This is the time of year where teams add players to the 40-man roster to avoid losing them in the Rule 5 draft. Last year, players like Ty Blach and Chris Stratton were a procedural move closer to making the majors, which they did the following season. This year, the Giants added Dan Slania, Chase Johnson, and Reyes Moronta, just like they were expected to. They also added Miguel Gomez, an interesting infielder who had a big, contact-heavy year. This was a minor surprise, not a major one. The odds of us seeing them in the majors just went up.
They also added utility player Orlando Calixte. Which means I suppose we should figure out who Orlando Calixte is.
The 24-year-old Calixte is an infielder/outfielder who was just signed as a minor-league free agent, coming over from the Royals’ system. He’s a career .247/.303/.376 hitter in the minors (eh), but he hit .274/.324/.420 between Double-A and Triple-A last year (eh?) and the Giants must see something they like. Calixte is not without tools, rating as the #7 prospect for the Royals before the 2013 season according to Baseball America, who wrote ...
Known as Paul Carlixte before teams discovered that he and his brother had swapped identities
So he’s a replacement for Santiago Casilla/Jairo Garcia, then. Got it.
Calixte has average power to go with a solid bat. He has yet to show the patience to draw walks, as he’s aggressive early and late in the count. With good range, excellent hands, and a strong arm, he is a solid to plus defender at shortstop.
That was three years ago, though, and apparently he’s filled out a bit. He spent 81 games last year between center and right field, 30 games at second base, 17 games at third base, and 11 games at shortstop. That might be a referendum on his defense, or it might have been an acknowledgement that Raul Mondesi, Jr. was the shortstop of the future, and that Calixte should broaden his horizons.
Calixte does have a World Series ring, getting three plate appearances for the 2015 Royals, going 0-for-3 and scoring a run after entering as a pinch-runner. He stayed in the game at shortstop, moving Christian Colon from short to second, so the Royals think he can fake it there, at least.
Does this have to mean anything? No. The Giants’ 40-man roster was very, very pitcher-heavy, and this would balance it out a little. The only infielders other than the starters on the roster were Conor Gillaspie, Ehire Adrianza, and Kelby Tomlinson. This is one more contingency plan.
But it cooooooould mean that the Giants are picking up on some interest on one of those infielders in trade talks. This is just speculation, but if they’ve heard two teams inquire about the availability of a specific infielder, this would be a way for them to hedge their bets.
Or it could be the Giants adding an infielder/outfielder to their roster because they think he can help as a utility player.
Those are your 40-man additions for 2016. The odds are outstanding that you’ll see one of them next year. I do enjoy the steady stream of new baseball players every year.
Edit: The original post didn’t include Miguel Gomez, but that was karma for forgetting to link to my source for the original news.