless you are a mvp candidate like ohtani.
You also get the benefit of technically rostering a 14th pitcher.
Shohei Ohtani 2.0…
If you can build a roster of two way players the depth of a 25 man roster be insane!!!
I always remember Jose Canseco’s pitching injury when the two-way is mentioned.
Ohtani Part Deaux can be found at your local Big Lots store. Don’t be fooled by imitations. Get yours while they last.
Cubs drafted a young two way player that plans to stay that way at least for now. Naizer Mule(sp?). Excited to see him progress
And who can forget Anthony Gose? Other than the Gose family, of course
Lloyd McClendon sure doesn’t forget Gose!
Can’t wait to see who becomes MLBs first 3 way player
What is a 3 way player?
Is that someone who can also play defense when he’s not pitching, something even Ohtani can’t do?
Maybe he should try and be a one way player first
C Yards Jeff
Article seems to be speculative. Don’t see anywhere in it where the Giants are stating they are interested in using him as a two way player. I think they like his bat more than his fielding and then there is the intrigue with his 96 heater. They’re checking him out … and on the cheap. Good for them.
Rick Ankiel doesn’t get enough love in these two way player conversations
the jokes are funny, but wouldn’t you want to see if your 6’5″ LH 96 plays before you hang em up? better than thinking what if for the next couple decades. admire what gose did. alexei ogando was an OF and converted successfully. let the guy do what he wants
Except that he wasn’t. He was a pitcher, then transitioned to the OF. A 2 way player does both, at the same time.
Yes, but the article also made mention of players who transitioned like Anthony Gose.
Not to be rude, but don’t you have to perfect one side first?
Seems like much of society is going two way these days , just a reflection I guess lol good for you for coming out Ronny
Ooops did I misread the headline lmao
With the enormous break out year in 2018 and every year thereafter – switching to pitching looked like the right way to go for him
Has a pulse ✔️
deGrom Texas Ranger
Most pitchers in my recreational baseball league were also two-way players. They couldn’t throw more than 2 innings, so they would be position players at least a few innings. In that regard, I’m also a two-way player. Just don’t ask about my ERA or OPS.
His pick off move to first should be interesting when he throws the ball to himself.
There’s a graphic they put on social media. It literally has him in a category of his own that says “Two-Way Players”.
Guzman seemed like a good dude when he came up with the Rangers. He just didn’t hit well enough to be our first baseman.
I hope this works out for him.
Hard to walk with four balls
If you have the ability to pitch at the MLB level then there really is little reason to develop as a hitter. Your value is already there.
When 2 way players get a hit they should have to run the bases clockwise…..maybe not. 🙂
Probably a good idea for a giant first baseman who never hit more than 16 hr in season..
Sill waiting for a three-way player. Four if they own the team.
Owner, pitcher, hitter, skipper?
Sucker, eater, pitcher, catcher!
So much hate in the comments for this guy, I hope this guy has success, who knows he maybe better as a pitcher than he ever was as a hitter and makes a career for himself as a relief pitcher who can pinch hit occasionally or fill in for injuries.
Anything to shake up the excitement status quo of 3 outcome hitters and 100mph flame throwers who can’t hit the broad side of the barn is good with me.