Gregor Blanco and Nick Hundley have been hired by Major League Baseball as senior directors of baseball operations, as per a league press release. The news would seemingly bring an end to the playing careers of the two veterans, who were teammates on the 2018 Giants, and have 22 years of Major League experience between them.
It was just yesterday that Hundley spoke of negotiations with a few teams and his desire to play in 2020, so while Hundley’s retirement is perhaps a bit of a surprise, the 36-year-old former catcher will hang up his mask and move into a new phase of his baseball career. Originally a second-round pick for the Padres in the 2005 draft, Hundley spent 510 of his 974 career MLB games with San Diego, and also suited up for the Rockies, Giants, Orioles, and A’s over the course of his 12-year career. Oakland was the last official stop for Hundley, as he appeared in 31 games for the A’s during an injury-marred 2019 season, then failed to crack the Phillies’ big league roster after signing a minors deal with Philadelphia last August.
Hundley hit .247/.299/.405 with 93 home runs over 3373 career plate appearances, with an 89 wRC+/91 OPS+ that grades out as pretty solid for a catcher, especially one who usually worked in a platoon or backup role. As with many veteran catchers who have stuck around the sport, Hundley has a good reputation in the clubhouse, and for working well with pitchers and calling games, even mentioned as a potential future candidate to someday become a manager.
Blanco was also a popular figure with teammates and fans over six seasons in San Francisco, as the outfielder went from being an unheralded minor league free agent pickup in the 2011-12 offseason to a big contributor to the Giants’ World Series championship clubs in 2012 and 2014. After three nondescript years with the Braves and Royals and then not even playing in a big league game in 2011, Blanco became a regular in the Giants’ outfield, capable of playing above-average defense at any of the three positions. No discussion of Blanco’s glovework is complete, of course, without mention of his diving grab in the seventh inning of what became a perfect game for Matt Cain on June 13, 2012.
Over 1060 games and appearances in parts of ten Major League seasons, Blanco hit .255/.338/.348 (91 OPS+/93 wRC+) with 26 homers and 122 stolen bases in 3349 plate appearances with the Giants, Braves, Royals, and Diamondbacks. Blanco didn’t play in a big league game in 2019, as he didn’t return to the Show after signing a minor league contract with the Mets last offseason.
The 36-year-old Blanco will now join Hundley within MLB’s organizational hierarchy. As per the press release, Blanco and Hundley will work “as an MLB liaison to Major League Clubs, players and umpires” and “will aid in the administration of on-field discipline and will provide insights regarding on-field rules, initiatives, technology, instant replay and other topics. Blanco and Hundley will participate in MLB’s youth baseball development initiatives in the United States and Latin America, will speak to amateur players at MLB events and will assist in the evaluation of prospective umpires.”
We at MLB Trade Rumors wish Blanco and Hundley all the best in their efforts to help grow and develop the sport, and congratulate them on their fine playing careers.