Giants

Giants sign former 2008 first-round pick Gillaspie

gillaspie-conor-giants-white.jpg

Giants sign former 2008 first-round pick Gillaspie

With the fifth pick of the 2008 MLB Draft, the San Francisco Giants selected catcher Buster Posey out of Florida State University.

Three World Series rings, a National League MVP award, three All-Star Game appearances and a NL Rookie of the Year award later, Posey has cemented himself as one of the best players in the game and perhaps the top player of the 2008 draft. 32 picks later, the Giants drafted an infielder they hoped would also be a big factor in bringing championships to San Francisco. 

Conor Gillaspie was drafted by the Giants with the 37th overall pick, as a supplemental first-round selection for the loss of Pedro Feliz. He never panned out quite how they hoped, but may be back with the squad this season as a backup infielder.

Management has brought Gillaspie back by signing him to a minor league contract. 

[RELATED: Krukow: Top 100 prospect Arroyo 'legit; give him another glove']

After making his big league debut with the Giants in 2008, Gillaspie only played in 29 games for San Francisco through three years. In that time, Gillaspie hit .205/.271/.295 with only one home run. 

The Giants traded Gillaspie during spring training in 2013 to the Chicago White Sox for Jeff Soptic. 

Gillaspie broke out for the White Sox as the team's everyday third baseman in 2014, hitting .282/.336/.416. 

[PAVLOVIC: Beede, Arroyo among Giants non-roster invitees]

But, Gillaspie couldn't replicate the same numbers last season and was purchased by the Angels after just 58 games in Chicago. 

Gillaspie is a career .255/.309/.390 hitter with 25 home runs through six major league seasons.

Gillaspie is presumed to battle for a spot to backup Matt Duffy as he has major league experience at third base. He has also played first and second base as well. 

Barry Bonds getting support from early ballots to Baseball Hall of Fame

bondsusatsu.jpg
USATSI

Barry Bonds getting support from early ballots to Baseball Hall of Fame

The National Baseball Hall of Fame electees will be announced on Jan. 22. with the induction ceremony to take place on July 21.

And just like clockwork, the question surrounding Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens has been brought up once again: Should Bonds and Clemens be considered for the Hall of Fame despite being connected to performance-enhancing drugs?

While this won't answer that question, there are signs that the ice is thawing out on a discussion that has been capped for a long time. With 182 ballots revealed, MLB.com's public ballots show huge support of Clemens and Bonds. And Ryan Thibodaux, as well as his team, who track the ballots notice an upward trend between the two controversial stars.

"We've noticed all six of [MLB.com] voters voted for Bonds," Thibodaux told NBC Sports Bay Area. "Overall, Bonds and Clemens look like they will see a rather small increase in their vote percentages this year."

Thibodaux also said we shouldn't get used to those high percentages located next to Bonds and Clemens, they will more than likely fall to the 60-percent range once other large outlets like ESPN reveal their voters' ballots. 

"They typically do relatively poorly on these late-arriving ballots," Thibodaux said. 

Then, Bonds and Clemens will likely fall even further as more and more ballots are revealed. That's standard.

It can cause some concern for Bonds and Clemens supporters, knowing this may be how it'll be until the two run out of chances. They only have a few more opportunities to get elected, but there is still hope.

"Every year, new voters come in who reach 10 years in the BBWAA, and older voters who haven't covered baseball for 10 years lose their vote. Bonds and Clemens do very well among the younger, newer voters, and poorly among the older set."

This may not be enough to have them hit the 75-percent mark, but it will be close.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter for MLB.com, and a Hall of Fame voter, did indeed vote for the Bonds and Clemens on his ballot -- and he's done it for the last three years since he was given the chance. 

"Bonds is the best player I ever watched play, and Clemens -- if not the best pitcher I've ever watched pitch, he's certainly in the top three," Feinsand told NBC Sports Bay Area. "And yes, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence that each of them used PEDs. but at the same time, they both played in the testing era and never tested positive."

Jon Morosi, also of MLB.com spoke to KNBR on Wednesday saying something similar.

"I voted for Bonds and Clemens, as I have every year,” said Morosi. “For now, at least, my policy regarding players tied to PED use remains unchanged: I do not vote for players suspended under MLB’s drug policy from 2005 to present, but I support the best-all-around players from the complicated era that preceded it.”

[RELATED: Barry Bonds kept out of Hall for the sixth year]

Could the demographics of the voters be the ultimate say in whether these players under the dark cloud of steroids get voted in? Perhaps.

What we do know is the steroid era happened -- we don't necessarily know when it started and who did and did not participate in being exposed to the PEDs -- but the voters continue to speak.

Whether or not anyone is listening is another thing. 

Why Duane Kuiper believes Derek Holland is 'perfect guy' for Giants

Why Duane Kuiper believes Derek Holland is 'perfect guy' for Giants

Farhan Zaidi made his second notable move (see Pat Venditte) as president of baseball operations on Monday when he re-signed lefty Derek Holland to a one-year, $7 million contract.

Both Holland and the Giants wanted the reunion.

For Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper, the move makes complete sense.

"Holland's the perfect guy to sign," Kuiper said on Wednesday on KNBR 680. "Think about all the boxes he checks: He wants to be here, he had a good year, he's a left-hander, he got lefties out in a division where there's a lot of left-handed hitters, he's a good guy, he's great in the clubhouse. He checks all the boxes."

While Holland can pitch out of the bullpen, he's expected to slot somewhere into the Giants' rotation with Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Dereck Rodriguez, and Andrew Suarez.

Holland got a sizable raise from his 2018 salary of $1.75 million, but Kuiper believes it's actually a good deal compared to what other starting pitchers have been getting on the free agent market this offseason.

"He's a lot more expensive this year than he was last year," Kuiper said. "But he's not off the charts, like 'Ah man, what are we going to do?' He's the perfect guy and I don't think Farhan is close to being finished with this roster."

During a conference call on Monday, Zaidi noted that there's still a lot of time to add players to the roster, and is specifically looking to address the outfield situation.

"We have quite a few guys that we're looking at in the outfield mix," Zaidi said. "I'm still optimistic that we're going to add on that front. We've obviously got a group of guys that we like, but they're inexperienced. Adding some experience and known production in the outfield is something we'd like to do."