Giants

Hunter Pence signs minor league contract with Rangers, returns home

Hunter Pence signs minor league contract with Rangers, returns home

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence is heading home. 

Pence, who grew up in Arlington, Texas, signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, the team announced Thursday morning. Pence will get an invitation to spring training and a chance to win an Opening Day job. 

The Giants and Pence parted ways at the end of last season after a seven-year run that included two World Series titles, an All-Star appearance, some of the strangest batted balls in team history and a series of legendary speeches. Pence has spent the offseason working on swing changes that he hopes will lead to a resurgence, and he played Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic for the first time to put those changes into action. 

The Rangers welcomed Pence by sending out a clip of his last ride at AT&T/Oracle Park, and Pence responded with "Thankful for this opportunity and appreciative of where I’ve been."

"He’s got a long track record of being an elite teammate; a decorated, productive player on the field," GM Jon Daniels told the Dallas Morning News. "From a standpoint of pedigree, makeup, and way he goes about the game, it's consistent with the messaging of what we want this team to be about."

The Rangers are a nice landing spot for Pence, who was born in Fort Worth, went to high school and college in nearby Arlington and started his big league career in Houston, where he now owns a coffee shop and holds a yearly baseball camp. Pence still owns his apartment in downtown San Francisco, too, and if he makes the team, he would return to the Bay Area three times this year to play the A's. 

The Giants and Rangers don't play this season but do face off three times in spring training, including a matchup at Scottsdale Stadium on March 2. 

As Giants wait for Harper decision, they continue to discuss trade options

usatsi_10938543.jpg
USATSI

As Giants wait for Harper decision, they continue to discuss trade options

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For every move the Giants have made over the past week, the response from an anxious fan base has been the same.

“Uhhh, that dude isn’t Bryce Harper.”

The biggest name on the market remains on the market, but what do the Giants do if Harper chooses the Phillies or Nationals or Padres or some mystery team? Farhan Zaidi is working on Plan B, too, and that could involved remaining free agents or trades. The Giants do still need help in their outfield. 

“We’ve had trade conversations with teams about certain players that started in 2018 that kind of are continuing now,” Zaidi said. “It’s a little bit of a function of the slow market. I think with anything that’s a hypothetical, it’s a good idea to have alternatives and not put all your eggs in any one basket.”

The Giants won’t reach into any other basket until Harper has made a decision. There’s no available player that would match that production, but this offseason started with more humble goals and there are plenty of options on the trade market. If the Giants don’t get Harper, they seem well positioned to quickly pivot. 

In the meantime, Zaidi is padding out the rest of the roster. All offseason, he said he wanted catching depth. Stephen Vogt and Rene Rivera signed in the span of four days. Zaidi wanted a versatile infield piece, too, and Yangervis Solarte is on his way. He wanted a couple of outfielders, and Gerardo Parra fills one hole. 

Zaidi will always tinker. That’s his nature. But he doesn’t want to add too many more players on non-roster deals because he wants the recent additions and the younger players in house already to have a real opportunity to compete this spring. That was promised to the players already here, so don’t expect too many more who fit the mold of a Parra or Solarte. 

“We want competition but don’t want this to be a reality show or tryout camp,” Zaidi said. “You try to draw the line between feeling good about the guys you have but also not going overboard.”

Report: Giants agree to minor league deal with veteran outfielder Craig Gentry

gentryusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Report: Giants agree to minor league deal with veteran outfielder Craig Gentry

Well, it happened. The Giants signed an outfielder who previously played in the D.C. area.

It's not Bryce Harper.

The Giants have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran Craig Gentry according to Andersen Pickard of MLB Daily Dish:

MLB Trade Rumors confirmed the report

The deal also includes an invite to spring training.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reports Gentry will not be in big league camp. He will head to minor league camp, but could play in a couple of Cactus League games. 

Gentry has ten Major League seasons under his belt including the last two seasons with the Orioles where he slashed a .265/.326/.688 line before he was released in September of last year.

And an important fun nugget you need to know is the 35-year-old's nickname is "Kitten Face," compliments of Michael Gruber and his former roommate, Sean Bass.

The two were watching a Rangers game in 2011 when Gentry Kitten Face was with Texas and Gruber made a comment on how the well-manicured beard the outfielder was sporting reminded him of a kitten. 

Boom -- a legend was born.

And if you're wondering how Gentry feels about the nickname. Well, he talked about it on the back of one of his Topps cards:

(Thank you, Gruber, for showing this to us).

It's true. If they make a shirt out of it, you have to ride that out. 

At least we know he can pull off the orange and black colors.