Once the new year arrives, my thoughts begin to focus on the upcoming baseball season. Can you believe that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in only 40 days??? And FanFest is even sooner than that. I can’t wait to see my boys again after the long winter lull.
On the Hot Stove front, there hasn’t been much major going on since the Melancon acquisition. However, one nugget of joy did fall into our Giants lap – my boy Michael Morse is back! Granted he’s got a minor-league deal, but he’ll be at Spring Training and I’m so looking forward to seeing his smiling face there. I bet Hunter Pence is thrilled to have his old buddy back again as well. May the Morse be with you! Odds of him actually making the team are pretty slim, but who cares! He’s back in the Bay Area! I love that guy! Besides Michael, the Giants also signed Jimmy Rollins and Justin Ruggiano to minor league deals. Rollins spent most of his career with the Phillies, though he also played a season with the Dodgers (BOO!) and last season played 41 games with the White Sox. The Rollins signing brings back memories of the Pat Burrell and Ryan Theriot signings – the Giants brought in guys who were once really good and tested them out to see if they had anything left in the tank. Rollins’ season last year was not stellar (he batted .221) plus he’s 38 years old, but you never know what can happen on this team. He’ll be battling for a backup infield spot. Ruggiano has moved around and played on 7 different major league teams (including one season with the Dodgers – BOO!), and he’s also on the older side (34). He has been a good hitter when he’s healthy (last season he was on the DL twice for shoulder and hamstring issues). Plus he can play both corner outfield positions and first base. So again, we’ll see if some magic can come to him this year – another Giant-like signing. Trevor Brown will also be getting some competition as the Giants signed catcher Tim Federowicz to a minor league contract. Besides his Triple A time, Federowicz has played in parts of 5 major league seasons, including 4 for the Dodgers (BOO!! – I sense a trend here!). Unfortunately, his major league batting average is .194, but he’s hit over .300 while in the minors, so the Giants are hoping he can show them some pop when he competes for a spot on the team in the spring.
As far as rumors regarding potential signings, the Giants have expressed interest in slugger Mark Reynolds as a way of adding some power to the lineup. Reynolds played for the Rockies last season and batted .282 with 14 homers and 53 RBI in 118 games. That’s some pop right there! I like pop! He’s recently played at first base, but he could also play third, so potentially he could be a third base starter, sending Eduardo Nunez to the bench as a backup. Also rumored as a person of interest to the Giants is Korean infielder Jae-gyun Hwang. He would also be a potential third baseman. He’s an unrestricted free agent, so he wouldn’t require a posting fee (and those can get pretty excessive!). Last season in Korea, he hit .330 with 26 homeruns and 104 RBI in 118 games. Granted the Korean League is known for being offense friendly, but those stats are still impressive. We’ll see if the front office actually pursues either of these guys. I’ll keep my ears open.
It breaks my heart to update you on this next item. The wife of our beloved Andres Torres lost her battle with cancer on December 7th. Soannie Torres was only 37 years old. She had been fighting the disease since February. Shortly before she died, the two renewed their wedding vows. So touching. Jorge Ortiz, a Bay Area sportswriter and friend of the Torres family, gave some insight into how Soannie helped Andres with his ADHD: “She would settle him down in a kind, caring way. She once told me how sometimes he would get up in the middle of the night and start taking air swings, obsessively trying to hone his hitting skills, until she would implore him, ‘Yungo (his nickname), come to bed.” The couple have two children, Diego (12) and Mia (4). I was lucky enough to meet Andres in person, and he’s such a friendly and generous man. This is such horrible news. I send my deepest condolences to him, his children, and their family.
Switching over to the lighter side, I have several nuggets to share with you dealing with my boys. Here’s a link that showcases Matt Moore’s offseason wiffle ball prowess. Who would have known? It’s tough to hit a wiffle ball that far! Watch out, Madison! Then there’s Johnny Cueto and a donkey right here. True love. Gosh, I miss watching that guy pitch! Then there’s this letter that a young fan wrote to Bobby Evans trying to get him to sign Melancon. Thanks, Kid! Plus there’s one last article on how Melancon feels about coming to the Giants right here. I know you’re probably tired of reading this stuff by now, but READ IT! I almost didn’t, feeling that same way, but I’m so glad I did. Love that guy even more now. Plus I didn’t realize that he played on the Astros with Hunter. There’s a great Hunter story in there. Plus he mentions the kid that wrote to Bobby Evans – he’s going to be one pumped little boy! READ IT!!
Also found out today that Kate Scott is leaving KNBR. I knew that she was too talented to stay there for very long. She’ll be calling women’s basketball games during the week and anchoring Sports Report on Sunday nights on the PAC-12 Network besides calling some WCC men’s games on CSNBA and CSNCA on Saturdays. Busy girl! Who’s going to keep those KNBR guys in line? And who’s going to take over the MC job for the player interviews during FanFest? She rocked that! I’m super sad to hear she’s leaving, but she really deserves to move on to bigger and better things. Best of luck on your new endeavors, Kate. Still hoping to run into you at a Giants game one day.
I’ve noticed that even KNBR is starting to talk more about baseball now that 49er football is over. So exciting!! Can’t wait for Spring Training to get here. I’m all set to go with my siblings to Arizona in mid-March. Can feel the heat already!! If anything exciting happens in the near future I’ll definitely let you know. Gotta get my spit certificates ready to send out in early April! Until next time, GO GIANTS!!