Giants

Report: Former Giants infielder agrees to minor league deal with Mariners

Report: Former Giants infielder agrees to minor league deal with Mariners

Former Giants infielder Gordon Beckham found a new home. 

The 30-year-old has reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with the Mariners, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. 

San Francisco acquired Beckham in September last season from Atlanta for minor league infielder Richard Rodriguez. He only received five at-bats in six games and went hitless at the plate. 

Beckham signed a minor league deal with the Giants in February, but after learning he would not make the big league team out of spring training, Beckham was granted his release. In spring training, Beckham hit only .194 in 16 games for the Giants. 

Through his eight-year career, the former No. 8 pick in the 2008 draft has hit .240 with 74 home runs. 

Hank Greenwald, former Giants broadcaster, dies at 83

Hank Greenwald, former Giants broadcaster, dies at 83

Every place with a team has a special link to its broadcasters, because broadcasters are ultimately artists, and sports is nothing if not art.

Thus, the passing of Hank Greenwald, longtime Giants, Warriors and A’s broadcaster and part of the microphone’s golden age in these parts, evokes memories of the artistry not only of athletes but of the people who described their exploits.

Greenwald, 83, was a man of his time, using fewer words than would be considered normal today to trust a scene to describe itself, as was the fashion of the day. His work with Bill King on the Warriors in the ‘60s and ‘70s was exemplary for its knowledge, pacing, literacy and humor, and their ability to play off each other seamlessly. King once described a situation in a Warriors game as one in which “They have to get a basket here, they absolutely have to!” to which Greenwald drily returned, “Well, they don’t have to, but it would be a good idea.”

But he made his reputation in his time with the Giants from 1979 to 1986 and then, after a brief hiatus, with the George Steinbrenner Era Yankees, from 1989 through 1996. His was the voice that described Will Clark’s single that won the 1989 NL Championship Series and sent the Giants to their first World Series in 27 years, and by that time he had been placed atop the plinth of great Bay Area announcers that included King and longtime Giants, 49ers and A’s broadcaster Lon Simmons.

Greenwald, who changed his name from Howard to honor Detroit Tiger Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, was the defining feature of a series of mediocre Giants seasons, making the broadcasts must-listen affairs even when the quality of the play did not match the elegance of the descriptions. Such is often the way, with the best broadcasters making the unpalatable pleasant and the palatable electric.

Greenwald was fiercely objective on air at a time when the business was slowly giving itself over to home-slanted broadcasters, and he jousted with both radio and club management in his time. It was that objectivity that most linked him to his audience, which knew they would not only get a game and some laughs but a square count about the on-field performances of those he was paid to detail. He regarded himself as the public trustee for the trivial pursuit we call sport, and he went out as honestly as he came in from Syracuse, New York, 60 years ago.

Greenwald is survived by his wife Carla, son Doug, himself a broadcaster, and daughter Kellie.

Giants Review: Garcia flashes power, opens eyes in first big league month

Giants Review: Garcia flashes power, opens eyes in first big league month

SAN FRANCISCO — After Aramis Garcia was called up to the big leagues, his family had to wait around for nearly a week before seeing his debut. With the way Garcia would go on to play the rest of the year, they should have plenty of opportunities to watch him at AT&T Park. 

Garcia was the standout of September, backing a strong run at the plate with solid defense behind it and a surprising ability to handle first base. No player upped his stock over the final month more than Garcia, who might have changed the organization’s thinking at a crucial backup spot. We’ll get to that in a second. First, the highs and lows from Garcia’s 2018 season: 

What Went Right

Garcia was called up on August 26 when Buster Posey committed to hip surgery, but he didn’t play until August 31. He made the most of that opportunity, crushing a solo homer for his first MLB hit. Garcia joined Eliezer Alfonzo as the only Giants catchers to pick up their first hit and homer on the same swing. From that day on, he led the Giants in homers (four) and tied for the lead in RBI (nine) despite not playing every day. 

Per Statcast, Garcia had the highest hard-hit rate (40.6) of any Giant who got at least 50 at-bats. He was third on the team in average launch angle (18.6) and slugged .492 in his 63 at-bats (for comparison’s sake, no full-time catcher in the NL finished above .485). 

Defensively, Garcia has a reputation as a good game-caller and solid defender, and that showed in limited time behind the plate. He made 10 appearances at first and surprised the staff with how easily he transitioned and how many difficult plays he made. 

What Went Wrong

Garcia had a .500 BABIP, which is about 200 points higher than you would expect, so the .286 batting average was pretty flukey. He struck out in 47 percent of his at-bats and walked just twice in 65 plate appearances. He certainly hit the ball hard a lot and the homers were impressive, but there are red flags hidden in his numbers. 

You can't ignore what Garcia did in the majority of his season, either. He had a .233/.287/.395 slash line in 80 Double-A games and went .237/.268/.263 in 10 Triple-A games. The Giants will weigh all that against what he did in September. 

Contract Status

Garcia has two minor league options remaining. 

The Future

Garcia was drafted as a bat-first catcher and had some impressive swings in September, so it’s fair to think that he can be much more productive than the player the Giants saw in the minors this season. At the same time, his peripherals say he’s not the slugger they saw in September. Regardless, he opened eyes.

"This was a good chance to see what he was about and this kid has shown a lot,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He's shown toughness and his ability to handle major league pitching, so that'll be a tough decision -- do we keep his development going or is he ready (to be the) backup?"

That decision will depend on what a new head of baseball operations wants to do with Nick Hundley. If the Giants can bring Hundley back on another one-year deal, they likely will, ticketing Garcia for more development at Triple-A. If they don’t bring Hundley back, Garcia looks ready to handle life as a backup catcher. The Giants believe his glove is ready, and he’s shown enough promise at the plate that they should be comfortable that he can clear the standard for backup catchers.

It’s also possible that the Giants carry Hundley and Garcia on their bench at some point. The rookie showed he can adequately back up first base and provide pop off the bench, and with Posey coming off hip surgery, there’s a chance the Giants will carry three catchers early in the season.