Giants promote power-hitting outfield prospect to Triple-A

Giants promote power-hitting outfield prospect to Triple-A

CHICAGO -- The Giants wanted Christian Arroyo to force his way up to the big leagues. Chris Shaw isn't exactly in the same boat, but he is now at the same level where Arroyo was to start the year. 

Shaw, the top power-hitting prospect in the organization, was promoted from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday morning. General manager Bobby Evans said Shaw, a first baseman in his first couple of years in the minors, will continue his recent outfield work. Shaw had been playing left field in Richmond and he will be the primary left fielder in Sacramento.

"He's put himself in a position where the next test is the Triple-A level," Evans said. "He was starting to get to the point where he was ready for the next challenge."

It is unlikely that Shaw gets promoted again this season because the Giants do not need to add him to the 40-man roster until after the 2018 season. Arroyo, on the other hand, would have been added after this season anyway. Austin Slater, who also needs to be added at some point in 2017, is more likely to earn a September call-up. The Giants do, however, leave the door open for prospects to force the issue. 

The 23-year-old Shaw was the 31st overall pick in the 2015 draft. He hit 12 homers in 46 games in rookie ball and then slugged 16 in 72 games for the San Jose Giants, earning a promotion late in 2016. Shaw had five more homers in two months with the Flying Squirrels and he opened up this year with six in 133 at-bats. 

In three minor league seasons, Shaw is batting .277 with a .350 on-base percentage and .503 slugging percentage. He has 39 homers in 813 professional at-bats, along with 59 doubles and four triples. In 37 games this season, Shaw has 26 strikeouts and 18 walks.

"He controls the strike zone and he's got a fairly decent eye," Evans said. "He strikes out a relatively low percentage of the time and has a pretty good walk rate for a power guy."

Shaw played quite a bit in the outfield at Boston College but he was a first baseman in the minors until this season. With Brandon Belt locked in at first at the big league level, the Giants started giving Shaw starts in left field. Before leaving Richmond, Shaw made 18 starts in the outfield, totaling 158 innings. 

Listed at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Shaw would be big in left, even by the Giants' standards. In the past, scouts -- who admitted they had only seen him at first -- insisted he probably can't handle the position, but the Giants disagree. Shaw is said to have the footwork to handle left, but he's working on getting comfortable with throws. 

"He played a lot of outfield in college, pretty close to 100 games, mostly in right field," Evans said. "We'd like to give him as much time as possible to get comfortable.  We discussed (the outfield) this spring and we made a more conscious decision to get him out there (in left). That was a discussion from the time he was drafted."


Why shaking it up won't be as easy as it sounds for Giants

Why shaking it up won't be as easy as it sounds for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — At several points in August, while explaining why he still had hope, manager Bruce Bochy compared his team to St. Louis. The Cardinals disappointed throughout the first half, but put it together for a few weeks and got themselves back in the race. Bochy hoped this weekend’s series would be meaningful for two franchises that ruled the National League for much of the past decade. 

It will be meaningful for the Cardinals, who are currently in the second wild card spot, but for the Giants, it’s simply the final road series on the way to “shaking it up.”

That feeling has been percolating on Giants Twitter for two years. There are many fans who have been ready to blow this all up for a while now, and recently, team president and CEO Larry Baer gave that group some hope. 

“We’re gonna shake it up,” he said during an appearance on KNBR. “I can’t tell you how it gets shaken up from a players’ point of view. I think Brian (Sabean) has said it — we’re just gonna shake it up.”

With the end of the season fast approaching, it’s worth asking what exactly that might mean. How many Giants are on their final trip in orange and black? How many big names might be shipped out?

Well, for the Giants, “shaking it up” will be much harder than it appears because of three other words: no-trade clause. 

Buster Posey has a full no-trade clause. Brandon Crawford does, too. Ditto for Mark Melancon. Those are three of seven Giants owed at least $14 million next year (Pablo Sandoval is an eighth, but the Red Sox are paying nearly every penny), and they’re going nowhere. 

Add Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to that list, too, for a different reason. Both are hurt, and you can’t trade an injured pitcher who lives in the $20 million per year neighborhood. You just can’t. 

Out of the big contracts, that leaves Brandon Belt ($16 million) and Evan Longoria ($14.5 million, although the Rays are contributing). Longoria turns 33 in three weeks and, while he’s been much better of late, it was still a down year offensively and his contract runs through 2022. It’s hard to see any scenario where moving him is realistic or brings back a return that makes the Giants better, and when you talk to team officials, Longoria is never a name brought up as a trade option. 

Belt is the player mentioned most often in hypothetical discussions, but that ignores the details. A Belt trade would be complicated by the three years and $48 million remaining on his deal and the fact that he’s about to have knee surgery for a second time. And again, we bring you back to those contract details. Belt can provide a list every offseason of 10 teams he cannot be traded to. He has never shown any inclination that he wants to leave San Francisco, and his list is said to reflect that desire. It would not be hard, given how many teams are in tank mode these days, for Belt and his representatives to form a list that makes it nearly impossible for the Giants to find a trade partner. 

There are other ways the Giants could shake it up, of course. Joe Panik and Hunter Strickland are notable Giants who are starting to get pricy in arbitration, there could be changes in the front office or to the coaching staff, and more firings are expected with support staff. There’s the nuclear option, too. Madison Bumgarner has one year remaining on his deal and at some point the Giants could put him on the market. 

Bumgarner doesn’t want to go anywhere, though, and like the others, he would have some say in the matter. Yep, you guessed it. His contract includes the right to block a trade to eight teams. Once again, “shaking it up” will be harder than it sounds. 

Giants reliever, coach put calmer spin on pregame handshake

Giants reliever, coach put calmer spin on pregame handshake

We've all seen the pregame handshakes that are meant to fire up players. JaVale McGee was the designated handshake guy for the Warriors the last two years. He had custom handshakes with all the starters, including Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

Handshakes are supposed to have energy.

Someone clearly forgot to tell Giants reliever Sam Dyson and first base coach Jose Alguacil.

On Wednesday in San Diego, the pair were caught on camera engaging in a strange ritual in the dugout. As you can see in the video above, Dyson starts by wiping away any sweat on the bald dome of Alguacil with a towel. Then he gently places a batting helmet on Alguacil's now-dry head and dabs at it with the towel. After infielder Chase d'Arnaud sneaks in for a handshake with Alguacil, Dyson and Alguacil shake for a solid five seconds before placing a hand on each other's chest.

Hey, whatever it takes to get fired up for Game No. 153.