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Ex-Giants in AAA

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Like the article about the majors, but with teams you’re not quite as familiar with

MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Indians at Arizona Diamondbacks Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Some ex-Giants stick around in the majors, and proud we are of all of them. Others, however, have to go to AAA to work their way back. So just like last year, here are the former Giants in just that position, fighting to get out of the minor leagues and back to the majors.

PCL

American Northern

Iowa Cubs (Cubs)

Our buddy George Kontos is on the Iowa Cubs. It’s nice for Kontos that he got to sign with the (Chicago) Cubs, since they are his childhood team, and he always seemed like a perfectly swell guy, so there’s nothing wrong here. This is good! It would be more good if he got to pitch in a game at Wrigley as a Cub in front of his friends and family, but this is still good.

Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals)

None.

Nashville Sounds (Rangers)

Chase d’Arnaud! d’Arnaud is great fun as a person, and as Bryan pointed out, was much needed comic relief for the Giants. This year, he’s started a new project called The Journeyman Series, all about the unglamorous life of a non-star playing affiliated baseball. Anyway, he’s fun and you should like him and don’t hold it against him that he fell prey to the suffocating misery of being a hitter on the 2018 Giants.

Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals)

Andrew Susac! I think! Look, not all the AAA rosters are finalized right now, so it can be a bit tough to tell what’s going on. As of Wednesday night, Omaha’s roster has five catchers on it, which is probably wrong? But the Royals just traded for Susac and his mustache, so it’s hard to imagine they’ll send him down to AA.

Seriously though, look at that mustache.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles-Media Day Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

American Southern

New Orleans Baby Cakes (Marlins)

The ol’ pig punter himself, Mike Kickham. Kickham’s been a perfectly serviceable AAA arm for the Marlins for the last few years, and if he’s happy with that, you can be too.

Oklahoma City Dodgers (Dodgers)

They have a Will Smith, but not that Will Smith. Or that other Will Smith. A different, unique Will Smith.

Round Rock Express (Astros)

Hey, remember Drew Ferguson, that speedy outfielder who couldn’t hit? No, not that speedy outfielder who couldn’t hit. Or that one. Or that other one. He’s the one who...look, he’s back with the Astros now, is the important thing.

San Antonio Missions (Brewers)

None. Fun to see a new team though! Sorry your team got downgraded from AAA to short-season ball, Colorado Springs. Maybe you should have considered existing at a lower altitude? Just a thought.

Pacific Northern

Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)

Remember Orlando Calixte? Doesn’t it feel like an eternity since he was on the team? Well, 2018 took literally forever, so it was an eternity. You nailed it.

Fresno Grizzlies (Nationals)

None.

Reno Aces (Diamondbacks)

Who here is excited for your Kelby Tomlinson update? Tomlinson, who will surely get massive cheers when he comes back to Sacramento because he was an incredibly popular River Cat, signed with the Diamondbacks over the offseason and found himself in exactly the same place. Well, not literally, I guess, since Sacramento and Reno are physically different places separated by more than 100 miles. He found himself in spiritually the same place, which is AAA.

Sacramento River Cats (Giants)

Took a glance at the roster, didn’t recognize any names.

Pacific Southern

Salt Lake Bees (Angels)

Oh hey, it’s Jarrett Parker! After a miserable Spring Training that ended with a DFA, Parker took 2018 off from baseball, but came back in 2019, and immediately won a spot with the Giants, hitting .241/.389/.517 in Arizona. Of course, since he was with the Angels organization, he couldn’t take the Giants up on that offer, but it was still a nice gesture.

Las Vegas Aviators (A’s)

None.

Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies)

None.

El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres)

Chris Stewart! Stewart, along with Eli Whiteside, formed a two-headed catching monster that could not replace Buster Posey’s production after he got hurt in 2011, and was traded to the Yankees for George Kontos the following spring. Now both Stewart and Kontos are in the minors with other teams, so in the end, the real winner of that trade was, you guessed it, the fans.

IL

International League North

Syracuse Mets (Mets)

Tim Tebow was a giant...talent! In college football! Ha ha, I sure do like to mention athletes who people like to Google.

On just about any other team, I’d devote like four paragraphs to dumb Tebow jokes solely for the sake of SEO, but there’s too much to get to in Syracuse. First off, they have Rene Rivera, who was somehow not the Giants’ backup catcher this year after a full spring of everyone raving about him and acting as if he was an absolute lock to be the Giants’ backup catcher. That’s weird, right? And everyone’s forgotten? But it was weird? Right?

Then there’s Rajai Davis, who stopped being a San Francisco Giant before Buster Posey was drafted, but is still kicking around baseball. Will he get another shot this year? Let’s hope so. Finally, there’s Gregor Blanco. Gregor Blanco! I had no idea he’d signed anywhere, and there he is, on the Syracuse Mets roster, still trying to make it.

In conclusion, the Syracuse Mets are a land of contrasts.

Rochester Red Wings (Twins)

Who here is interested in some hot John Andreoli action?
(Crickets refuse to chirp because it’s too cliched)
All right, fair enough.

Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays)

As of Tuesday morning, Derek Law is a Buffalo Bison, and good for him. It’s not necessarily the case that he’ll get a major league opportunity with the Blue Jays, but it was necessarily the case that he wasn’t going to get one with the Giants after being DFA’d, so this was a good trade for him.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees)

None.

Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox)

They’ve got two. First off, they have left-handed reliever Ran Dunzler! Ah, good ol’ Ran Dunzler, who has absolutely not suffered from control problems throughout his baseball career and whose family definitely hasn’t ever emailed me complaining about what I said about Dunzler in this very article two years ago. Ran Dunzler. Good Giant.

And the second ex-Giant on the PawSox is none other than Gorkys Hernandez. Gorkys, for all the flaws in his game, was second on the Giants in homers last year, and that stat is very telling about both Gorkys and the 2018 Giants. Hopefully he will get the chance to hit even more homers this year for a better team. If I may quote Neil Armstrong here, good luck, Mr. Gorkys.

Lehigh Valey IronPigs (Phillies)

None.

International League South

Durham Bulls (Rays)

None.

Gwinnett Stripers (Braves)

This is where the Braves are stashing Adam Duvall. Duvall had a miserable season in Cincinnati last year, got traded to the Braves midseason, didn’t revitalize himself, had a miserable spring this year in Florida, and got sent down to AAA. Very kind of him to show solidarity with his former organization by just being super shitty. That’s true commitment.

Norfolk Tides (Orioles)

Luis Ysla, the former Giants farmhand who was traded for Alejandro de Aza in 2015 (fun fact: a baseball player named Alejandro de Aza was on the 2015 Giants), is still kicking around the minors, still walking absolutely everyone in existence, still putting up ERAs over 5. Teams still see raw stuff in him, so good for him for making the most of that and continuing to get signed. Even if he’s never actually, you know, good.

Charlotte Knights (White Sox)

Josh Osich! Osich got DFA’d and picked up twice this offseason, with the Orioles the intermediate stop between the Giants and the White Sox, and here he is, getting another chance to harness his stuff and become the dominant reliever everyone can visualize in their head. Maybe this is the team that has a mechanical tweak that will fix everything, think the fans of that team. Why not us?

The answer to that, of course, is “Because pitching is incredibly hard and there’s no shame in being just one of the 800 best people in the world at it instead of one of the best 400,” but no one really wants to hear that.

The Knights’ manager is Guillermo Quiroz, by the way. He hit that homer that time! That homer was cool and I liked it.

International League West

Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)

No one but Cameron Rupp, who, like Rene Rivera, was in camp with the Giants this spring, but unlike Rene Rivera, was released because Rene Rivera was definitely better than him. Then Rivera didn’t make the team and they traded for someone else.

Seriously, it’s weird.

Columbus Clippers (Indians)

The Clippers employ Tim Federowicz, who was on the Giants for about a month in 2017, and Cameron Maybin, who was on the Giants for about a month this spring. Federowicz is a good receiver (and at one time he was Clayton Kershaw’s personal catcher), while Maybin used to be an excellent outfielder and the Giants apparently didn’t like what they saw in Spring Training this year.

In any case, they’re both now in Columbus, Ohio, which going by pure population and not metro area is the biggest city in the state. And this concludes today’s edition of Columbus Ohio Fun Facts.

Indianapolis Indians (Pirates)

Indianapolis’s left fielder is Bryan Reynolds, who went over to the Pirates organization in the Andrew McCutchen trade. Reynolds had a solid year last year, which is fine since the Giants are so flush with outfielders they don’t even need another one. Who wants outfielders, am I right? (laughs nervously for six minutes, discomforting everyone in a three block radius)

Louisville Bats (Reds)

So they’ve got pitching coach Jeff Fassero (he was old when he was on the Giants, that’s it, that’s the joke), but they also have Keury Mella, who was the non-Duvall half of the Mike Leake trade, and Jose Lopez, whose momentous Giants career will surely inspire songs and poetry for generations to come. Lopez was claimed from the Reds on February 12 of this year, and was picked up by the Reds on March 28 after being designated for assignment by the Giants. The circle of life is a mysterious and beautiful thing, and we should cherish being able to even taste its magnifice-

FARHAN DON’T YOU DARE PICK UP ANOTHER CATCHER WE’RE ALL FULL UP AND THIS GOT WEIRD FOUR CATCHERS AGO