Photo Credit: (Creative Commons user “e”)
The San Francisco Giants bring back another face from the past by signing outfielder Gregor Blanco to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Blanco played with the Giants from 2012-16.
Before the 2012 season, Blanco signed a minor league deal with the Giants and made the team out of Spring Training at the age of 28, acting as the fourth outfielder. On August 15, all-star left fielder Melky Cabrera was suspended for testing positive for testosterone and was automatically suspended 50 games without debate, opening up the door for Blanco to start.
Two months before this, Blanco made himself known to the baseball world. All-star right-handed pitcher Matt Cain had a perfect game going through six against the Houston Astros and in the top of the seventh inning, ‘strops outfielder Jordan Schafer came a couple feet from ending that. Schafer hit a deep fly ball to deep right center field, the area where Giants fans call “Triple’s Alley”. Most people would think triple off the bat, but Blanco, in right field, was playing so far in the gap that he made a diving catch at the warning track to save the perfect game. Blanco started down the stretch in 2012 and through the playoffs and eventual World Series wins, contributed by providing great defense and one of the greatest bunts in Giants history.
In 2014, it was all the same situation. Center fielder Angel Pagan went down with a season ending back injury, paving the way for Blanco to play in the playoffs again. His memorable moment in this run was dropping down yet another bunt in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals. The ball was fielded by Cardinals’ left-handed reliever Randy Choate , who gunned it down the right field line to win the game for the Giants.
After a poor 2016 season, Blanco was a free agent and was signed by the rival Arizona Diamondbacks and was a backup outfielder for the Wild Card snakes. Blanco hit .246/.337/.357 with three home runs, 13 runs batted in, 15 stolen bases, and great defense.
Blanco will be an add to the already great depth that the Giants have in their outfield. He will compete for an outfield spot along with versatile Gorkys Hernandez, Austin Slater, Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, and a handful of others.