Giants

Nick Vincent to be used by Giants as opener vs. Blue Jays on Tuesday

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USATSI

Nick Vincent to be used by Giants as opener vs. Blue Jays on Tuesday

SAN FRANCISCO -- Farhan Zaidi made waves at the Winter Meetings in December when he told a group of beat writers that the Giants could use an opener during the upcoming season. Just 41 games into the Zaidi era, the Giants will actually try it. 

Nick Vincent will start Tuesday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the team announced Monday. Vincent has served as the bullpen's de facto long reliever this season, but he has not recorded more than nine outs in an appearance. Vincent has made 366 appearances in his career but started just once, going two innings last season as the Seattle Mariners tried the opener. 

The Giants originally had slated Tyler Beede to start Tuesday's game, but they now are listing Vincent and leaving Wednesday open. Beede could in theory pitch the bulk of Tuesday's game, although openers traditionally have been used to exploit platoons, so lefty Derek Holland, recently moved to the bullpen, could be a better fit to carry a heavy load Tuesday. 

Regardless of the order, it's clear why the Giants are trying this. They have allowed 42 runs in the first inning this season, consistently falling behind in games. They also are 17-23, and a clubhouse that includes several pitchers who have publicly railed against the idea of an opener really does not have a leg to stand on. 

The strategy, popularized by the Rays last year and followed by others, is designed to exploit platoons and limit a starting pitcher's exposure. The Giants have considered using one all season -- and nearly did when Ty Blach was called up for the Dodgers series last homestand -- and Zaidi said Sunday that the team needed to more heavily lean on the bullpen, which has been the strength. Vincent, the first opener, has a 2.25 ERA in his 14 appearances. 

At those Meetings in December, Zaidi explained why he was so intrigued by the concept of mixing it up. The Giants have internally discussed several options to bolster their staff, going beyond traditional openers.

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"Once you get away from 'this guy is going to throw the first six innings of the game,' it opens up a lot of stuff," Zaidi said in December. "Even with an opener, is an opener a one-inning guy, a two-inning guy, a three-inning guy? Again, I think the more versatile your pitching staff is and the more kind of multi-inning guys you have, the more kinds of ways you can get through (games)."

Barry Bonds likely will fall short of 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame class

Barry Bonds likely will fall short of 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame class

When he had a bat in his hands, Barry Bonds had more control over a game than just about anyone in the history of the sport. But Bonds can do nothing but watch these days, and on Tuesday afternoon, he'll once again be disappointed by the end result. 

Bonds is tracking well below the 75 percent needed for induction in the Hall of Fame, and when results are announced this afternoon, he'll be left with just two more chances at induction.

According to Ryan Thibodaux, who closely tracks the vote every offseason, Bonds has been listed on 71.3 percent of ballots that have been made public. He traditionally takes a significant hit when non-public ballots are added to the mix. The 2020 Hall of Fame class will be announced at approximately 3:15 p.m. PT on MLB Network. 

This year's class should be a small one, and it's possible that only Derek Jeter has his named called. Jeter has been listed on every ballot thus far and has a chance to join former teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous selections in MLB history. 

Larry Walker, in his final year on the ballot, is currently at 83.3 percent. Curt Schilling also is currently in position to get inducted (77.8 percent) but he is expected to drop off when all votes are counted. Walker could end up being one of the tightest decisions in HOF voting history. 

Bonds might get that "final year" bump in 2022, but thus far he has not gotten particularly close to induction. He got up to 59.1 percent last year, but the steroid cloud has kept him off too many ballots to even make the annual January announcement day remotely dramatic. 

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Bonds, a seven-time MVP who is the sport's all-time leader in home runs, will be on the ballot two more times, and a couple of his former teammates garnered enough support that they will remain on the ballot. Omar Vizquel currently is at 49.1 percent and Jeff Kent is tracking at 32.9 percent.

Former A's Jason Giambi and Eric Chavez are among those who will fail to get the five percent required to stay on the ballot another year. 

MLB rumors: Jerry Blevins signs minor league contract with Giants

MLB rumors: Jerry Blevins signs minor league contract with Giants

The Giants signed veteran left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins to a minor league contract, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Monday night, citing a source.

The deal includes an invitation to major league camp, Rosenthal reported.

Blevins responded to Rosenthal's tweet, all but confirming the news.

Blevins has pitched parts of 13 seasons with four different teams. He's spent time with the A's, Washington Nationals, New York Mets and Atlanta Braves.

Last season with Atlanta, the 36-year-old posted a 3.90 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 32.1 innings over 45 appearances.

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Blevins appears to be another low-risk, high-reward signing by the Giants' front office. If he makes the team out of spring training and shows he has value, he could be a prime trade candidate ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.

If Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris can turn Blevins into a future asset, this will look like another stealthy move.