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Giants add four players, outright Jae-gyun Hwang

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The Giants have a new backup to the backup catcher, but it’s not who you were expecting

MLB: Spring Training-San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers
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Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants are prepared to make their first round of September call-ups on Friday, and the scuttlebutt has them calling up four players initially: Orlando Calixte, Derek Law, Steven Okert, and Tim Federowicz.

[record scratch]

Yes! Tim Federowicz, who has quietly been one of the more underappreciated catchers of his generation. He has a career 51 OPS+ in 307 major league plate appearances, but most of that has come in ludicrously small samples, spread out over several years. He’s hit .291/.356/.461 over 10 minor league seasons, which suggests a little bat control, a little patience, and a little power, which is all you need from a backup catcher if he can field his position. True to form, Federowicz hit .300/.366/.463 in Sacramento.

Put it in perspective: If he hit .240/.306/.403 in the majors, he would be a fantastic backup catcher. I just lopped off 60 points unceremoniously from each one of those PCL slash lines, and it still looks good. If he hits less than that, he’s probably still fine. I can get why the Giants would be interested in this test drive over another round of Trevor Brown.

If there’s a catch, it’s that the Giants had to outright Jae-gyun Hwang off the 40-man roster. Earlier in the day, I suggested that he might be designated for assignment, but I didn’t know that he could be outrighted instead. And, of course, we all know the difference between those two. If you’ll just give me a second ... uh ... okay, looks like outrighted means he cleared waivers already, and he can be placed on the minor league team. There’s no option to trade or release him, like there would be with a DFA, and this can happen just once in a player’s career.

The other call-ups aren’t very surprising. Calixte probably would have been up already if baseball had a 27-man roster, as the Giants like his ability to infield and outfield when asked. Law was one of 2017’s grandest disappointments except for all the other ones, and he’s looked better in his Triple-A tuneup. Okert was supposed to be the Osich of 2017, but he couldn’t even out-Osich Osich. He’ll get another shot, as Osich was Okerting his chances of sticking around.

There are still more call-ups to come, but this first round isn’t too wild, although the Giants have a new backup catcher. That means that Nick Hundley is free to play a few innings at shortstop, everyone!

Or he would if I were managing.

I’d make the best September manager for a meaningless team, everyone.

If you were expecting Chris Shaw, well, I told you so. But there are probably a couple more players coming. We’ll wait until at least Sept. 4 to figure out who.