I'm usually fascinated with non-roster invitees. Maybe it's because they lead to World Series wins, sucker! But you know what they say on the Internet about causation and correlation.
It's probably because of the World Series wins, actually.
But I've always been fascinated with non-roster invitees, usually because we end up watching one of them for the entire season. Right now, they're just random players. In August, one of them will be someone we deal with and discuss almost every day. So here's a list of non-roster invitees, and I'll include a link to an McC story on the player if I have one. Your job is to pick which one becomes a raging, championship-winning success.
Maybe there should be an award for the winners. The Andres Torres Trophy. The Gregor. The Toregorsong. We'll get to that part later. The list, by way of Andrew Baggarly:
Boof Bonser (story)
Chad Gaudin (story)
Scott Proctor (story)
Ramon Ramirez (Story)
Mason Tobin (story)
Guillermo Quiroz (story)
Kensuke Tanaka (story)
Cole Gillespie (story)
That feeling when you're a grown man and you think to yourself, "Wait, how did I miss the Fabio Castillo news????"
One of those players will be a part of the season-long routine. We'll fete him, complain about him, lionize and villainize him. And he'll help the Giants win a World Series, or else become one of the franchise's greatest disappointments.
We can eliminate most of the catchers. Most of them are there because the pitchers need to throw to somebody, and if the Giants need to lean on an NRI catcher, well, I'll be blogging exclusively about recipes by August because the Giants season will suck eggs.
I'm also eliminating the prospects from the equation, like Joe Panik and Gary Brown. They don't really count as NRIs, as the team still has high hopes for their respective futures.
With all that in mind, my top-five picks for the Andres Torres Memorial Award (Even Though He's Back):
5. Brock Bond
He has to -- absolutely has to -- field like Conor Gillaspie wrapped in Saran Wrap. At any and every position, Bond has to be a total disaster. He plays the infield and the outfield, and his career OBP in the minors is .410. Every team had a shot at him in the Rule 5 Draft. No one took him. That's about the best defensive scouting report I've ever seen.
But as a late-inning bench option that somehow surfaces when the other ones fail or get hurt, I'm still pulling for him to make a cameo.
4. Kensuke Tanaka
Is this the first time the Giants have been a Japanese player's first stop in the U.S.? Since Masanori Murakami, at least? The Giants' scouting department must have seen something they liked, as Tanaka is kind of a unique signing in recent Giants history. I'll guess he becomes the official Ryan Theriot replacement and starts the season in the majors.
3. Ryan Sadowski
Only because it would be amusing. I remember after Sadowski's run of success when he was first called up, there were a couple of callers on KNBR who were just a little too into him. "Okay, so we have Lincecum, Cain, and Sadowski. Maybe we should trade one for a hitter???" He could outloux Shane Loux.
2. Cole Gillespie
The Giants could use a true right-handed complement to Gregor Blanco. Andres Torres ain't it. Brett Pill ain't it. Give me Gillespie as the lefty-masher who can also field and run a bit. This is probably my favorite minor-league deal of the offseason.
1. Brett Bochy
NARRATIVE. This would be the Harbowl of the Giants' season. Did you know that Bruce Bochy's son is on the team? Did you? Did you? Did you? Every Fox game. Did you know? Every ESPN game. Did you know? If the Giants make the playoffs, every TBS game. Did you know? Every MLB Network game. Did you, did you, did you, huh, huh, huh?
But there's another reason. He's kind of a badass reliever.
Quite nice. He had some arm tenderness at the end of last year, but I'm guessing the NRI means he's doing okay. It'd be neat to watch Bochy stop out to the mound and take him out after a leadoff walk, at least.
Now you. Which of the names up there do you think we'll see a lot of this season? You can be a weenie and pick someone obvious, like Heath Hembree. Or you can be hardcore and go off the beaten path. The choice is yours. Weenie.