Kyle Blanks is a gigantic human being. He's listed at 6'6", 265, but he looks larger than that. No hyperbole: He is probably the largest person I've ever stood next to. I was scared he was going to inhale me. It would have been like an Innerspace remake, except I would have died.
Blanks also hits baseballs hard. Very hard. Just annihilates them. He gets on base just enough to make the dingers valuable, and he plays defense much better than you might expect. He's not a disaster out there, and he can even run faster than, say, Michael Morse. He would be a fine fourth or fifth outfielder and bat off the bench. According to John Shea, he'll get that chance with the Giants:
Kyle Blanks is close to finalizing a minor-league deal with the Giants and has a good chance to make the team out of spring training.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) November 17, 2015
Blanks hit .313/.352/.522 with three home runs in 71 plate appearances for the Rangers last year, getting called up after posting a nice .960 OPS in 69 PA in Triple-A. He has potential. He always has.
The problem is that his body is a jerk. His injury history is ghastly. The 29-year-old has accumulated more than 190 plate appearances just once in seven seasons, despite being considered for a semi-regular job almost every year. He's had Tommy John, labrum surgery, calf tears, plantar fascia, Achilles tendonitis, and once against the Giants in 2013, he rowanded straight into an outfield wall. Every time he thinks it's his year to break out, something awful happens.
So Blanks moving to the Giants for an even year is like people moving to Miracle, Texas in The Leftovers. Probably not magic, but it can't hurt to try. Might as well. More than that, though, a healthy Blanks is exactly what the Giants are looking for from an extra outfielder. Power. Right-handed. Can play first base, no problem. He should be, in a perfect world, negotiating a multi-year deal as one of the only palatable first base options on the market.
Instead, he's on a minor-league deal with the Giants, so in the grand tradition of Andres Torres and Gregor Blanco, here's the Giants' best shot to find an even-year outfielder who is much better than we have a right to expect. I've always been fascinated with Blanks, and this signing makes me giddy in that nerdy, minor-league-free-agent way. Players like Blanks don't grow on trees. Trees grow on them. You take a flier on players like this every time.