EXTRA BAGGS: Add another animal to Giants' menagerie


EXTRA BAGGS: Add another animal to Giants' menagerie

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Add another animal to the Giants menagerieof panda and giraffe hats. Except this one requires an aquarium.

Gregor Blanco, as it turns out, is the White Shark to histeammates.

Thats what they call me in Venezuela, he said.

Pablo Sandoval made sure the nickname came stateside. Blancomeans white in Spanish, of course. And his team in Venezuela, Tiburones,means the Sharks. So there you go.

Things have gone swimmingly for Blanco this spring and hesexpected to get a lot of time as the Giants fourth outfielder unless heforces himself into a larger role. Theres still time for that. Theres timefor the Giants Dugout Store to place an order for shark hats, too.

While they're at it ... if Aubrey Huff is going to play some left field this season, the water buffalo hats might serve a purpose, too.

Ive been watching Buster Posey carefully all spring,looking for any sign of hesitation because of his left ankle. Early on, hedefinitely took it easy while running bases.

But Im not seeing it now. Posey caught seven inningsMonday, seven more on Tuesday and doubled in three at-bats as the first basemanWednesday. Then he walked through the clubhouse without a hint of a limp.

The grind of a 162-game season is much, much different thanthe semi-controlled environment of spring training. But based on what I expected the day I arrived in Scottsdale,Posey looks terrific thus far. By extension, that means the Giants are having avery, very good spring.

If I told you in early February that Brandon Crawford washaving perhaps the best, most consistent at-bats of anyone in Giants camp,youd probably jump out of a second-story window in terror.

Well, Crawford is having perhaps the best, most consistentat-bats of anyone in Giants camp. And I mean that in a non-defenestrating kindof way. He hit a home run his second of the spring and also reached on abunt single Wednesday. Sure, the Giants just want him to catch the ball and be competitive as aNo.8 hitter. But I guarantee you there will be many teams who will do worse in theeighth spot.

Madison Bumgarner wont face the Dodgers until May. The boysin blue brought over just two regulars to Scottsdale Stadium on Wednesday. But the Giants coachingstaff still wanted to hide Bumgarner in the minor leagues.

That just wasnt a very considerate thing to do -- at least if yourean A-baller with the As. Bumgarner buzzsawed them in seven shutout innings,allowing two hits and striking out eight.

I felt like I got some really good work in, saidBumgarner, after throwing close to 90 pitches. I threw all my pitcheseverywhere. Ive got a good feel for everything.

It was rather stunning earlier this spring when the Giantsbegan to line up Bumgarner, all of 22 years old, as the No.2 starter in betweenTim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Thats where hell open the season. But hes beentheir best starting pitcher this spring, and he looks determined to avoid hisbumpy beginnings from last year.

Is he feeling better prepared than ever?

Ill agree with that, he said. I feel Ive done all my work.Whatever happens from here is whatever, but I wouldnt change anything.

Brett Pill and Freddy Sanchez accompanied Bumgarner to minorleague camp and spent the day getting at-bats. Theres still no timetable forSanchez to play second base, though.

Hector Sanchez caught Bumgarner and got some at-bats, too

Brian Wilson was supposed to pitch Wednesday, but BruceBochy insisted his closer was fine. Wilson had said he wasnt certain whetherhe would be on the schedule for Wednesday or Thursday. Apparently, itsThursday.

Now if Wilson takes another day off well, lets just saywell keep an eye on it.

Omar Vizquel made the Blue Jays roster as a utilityinfielder, and baseball is the better for it. It'll be his 24th year in the bigleagues. Hes got my Hall of Fame vote.

If Vizquel plays in 92 games, hell become the ninth playerin major league history to reach 3,000 games played in his career. The othersare Pete Rose, Carl Yastrzemski, Hank Aaron, Rickey Henderson, Ty Cobb, EddieMurray, Stan Musial and Cal Ripken.

The Iron Man barely made it, playing in 3,001 games. WillieMays played in 2,992.

So there are no surprises, (ha!), here is Thursday nightslineup at Texas: Blanco CF, Theriot SS, Sandoval 3B, Pill 1B, Huff DH,Christian RF, Belt LF, Burriss 2B, Whiteside C. Cain SP.

A crowd formed around Ryan Theriot in the clubhouse as he pulledout a catalogue with photos of the World Series ring hell receive from the St.Louis Cardinals. Hell probably have to wait until May 16 to slip it on,though. Thats when the Cards arrive in San Francisco.

There were no catalogues floating around the Giants clubhouse last spring, when the players wereeagerly awaiting their 2010 World Series rings. Then-owner Bill Neukom kept theTiffany design secret until players opened their powder blue boxes on thefield.

The Giants didn't make it back to the playoffs to defend their title. Perhaps that partially explains why every single player who saw Theriot looking at the cataloguestopped to take a peek. Thats a pretty good sign that these guys are hungry toget back again this season.

What the Giants’ farm system lost in trade for Andrew McCutchen

What the Giants’ farm system lost in trade for Andrew McCutchen

San Francisco’s second splash of its offseason reloading plan came to life Monday with the acquisition of outfielder Andrew McCutchen in a trade with the Pirates.

In trading for the five-time All-Star, the Giants held on to top prospects Heliot Ramos, Chris Shaw and Tyler Beede. The win-now move bolstered the Giants’ outfield — one that needed the most help in all of baseball — while the Pirates again have a potential big piece in their outfield with Bryan Reynolds headed to Pittsburgh. 

While the farm system took a win in keeping its biggest names, let’s look at what the Giants’ future lost with the addition of McCutchen. 

Bryan Reynolds, 22, OF
The Giants clearly have their own prospect rankings. Baseball America (5) and MLB Pipeline (4) ranked Reynolds ahead of Steven Duggar, who is the Giants’ No. 8 prospect by Baseball America and No. 6 by MLB Pipeline, after the 2017 season. Duggar is expected to compete for the Giants’ starting job in center field unless they make another big move like signing Lorenzo Cain. 

There’s a reason Reynolds is ranked so high though. The Giants’ top pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, is a switch-hitter who is primarily a center fielder, but like Duggar, he played all three outfield positions in 2017. 

"I think it's too early to dictate if he'll be in a corner or center," Nestor Rojas, Reynolds’ manager for the San Jose Giants, said to me in July. "He's really good and he has the tools to play center field. He's got speed and he's got range. He can do really well in all three." 

Reynolds slashed .312/.364/.462 with 10 home runs at Advanced Single-A this past season. He was the Giants' lone representative at the Futures Game and named San Jose Giants MVP. Even if he never unlocks his power, Reynolds is expected to be a solid big leaguer one day with well-rounded overall tools. 

[READ: How Reynolds went from undrafted to Giants' top 2016 pick]

Kyle Crick, 25, RHP
Crick was expected to be a future ace when the Giants took him No. 49 overall as a high school pitcher back in 2011. Control issues hampered him mightily. 

Down in the minors, Crick flashed dominance on the hill at times with a fastball that reaches the upper 90s. Still, command won the battle and the Giants turned Crick into a reliever. The move may have saved his career. 

As the Sacramento River Cats’ closer in Triple-A last season, Crick recorded six saves with a 2.76 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched. Crick earned his call-up to San Francisco and was solid for the Giants. He put together a 3.06 ERA in 30 games out of the bullpen, giving a glimpse of what he can be in the future. 

Crick has always been full of potential. Now as a reliever, he’s starting to turn it into results at the highest level. The Pirates may have a future shut-down arm in the ‘pen, but in the Giants’ reload, there are plenty of in-house options that can do the job he was expected to do in 2018.

What they're saying: McCutchen, Giants and Pirates react to trade

What they're saying: McCutchen, Giants and Pirates react to trade

For nine seasons, Andrew McCutchen was the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But now, he's headed to a star-studded Giants roster.

Here's how McCutchen, his former Pirates teammates and his new Giants teammates reacted to news of the big trade on Monday.