SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' recent outfield additions may have dashed Gregor Blanco's hopes of returning to the ballclub.Blanco appeared in 649 games for the Giants from 2012-16 as a part-time starter and top outfield reserve. Though he's a free agent, he openly declared his loyalty to the Giants after
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' recent outfield additions may have dashed Gregor Blanco's hopes of returning to the ballclub.
Blanco appeared in 649 games for the Giants from 2012-16 as a part-time starter and top outfield reserve. Though he's a free agent, he openly declared his loyalty to the Giants after last season ended. "This is my home," he said.
Giants general manager Bobby Evans declined to comment on Blanco's status. However, logic dictates that Blanco likely has been displaced, despite his extensive experience at all three outfield spots.
In left, the Giants appear poised to hold a Spring Training tryout featuring Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson. Veterans Michael Morse and Justin Ruggiano, who recently agreed to Minor League deals, are expected to provide competition.
Center and right belong to Denard Span and Hunter Pence, respectively. For now, Blanco's role as fourth outfielder will be filled by Gorkys Hernandez.
That adds up to seven outfielders, not counting non-roster invitees other than Morse and Ruggiano. Since five players comprise a typical regular-season outfield contingent on an active 25-man roster, Blanco would appear to be forced out of a role.
To receive a deal from the Giants, Blanco must hope the club decides to add further depth, which isn't inconceivable. Span and Pence endured health issues last year, Parker and Williamson are relatively unproven, Hernandez has never played a full Major League season and Ruggiano and Morse combined to make 34 Major League plate appearances in 2016.
Should Blanco and the Giants somehow forge an agreement, he'd probably have to accept a fraction of the $3.9 million he earned last year, since San Francisco's payroll is projected to exceed the $195 million competitive balance tax limit.
"I'm not the kind of player who needs more money. I'd rather be here," Blanco said as last season concluded.
Blanco, 33, compiled a .259/.338/.360 slash line as a Giant, as well as 75 stolen bases in 103 attempts. He appeared in 106 games last year, starting 56, and posted a .224/.309/.311 slash line with one homer, 18 RBIs and six steals in nine tries.
Blanco earned a permanent niche in franchise lore on June 13, 2012, when he outran Jordan Schafer's seventh-inning drive to right-center field and made a lunging catch at the warning track to preserve Player Page for Matt Cain's perfect game against Houston at AT&T Park.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.