When Farhan Zaidi took over in 2018, he said he wanted the Giants to be more aggressive in adding and keeping talented players from Northern California. In the three years since, Zaidi has also added a ton of players with ties to the Cincinnati Reds. The latest reported addition checks both boxes.
The Giants signed former Stanford star Alex Blandino to a minor league contract, The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Friday. Blandino, who played his high school baseball at St. Francis in Mountain View, will get an invite to spring training whenever it starts.
Teams are allowed to acquire minor leaguers during the lockout, but Blandino has more big-league experience than most who will agree to deals this month and next. He has played 135 games over three seasons with the Reds, posting a .226/.339/.291 slash line. In Cincinnati, Blandino was teammates with Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani, Curt Casali and former Giant Kevin Gausman.
Blandino made 43 appearances in 2021, and while he hit just .200 with a .317 OBP and four doubles, he showed off his versatility. He made appearances at first, second, short, third and in left field, and even took the mound four times, including once in a blowout loss to the Giants.
The 29-year-old has the type of positional flexibility the Giants seek in bench options and has shown good plate discipline. Blandino has a .362 career OBP in the minors and saw 4.25 pitches per plate appearance in 2021, the most of any Reds hitter who got at least 50 plate appearances
Blandino was born in Palo Alto and starred at St. Francis before going to Stanford. The Reds took him with the 29th pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.