Andrew McCutchen

Pirates call-up a reminder that Giants waited too long to change

Pirates call-up a reminder that Giants waited too long to change

PITTSBURGH -- On Saturday morning, a few hours after Starling Marte and Erik Gonzalez had a frightening collision in shallow center field, the Pirates called up a pair of prospects. 

One of them is a 24-year-old outfielder who is a former top pick and was tearing up Triple-A. The switch-hitter has a .367 average in 13 games, with five homers, three stolen bases, and a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has a .312/.373/.472 slash line in over 1,200 minor league plate appearances. He can play all three outfield spots but is primarily a center fielder. 

Is this the type of player you might be interested in seeing with the Giants, who have serious, serious offensive issues and little help on the way in the upper minors?

Under different circumstances, you would have.

The player is Bryan Reynolds, who was taken by the Giants in the second round out of Vanderbilt in 2016. The Giants felt he was a first-round talent who slipped due to concerns about his desire to sign, but Bobby Evans worked out a deal with Scott Boras. The Giants felt they had one of the steals of the draft. Two years later, they dealt Reynolds and Kyle Crick for Andrew McCutchen. 

Now, that's a somewhat defensible move. Reynolds did not show much power while with Giants affiliates, although he did always hit for a high average. The Giants felt McCutchen and Evan Longoria could join the core and return an aging team to the postseason, and McCutchen was still a valuable player last season. The Giants did eventually get a couple of prospects in a second McCutchen trade. Abiatal Avelino may help them at some point and Juan De Paula helped bring Kevin Pillar to San Francisco. 

Plus, who really knows what Reynolds will become? He has turned into a nice prospect but he's not on anyone's top 100 list. He could be a bust. 

Regardless, he shows why it's so important that the Giants don't continue to kick the can down the road. They dealt one of their best prospects -- and a good controllable reliever -- to the Pirates a few months after losing 98 games. There was every reason to tear down, not deal prospects, but the Giants tried to extend the glory days. They desperately need players like Reynolds, who are young and have the kind of upside that they'll show up in Triple-A one season and start mashing homers.

[RELATED: Bruce Bochy believes Mark Melancon is 'invaluable']

The good news is that Farhan Zaidi knows all this. He has kind of tried to extend the window but has done it half-heartedly with low-cost additions like Derek Holland, Drew Pomeranz and Pillar. He is stockpiling lottery tickets in the minors, and the odds are good that this July he'll be adding a half-dozen more as he subtracts bullpen pieces and a starter or three from a team that's off to an 8-13 start. 

But man, the Giants sure could have used this attitude after the 2017 season.

Where are they now? Former Giants have found new homes for 2019

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USATSI

Where are they now? Former Giants have found new homes for 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- The main pieces of the Giants roster -- the lineup, rotation, back end of the bullpen -- currently look just about exactly the same as they did in 2018, but Farhan Zaidi has been somewhat busy working on the back end. 

When the Giants break camp in a little over two months, they expect to have a different look on their bench and quite a few new names on the 40-man roster. Some players who saw hundreds of at-bats and dozens of innings last season already have been jettisoned, and while it's been a slow market, for the most part former Giants have already found new homes. 

You'd be forgiven for missing some of these transactions, so here's a recap of where members of the 2018 Giants have ended up this winter ... 

Gorkys Hernandez: Projected to make around $1.6 million in arbitration, he was non-tendered and somewhat surprisingly signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox that will pay him $1 million if he's in the big leagues. That's a difficult roster to crack, but perhaps he looked around early and saw that this would be a brutal market for outfielders. 

Andrew McCutchen: One of the few outfielders to cash in, he got three years and $50 million from the Phillies. That's a nice landing spot for McCutchen, who still lives in the Pittsburgh area. 

Hunter Pence: He just had a Winter Ball run with Tores del Este in the Dominican, hitting .276 with one homer in 29 at-bats. He doesn't have a new MLB home yet. 

Nick Hundley: Still on the market. A reunion with the Giants seems somewhat unlikely given Farhan Zaidi's stated preference for a backup catcher who can play other spots. 

Gregor Blanco: A year ago he picked the Giants over the Mets, and this offseason he did end up signing that minor league deal in New York. The Mets later traded for Keon Broxton, which hurts Blanco's spring chances. 

Kelby Tomlinson: Let go by the Giants early, he quickly signed on with the Diamondbacks

Austin Jackson: He wasn't much better with the Mets than with the Giants and is one of many veterans on the free agent outfield. Some of them will not find a new home. 

Hunter Strickland: It's no longer a surprise when guys like Jackson are unsigned. It's a little surprising that Strickland, non-tendered in November, is still a free agent. 

Chase d'Arnaud: He signed a minor league contract with the Rangers, his fifth organization in the last three years. 

Pierce Johnson: He made 37 appearances for the Giants last year but will head overseas, having signed a deal with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. 

Cory Gearrin: A Giant, Ranger and Athletic in 2018, he recently signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Mariners. 

Miguel Gomez: Once a promising bat-first infield prospect, he was let go and seemingly has not found a new organization. He hit just .176 in winter ball. 

Casey Kelly: Like Johnson, he's headed overseas. He signed a deal with the LG Twins in South Korea. 

Roberto Gomez: Fun fact: Roberto Gomez made the Opening Day roster in 2018. He's now a non-roster invitee with the Pirates. 

D.J. Snelten: The Big Snelt, as Bruce Bochy loved to call him, was picked up by the Orioles last summer and is still with them. 

Jose Valdez: It's unclear where he is now. It's also unclear what happened during his time with the Giants. 

Jarrett Parker: Unlike everyone else on this list, he did not play a game for the Giants in 2018. But, little known fact, he did still rehab with them in some form. It was a strange situation but Parker's shoulder acted up again after he was released and the Giants apparently helped with the rehab. Anyway, he's with the Angels now

MLB rumors: Andrew McCutchen, Phillies agree to three-year contract

MLB rumors: Andrew McCutchen, Phillies agree to three-year contract

If you were hoping the Giants and Andrew McCutchen would reunite, you're out of luck.

The free agent outfielder is headed back to the state of Pennsylvania, as he reportedly has agreed to a three-year, $50 million contract.

Now, after seeing those numbers, you're probably glad the Giants didn't re-sign McCutchen.

According to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, McCutchen was looking for a five-year deal this offseason. That he got a three-year deal shows five years wasn't going to happen.

In 155 games between the Giants and the Yankees this past season, McCutchen hit .255/.368/.424 with 30 doubles, 20 home runs and 65 RBI.

The Giants' offense was so bad in 2018, that despite not playing the final month of the season with the team, McCutchen finished tied for the team lead with 28 doubles and led the team with 55 RBI. He also finished one home run behind Evan Longoria's team-leading 16.