As they gear up for one heck of a Wild Card race, the San Francisco Giants are getting reinforcements. Reinforcements in the form of players they thought over the offseason would be a huge part of the team’s success this year.
Ahead of their second game against the Cincinnati Reds, the Giants activated veteran outfielder Mitch Haniger from the 60-day Injured List. In corresponding moves, outfielder Heliot Ramos was optioned to AAA Sacramento, where center fielder Bryce Johnson was designated for assignment.
Haniger, arguably the biggest free agent signing by the Giants this offseason, has had a tough first year with his hometown team. He started the year injured, debuted on April 24, and struggled to find his rhythm. He had started to catch fire at the end of May and start of June when a pitch ran in on him and fractured his forearm.
On the year, Haniger has hit just .230/.281/.372, but in his final 16 games before the injury, he hit .283/.358/.483 in 67 plate appearances. His power and ability to play every day (when healthy) should really help the Giants down the stretch.
It’s another tough break for Ramos, who has struggled to break through with the Giants, but has also struggled to get an honest to goodness chance. The third-youngest player to suit up for the Giants this year, Ramos received just 25 plate appearances over the last few weeks in his stints in San Francisco. He hit 5-22 with three extra-base hits and three walks in that time. When he hits the ball it’s been harder than almost any other Giant, but he’s also hitting a lot of ground balls and striking out a lot, and the Giants value players who don’t do those things, so Ramos had clearly fallen behind Luis Matos and Wade Meckler on the depth chart. With Mike Yastrzemski set to return in the next few days, and Michael Conforto later down the road, it’s hard to see Ramos’ road back to the Majors this year.
Johnson, who played a bit early in the year while Haniger was injured, has been DFA’d for the second time, so if he clears waivers he can refuse an assignment to Sacramento and become a Minor League free agent.