Giants sign Tyler Colvin in mad quest for dingers

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants signed left-handed outfielder Tyler Colvin to a minor-league deal over the weekend, and they'll pay him $1 million if he makes the team. I'm guessing he will. The left-handed part isn't exactly what the Giants need, but the power off the bench is.

But let's talk about wanton dingerlust for a moment. Wanton dingerlust has ruined organizations and torn apart families. The sordid, unquenchable search for home runs can take over hearts and minds, leaving a thin husk behind where there was once a vibrant soul.

On the other hand, dingers are pretty neat, and they help baseball teams win. I like dingers. Colvin just might give some bench dingers.

Hold on, though. Some numbers. First, Colvin's career minor-league line: .275/.322/.468. Second, Colvin's career major-league line: .241/.289/.454. So those dingers come at a cost. He's more powerful than, say, Brett Pill, but not by much, and he's just as patient. We never got to see Pill put up a full season's worth of numbers at Coors, either.

Here's what the Giants are chasing:

Year Age PA 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2012 26 452 27 10 18 21 117 .290 .327 .531 .858 114

That's Colvin's last full season, and that kind of production would be quite nice off the bench. Plus, he's less clompy than Michael Morse, so defense isn't as much of an issue. Computer, get some statisticalized predictions for Morse and Colvin:

ZiPS
Morse: .253/.304/.415, 0.2 WAR
Colvin: .235/.284/.435, -0.2 WAR

PECOTA
Morse: .279 true average, 1.4 WAR (505 PA)
Colvin: .250 true average, 0.4 WAR (250 PA)

Mmm-hmmm. Pretty similar. It's like the floating dying guy from Contact said: Why get one when you can get two at twice the opportunity cost?

The difference is the Giants are probably going to use Colvin the right way if he makes the team: off the bench, when dingers are desired. If you're underwhelmed by the projected numbers, you have ridiculously high standards for your fifth outfielder. All you can ask for is a player with an outside chance of something more than replacement production. Colvin provides that chance. Most of the internal options with the Giants don't.

Plus, his defense isn't that bad.

Plus, his defense usually isn't that bad.

The other option, ostensibly, would be Juan Perez. That wouldn't have been a bad choice, considering his super glove/arm, but he'd be the second defense-plus player on the bench, along with Blanco. With Colvin, the Giants have a bopper and a glovesmith. A slugger and a slickster. Dingers and range. Basically, a buddy-cop movie.

That's if Colvin makes the team. But unless he's too hurt -- he dealt with a back injury last year that ruined his season -- he'll probably make the team. He's basically Roger Kieschnick, aged in an oak barrel for a couple extra years. The team kind of needed one of those.

Dingerlust is real, and you should be wary. But if you're looking for free dingers on the February market, they usually don't exist. Kudos to the Giants for finding some slightly soiled dingers in that dumpster over yonder.

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