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Inbox: Are Giants waiting to make big splash?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers questions from fans
February 8, 2019

Do you think the Giants are just waiting around and could go after Bryce Harper for a big splash? Or another big player? -- Rick, Woodland, Calif.I think the possibility of the Giants pursuing Harper feels more realistic now than it did at the beginning of the offseason, especially following

Do you think the Giants are just waiting around and could go after Bryce Harper for a big splash? Or another big player?
-- Rick, Woodland, Calif.

I think the possibility of the Giants pursuing Harper feels more realistic now than it did at the beginning of the offseason, especially following news of their reported meeting with the superstar outfielder this week.
President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi seemed to downplay the chances of landing a high-profile free agent last month, but I think he's opportunistic and felt it was worth checking back in with bigger targets now that the top of the market has stagnated. The Giants certainly have the financial means to sign Harper, though there aren't any indications that he's close to signing with any team at this point.
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What is the latest on the expected return of Buster Posey?
--Thad M., Fayetteville, N.C.

Posey's rehab from hip surgery appears to be going well. I think the Giants will be cautious with their catcher's workload during Spring Training, but he seems to be on track to be ready for Opening Day.
The Giants only have two catchers on the 40-man roster. With Posey still rehabbing from hip surgery, it would seem a little risky to only have the two. With the preference of a catcher with the versatility to play other positions, that seems to rule out a return of Nick Hundley. What are Farhan's plans for an additional catcher? Especially if Buster suffers a setback.
-- Herb C., Pasco, Wash.

Posey and Aramís García are the only catchers on the Giants' 40-man roster, though it's worth noting that they also signed former Phillie Cameron Rupp to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training this offseason. Rupp didn't play in the Majors in 2018, but he has 296 games of big league experience and hit 30 home runs for Philadelphia from 2016-17.
The Giants would probably still like to shore up their catching depth, especially given Zaidi's preference for positional flexibility, but I think Rupp will have the opportunity to challenge Garcia for the backup job this spring. It's also possible that the club will add more catching options before the beginning of the regular season.

With all the talk about returning players, I never see Alen Hanson mentioned. From what I saw last year, he has the talent to be a star/game changer. Is there any chance he will become an everyday player, perhaps at 2B, or is he destined to become a super utility/pinch-hitter?
-- Gary D., Columbiana, Ohio

Hanson certainly impressed in the first half of the 2018 season, but his production dipped following the All-Star break, especially against left-handers, who held him to a .183 batting average and .439 OPS last season. Defensive metrics also didn't rate him all that favorably at either of his defensive positions, including second base. Hanson's versatility and prowess as a pinch-hitter make him a valuable piece off the bench, but I don't think the Giants view him as a starter at this point.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.