Casey Kelly

KBO: Three former Giants players to watch right now with MLB on hold

KBO: Three former Giants players to watch right now with MLB on hold

Baseball is back.

It might not have been the Opening Day that MLB fans expected, but baseball fans everywhere stayed up into the late Monday night hours and into early Tuesday morning to watch the Korea Baseball Organization, the highest level of baseball in South Korea. 

With ESPN broadcasting KBO games, fans can get their baseball fix back. That includes watching three former Giants players, too. 

They aren't household names in San Francisco and certainly didn't have long careers for the Giants. However, these three certainly are Forever Giants. In reality, they fit the moniker/internet joke perfectly.

Casey Kelly, RHP, LG Twins

The former top prospect never panned out in the majors. He twice was named the San Diego Padres No. 1 prospect by Baseball America and once was as high as No. 2 for the Boston Red Sox.

But Kelly, now 30 years old, has just a 2-11 record with a 5.14 ERA in 26 big league appearances. His most success, though, came with the Giants two years ago. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The Giants signed Kelly to a minor league contract in February 2018. After going 10-9 for Triple-A Sacramento, Kelly appeared in seven games for San Francisco. He went 0-3 with only a 3.04 ERA over three starts and four relief appearances.

Kelly now is the ace of the LG Twins. The veteran right-hander made his KBO debut last season where he had a 14-12 record and 2.55 ERA. 

Jae-gyun Hwang, 3B, KT Wiz

The Giants signed the power-hitting infielder to a minor league deal before the 2017 season after he hit 27 homers for the Lotte Giants the year before. Hwang didn't find as much success for the San Francisco Giants.

Hwang hit .285 with 10 homers in Triple-A Sacramento before making his MLB debut. He only lasted 18 games in the bigs, where he hit .154 with one long ball and five RBI.

After his short stint in San Francisco, Hwang signed with the KT Wiz in the KBO. He's hit 25 and 20 homers in the last two seasons, respectively.

Aaron Altherr, OF, NC Dinos

Ahh, the legend of Aaron Altherr. Like Kelly, he too was a former top prospect who didn't find much success in the big leagues. The power-hitting outfielder twice ranked among the Philadelphia Phillies' top 10 prospects. 

[RELATED: When Dubon dominated on the diamond, scored like Ronaldo]

Altherr had a lowly .219 career batting average with 37 home runs before signing with the Dinos. He was their No. 2 hitter on Opening Day and twice flied out to the warning track. 

We'll never forget his Giants career, though. After being selected off waivers from the Phillies last season, here's his final stat line in San Francisco: One game, one at-bat, one strikeout. 

Forever Giant.

Former Giants infielder Kelby Tomlinson quickly finds new home in NL West

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USATSI

Former Giants infielder Kelby Tomlinson quickly finds new home in NL West

SAN FRANCISCO -- Farhan Zaidi plans to overhaul the Giants’ 40-man roster, which means plenty of additions but also a number of familiar faces signing elsewhere.

Two players who were taken off the roster before the new president of baseball operations arrived already have found new homes.

Kelby Tomlinson, a longtime backup infielder, signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. Casey Kelly, who made a cameo in the Giants’ rotation last season, announced on his Instagram page that he'll play in South Korea next season. 

Tomlinson played in 273 games over parts of four seasons with the Giants before they outrighted him off the roster in October to clear a 40-man spot. He had a .265/.331/.332 slash line while playing all over the infield and occasionally filling in as a left fielder.

Tomlinson was a bit of a fan favorite, and his specs became a rallying cry on social media when he contributed. He also was a favorite of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who called him Tommy Ball this season. 

[RELATED: How Giants prospect Abiatal Avelino fits Zaidi player prototype]

Zaidi likely will add more versatility to the roster this offseason, but the Giants already have two players who had passed Tomlinson on the depth chart. Alen Hanson is a good bet for the Opening Day roster next season, and Abiatal Avelino saw some time in September. 

Kelly, a former top prospect, filled in for the Giants late in the year and had a 3.04 ERA in seven appearances. The 29-year-old will play for the LG Twins in the KBO next season. 

Giants cut Kelby Tomlinson, four more from 40-man roster before MLB offseason

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USATSI

Giants cut Kelby Tomlinson, four more from 40-man roster before MLB offseason

SAN FRANCISCO -- With five players set to come off the 60-day DL, the Giants on Monday parted ways with some familiar names. Five players were outrighted off the 40-man roster, clearing the way for the Giants to add Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Julian Fernandez back to the 40-man roster, as they had to before the start of the offseason. 

Infielder Chase d'Arnaud and right-hander Casey Kelly were outrighted and elected to become free agents. Infielders Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez became minor-league free agents. Tyler Herb was outrighted to Triple-A and remains with the organization. 

Tomlinson saw the most time of the group, playing 273 games for the Giants over the past four seasons. But he hit .207 in 2018 and was passed on the depth chart by Alen Hanson and Abiatal Avelino. 

Kelly and d'Arnaud contributed in the second half, but neither would have been in the Opening Day plans next season. D'Arnaud was eligible for arbitration and the Giants did not plan to bring him back at a higher price. Gomez was once viewed as a promising switch-hitting prospect, but his bat has not developed as hoped and the Giants do not believe he has a defensive position. 

The Giants will have to make further 40-man cuts over the next six weeks as they protect players from the Rule 5 draft and potentially add free agents.