Gregor Blanco, who made one of the most famous catches in franchise history and contributed greatly to two different championships, is back with the Giants according to Instagram (spotted by Alex Pavlovic and confirmed by Andrew Baggarly). It’s a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, and considering that Blanco is 34 with declining defense and a 73 OPS+ over the last two years, it’s probably not a great idea to read too much into this.
On the other hand, squeeeeeeeeeeeeee, it’s Gregor Blanco! From that catch! And those teams! He’s a lot of fun, and this viscous nostalgia stew sure is nourishing. Here, take a seat between Chris Heston and Hector Sanchez. Lemme get a picture.
Still, there’s more to this than warm fuzzies. Here’s a sentence that was included in last week’s revelation that Austin Jackson won’t be the full-time center fielder:
My guess, though, is that Dugger is going to get a lot more at-bats than we’re expecting. It’s either that, or the Giants get someone like Peter Bourjos, who would make the major league minimum.
This is that move. If the Giants had signed Bourjos, it wouldn’t have been surprising at all. This is a Peter Bourjos move, except it has to do with a guy who’s been here before. That makes it more interesting and slightly more amusing than a Peter Bourjos deal. But it doesn’t have to be more important. Don’t pencil Blanco in for 400 at-bats.
[quietly pencils Blanco in for 400 at-bats]
The Giants were always going to bring in a left-handed outfielder with experience in center and pay him the minimum to make sure they were under the luxury tax threshold. We just happen to know this guy.
Because of this:
Steamer says that Blanco will hit roughly as poorly as last year and be a replacement-level player. That’s probably about right, though we’ve seen what it’s like for him to surpass expectations. But if the Giants were going to pick up a roughly replacement-level veteran for center field depth — and we know that they were — at least they stayed on brand and brought back an old friend.
Not going to lie: Seems like they bring back an awful lot of old friends. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to notice a pattern.