Joey Rickard

Giants re-sign Donovan Solano, non-tender four others before deadline

Giants re-sign Donovan Solano, non-tender four others before deadline

SAN FRANCISCO -- Kevin Pillar wasn't the only Giant to be let go ahead of Monday's deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. 

The Giants also non-tendered left-hander Tyler Anderson, right-hander Rico Garcia and outfielder Joey Rickard while agreeing to one-year deals with outfielder Alex Dickerson, infielder Donovan Solano and left-hander Wandy Peralta. 

The Pillar decision was the surprising one of the day, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the Giants wanted to take a look at younger outfield options. That did not include Rickard, a 28-year-old who made 26 appearances for the Giants last year and showed some promise as a platoon option. The sides apparently could not reach a deal despite some optimism as the deadline approached.

Solano, who broke through as a backup infielder in 2019, will be back and should provide depth behind Mauricio Dubon and Brandon Crawford. Peralta, a hard-throwing lefty acquired from the Reds late in the year, should get a shot to win a bullpen job. 

[RELATED: Giants reportedly looking to hire Indians infield coach Correa]

Other than Pillar, the most interesting decision might have come with Anderson. The lefty struggled in five starts for the Rockies last season but was a solid back-end starter the previous three years. The Giants claimed him off waivers earlier in the offseason and hoped to lock him up to a small one-year deal that could put him in position to win a rotation spot.

Like Pillar, Garcia and Rickard, Anderson is now a free agent. 

Giants have contract decisions to make on Kevin Pillar, other veterans

pillarwilliemacusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Giants have contract decisions to make on Kevin Pillar, other veterans

SAN FRANCISCO -- The move might not have made headlines outside of Baltimore, but it was one that had many within the industry grumbling. 

The Orioles, in full tank mode, opted to place infielder Jonathan Villar on outright waivers last week rather than pay him about $10 million in arbitration. Villar isn't a household name, but he arguably was Baltimore's best player, and in that sense, he's similar to a man who is awaiting a decision from the Giants. 

Kevin Pillar is projected to make nearly $10 million in his final year of arbitration and the Giants could argue that they would be better-served long-term by giving those at-bats to a younger option and spending their resources in a different way. But the Giants are not the Orioles, and in no way should they resemble them, really, which is what makes Monday's decision so fascinating.

The Giants have until 5 p.m. PT to tender a contract to Pillar and five others, and their decisions will tell us a lot about the direction the front office is going. 

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has talked often over the last year of being competitive while building a new foundation, and Pillar, the Willie Mac Award winner, was a big part of the limited success the Giants did have in 2019, hitting 21 homers and driving in 88 runs while providing plenty of highlights in center field.

There are reasons why the tender decision isn't a slam dunk, though. Pillar ranked 68th out of 69 qualified hitters in the NL with a .293 on-base percentage and while his pitchers love having him in center field, the defensive metrics don't match the eye test. Pillar also turns 31 in January, although he said at the end of the season that he doesn't anticipate slowing down at all.  

"When I was in college and working towards getting to this moment, they used to say that baseball players enter their prime around 30 to 32, and I never forgot that," Pillar said. "I know the game statistically is getting younger, but to me age is just a number. I take care of myself, I eat the right foods, I believe in stretching and working hard and working out.

"I think it's no coincidence that at age 30 I'm having my best year."

Pillar's detailed pre-game routine had him on the field 161 times in 2019, and that's a big reason why the Giants are expected to agree to a deal with their center fielder, whether Monday or before a hearing in February. They might be rebuilding, but they still need to give fans a reason to show up next April, and Pillar was a big one in 2019. 

[RELATED: Giants weighing present vs. future with Pillar]

The other decisions don't involve nearly as much money, but they'll shed some light into what Zaidi and Scott Harris are planning. Alex Dickerson is projected to earn about $1.2 million, per MLB Trade Rumors, the same number the reliable site had for Donovan Solano.

Do Zaidi and Harris believe they can find cheaper, more flexible alternatives for the bench? 

Tyler Anderson, who the Giants picked up from the Rockies in early November, is projected at $2.6 million and a commitment that size would be a strong indication that Anderson is part of the 2020 rotation.

Joey Rickard ($1.1 million) is expected to be non-tendered and the Giants also have to make a call on pitcher Wandy Peralta, who is projected at just $800K but occupies a 40-man spot that may be more valuable if used on someone else later in the offseason. 

Phillies vs. Giants lineups: Joey Rickard starts in left, batting eighth

joeyrickardgiantsusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Phillies vs. Giants lineups: Joey Rickard starts in left, batting eighth

A day after getting called up by the Giants, veteran outfielder Joey Rickard is getting his first chance to make an impression.

Manager Bruce Bochy has Rickard starting in left field and batting eighth on Friday night against the Phillies. The 28-year-old entered Thursday's game as a defensive replacement and walked in his only plate appearance.

Rickard was summoned from Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday with Steven Duggar going on the injured list.

With the Phillies starting lefty Drew Smyly, Brandon Belt gets a night off. Buster Posey will start at first base while Stephen Vogt will catch Tyler Beede.

Coverage begins at 6 p.m. PT with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the My Teams app.

Philadelphia Phillies (59-56)
RF Bryce Harper
1B Rhys Hoskins
LF Corey Dickerson
SS Jean Segura
C J.T. Realmuto
2B Cesar Hernandez
3B Scott Kingery
CF Adam Haseley
LHP Drew Smyly (1-1, 3.00 ERA)

San Francisco Giants (57-59)
2B Donovan Solano
RF Austin Slater
3B Evan Longoria
1B Buster Posey
C Stephen Vogt
CF Kevin Pillar
SS Brandon Crawford
LF Joey Rickard
RHP Tyler Beede (3-6, 5.38 ERA)