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Giants sign Chris Heston to minor-league deal

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The move will provide needed depth, nostalgia.

San Francisco Giants v New York Mets Photo By: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

In retrospect, Chris Heston throwing a no-hitter might have been the true end of the Giants’ dynasty, or whatever you want to call it. It was the last burp of magic dust the franchise had left, and while we were waiting for that Even Year Nonsense to show up again, we should have appreciated that no-hitter more.

Well, friends, guess what? You will have that chance. Alex Pavlovic reported that Chris Heston is back in the organization, signing a minor-league deal. The 30-year-old right-hander will likely start the season in Triple-A, but don’t rule out a Best Shape of His Life narrative starting on March 6th that carries him right into the No. 5 spot. That would make the Giants’ rotation look like this:

  1. Madison Bumgarner
  2. Johnny Cueto
  3. Jeff Samardzija
  4. Chris Stratton
  5. Chris Heston
  6. Chris Plimpton
  7. Chris Blanton
  8. Chris Fetton
  9. Chris Tonton
  10. Ton Christrat
  11. Ton O’Chrises
  12. Straton Hestrat

Sorry, blacked out for a second. But the point of this all is that Heston isn’t the leading contender for the last spot in the rotation, but he’s definitely a contender.

After a lost season with the Giants in 2016, Heston was traded to the Mariners for Tyler Herb, who is also a sneaky-fringe contender for that last spot. While in Seattle, he made one disaster start in the majors before he was waived and claimed by the Dodgers, who waived him for the Twins to snag. While Heston will forever hold the record for the lowest ERA in Twins history (tied), he had a bit of a rough go with their Triple-A club, which is how he was available on a minor-league deal.

Still, baseball teams are better when they have something behind the glass case in case of emergency, and Heston is one of those pitchers. I know that I lean on projections a lot, but that’s because I regret to inform you that I wasn’t scouting Heston in the PCL last year. I have no idea if his sinker is still gross in the best possible way, and I don’t know if his struggles were because of injuries or something more, so I’ll have to defer to the projections.

The projections ... aren’t uniformly awful? Marcel (which uses nothing but the raw numbers, after accounting for age) suggests that Heston could put up an ERA under 5.00, which isn’t special, but also isn’t something that can be written about a lot of Triple-A starters. Steamer is less enthused, predicting one inning in which Heston allows exactly 5.49 runs. Which would probably be a very famous outing in baseball history, really. But I’ll take it to mean that his chances of being a replacement-level pitcher aren’t guaranteed.

As a brick in the wall built to defend against oh-no-not-another-injury-dammit-no-no-no moments, though, Heston makes sense. There are a lot of pitchers who would, really, and only some of them will ever be useful again, but we know that this one has a filthy sinker when he’s right, and he also knows all of the clubhouse people by name already. That’s a solid combo, really.

And it means we get to update our list!

  • Darren Ford
  • Jackson Williams
  • Jesse Foppert
  • Todd Linden
  • John Bowker
  • Russ Ortiz
  • Boof Bonser
  • Brad Penny
  • Eric Hacker
  • Andres Torres
  • Kevin Correia
  • Travis Blackley
  • Scott Munter
  • Ryan Vogelsong
  • Travis Ishikawa
  • Kevin Frandsen
  • Nick Noonan
  • Mike Kickham
  • Conor Gillaspie
  • Travis Ishikawa again
  • Jean Machi
  • Chris Heston

The best part is that I’ve almost certainly missed a few. Considering this is the team that brought back Shawon Dunston four times (if you include his coaching career) and went out of their way to get Shawon Dunston, Jr., just to be sure, this is incredibly on-brand. Welcome back, Chris Heston.

Now throw another no-hitter or two, no pressure.