SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Tauchman's 64-game run with the Giants is going to go down as one of the most fascinating in the franchise's recent history, and a good reminder that WAR is not everything.
Tauchman was worth 0.0 Wins Above Replacement during his time with the team, according to Baseball-Reference, and FanGraphs has him at negative 0.2. But you could also very easily make an argument that Tauchman had the biggest hand in two of the Giants' 62 wins this season with his glove, and that's before you get to his game-changing grand slam against the Rangers.
The up-and-down run ended Thursday morning when the Giants DFA'd Tauchman to clear a roster spot for right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who came off the 60-day IL to join the bullpen. The Giants also brought Brandon Crawford off the 10-day IL as expected and optioned right-hander John Brebbia to Triple-A.
The Tauchman move has been coming for a while, and he seemed to know it in recent days as the team returned home and prepared to get Crawford, Sanchez, Brandon Belt, Tommy La Stella and Evan Longoria back from the IL. It's not easy to deliver the news, though, and manager Gabe Kapler said he'll remember Tauchman's contributions and remains confident in his talent.
Tauchman hit just .178 with four homers as a Giant, posting a .569 OPS, but Kapler said he thought his at-bats were better since he came off the IL recently.
"I think Mike is a good all-around Major League Baseball player," Kapler said. "We talked about it in the office a little bit earlier and my inclination is that he's going to have a long Major League career. Right now, given the fact that we have a lot of position players beginning to come back and understanding that we had a 40-man move to make today, this was the right decision for the Giants.
Tauchman was acquired in April from the Yankees for lefty Wandy Peralta, and the Giants used him often in left field, hoping that his lengthy at-bats would lead to production. Tauchman made swing changes during his time with the Giants but never got going with the plate. His two biggest contributions came with the glove, including a home run robbery of Albert Pujols that might go down as the biggest play of the regular season:
A couple of weeks later, Tauchman robbed Juan Soto of a game-tying homer. Given how bad the lineup was that weekend, there's a decent chance the Giants go on to lose that game, too.
The Giants were in danger of dropping a fifth straight game to the Dodgers when Tauchman robbed Pujols of a walk-off. They ended up having a great weekend and getting into first place, and they've been there ever since. Tauchman's final appearance came against the Dodgers. He lined a pinch-hit single to left that Kapler said was a sign of better things to come at the plate.
"I think we all would have loved to see things go a little better at the plate and just see some of the results from all of the work that he did," Kapler said. "He worked really hard and I think he cared deeply about the success of the team. I think he earned our respect."