Ex-Giants Around The Majors (And Minors) 2017
(originally written 7/21/17)
Ehire Adrianza (a Giant from 2013-16)
Adrianza served as a fill-in infielder for SF, lasting parts of four seasons despite being outrighted off the roster at one point. After batting .220 in 154 games with the Giants, the 27-year-old joined Milwaukee via waivers in January, was cut three days later, then signed by Minnesota.
As a Twin, the versatile infielder has added outfielder to his resume. Through 7/20 he's batting .309, including .435 in his previous eight games.
Nori Aoki (2015)
Aoki played well for the GIants in early 2015 before a leg injury and nagging concussion symptoms brought him down. After spending 2016 with Seattle, Aoki now handles LF for the first-place Houston Astros, his fifth team in six major league seasons. Through 7/20, Aoki is batting .270 in 65 games; on 6/30 he even pitched an (unpretty) inning.
Carlos Beltran (2011)
Beltran—in the news recently for this—has bounced around plenty in the six years since his Giants stint. He returned to the Houston Astros in 2017 after a 13-year absence, grayer and beefier, but still somewhat productive (12 HR, .410 SLG through 7/20). Beltran, 40, presently needs 313 hits for 3,000 and 67 HR for 500. No, I don't believe it either.
Gregor Blanco (2012-16)
Blanco quietly spent five seasons with the Giants, and at no point during that period were you ever necessarily happy to have him around until one of the regular outfielders inevitably wound up disabled. He jumped to division rival Arizona this past winter, wasn't healthy and failed to break camp with the team, but was shortly called up and is at .253 in 52 games through 7/20.
Naturally, now that Gorkys Hernandez and that Caliste dude are patrolling left field in Jarrett Parker's absence...Blanco is missed.
Mike Broadway (2014-15)
After 10 years in the minors, hard-throwing Broadway just couldn't sustain major league success, bouncing up and down between the Giants and AAA like a basketball. He was ultimately released by the Giants in July 2016 to join the Japan League, returning to the U.S. on a MiLB contract with Washington this year.
Ironically, he was cut four days after the well-known Bryce Harper/Giants brawl...maybe he was defending his old teammate Hunter Strickland too loudly?
Melky Cabrera (2012)
For a long time, I didn't forgive this guy for getting busted for PEDs just as the 2012 pennant race heated up—especially since he'd been the Giants best offensive player not named Posey, and had grown popular at AT&T Park. I wouldn't even print his name.
Eventually, I got over it once I realized Cabrera doesn't give two craps what I or any writer thinks about him and will continue to cash five-to-seven-figure paychecks regardless of how I address him.
Cabrera continues to plug along, now in Year Two of a three-year deal with the White Sox. He's batting .286 with 12 homers through 7/20, and is slugging .593 in the month of July.
Santiago Casilla (2010-16)
One of nine Giants on all three championship teams, Casilla racked up 123 saves as a Giant, but by the end of 2016 all anyone cared about were the nine he'd blown that year.
Hurt by not being used in the Giants' NLDS elimination game, Casilla re-joined his original team, Oakland, where he's gotten the bulk of save ops (20; 15 converted) among the team's four (now two) experienced closers. I was present for his most recent blown save, on 7/18. It was the only taint on Root Beer Float Night at the Coliseum.
Rajai Davis (2007-08)
The return in the 2007 Matt Morris trade with Pittsburgh, Davis wasn't a Giant for long; most of you probably forgot he was ever there. He's since gone on to a very good career most notably with Oakland and Toronto; last year he helped keep Cleveland alive in Game 7 with an 8th-inning home run off Chicago relief ace Aroldis Chapman.
This year, 36-year-old Davis is back in Oakland, but it hasn't been a smooth go (.227 in 75 games), albeit with 17 steals and a .417 average since Independence Day.
Matt Duffy (2014-16)
We were stunned when the up-and-coming infielder, a 2015 Rookie Of The Year runner-up, was sacrificed to Tampa Bay in the Matt Moore trade—yeah, SF needed a starter, but really?
When Duffy first reached Tampa, he ripped the cover off the ball. But his season ended early due to Achilles problems; he underwent surgery and hasn't played yet in 2017. The good news: Duffy recently started drills. The bad news: there was a setback with his heel. His status is uncertain.
Note: there is a second Matt Duffy out there who's played a handful of games with the Astros the past couple years. He's a corner infielder, a little older and a little bigger than "our" Matt Duffy. So if one resurfaces, make sure it's the right one.
Jeff Francoeur (2014)
Francoeur struggled as a Giant and prospects for continuing his career were not strong. But the outfielder with the cannon arm eked out two more full MLB seasons—2015 with the Phils, and 2016 split with the Braves and Marlins—before retiring in May 2017 to join the Fox broadcast team.
Kevin Frandsen (2006-09, 2015)
I officially felt old upon learning Frandsen was retiring after a decade in MLB—in my mind he was still the local kid making good with his (kind of) hometown team. But that was a long time ago, and Frandsen had made the rounds since then.
His most recent major league action came in 2015 (a brief return to the injury-depleted Giants.) In the summer of 2016, he took his talents to sports talk radio—KNBR 1050 San Francisco, specifically. "Frannie" retired with a .258 average and 15 home runs in 514 MLB games, 181 as a Giant.
Heath Hembree (2013-14)
The big debate of July 2014: was hard-throwing young reliever Heath Hembree worth the potential rental of veteran Red Sox RHP Jake Peavy?
In hindsight, yes indeed—Peavy was instrumental in helping the Giants reach that postseason, while the now-28-year-old Hembree has yet to spend a whole season in the bigs (though he's on pace to do so in 2017, his fourth year with the Red Sox.)
Hembree, astonishingly, has yet to earn a big league save.
Chris Heston (2014-16)
It wasn't quite Philip Humber-level, but Heston's career nosedive after throwing a no-hitter in June 2015 might challenge that of Bud Smith if he's not careful. Heston spent all of 2015 in the Giants rotation and threw well for the most part, but for mysterious reasons wasn't given much of a real shot in 2016, spending most of the year in AAA.
He wound up traded to Seattle this past winter, waived, claimed by Minnesota, waived, and claimed by the Dodgers, where he's currently employed. Maybe Heston's just not that nice of a guy.
Mike Leake (2015)
Leake came to the Giants in a mid-2015 trade with Cincinnati. He pitched decently enough, then moved on to the Cardinals as a free agent. Upside: the Giants replaced him with an even better former Red, Johnny Cueto. Downside: the Reds still have slugging Adam Duvall, who went east in the trade.
As of 7/20, Leake is 6-8, 3.39 in 19 starts. Strange stat: even though Leake has already walked as many batters (30) in 19 starts as he did in 30 starts last year, his ERA is 1.30 lower.
Jean Machi (2012-15)
Machi made his MLB debut with the 2012 Giants, 12 years after being signed. Over 2013-14 he was a key relief contributor before being waived in July 2015 to make room for fresh-off-the-DL Tim Hudson.
The big splitter artist has signed with four organizations since (including a return to the Giants system in mid-2016) and return to MLB in May 2017, getting in five games for Seattle.
Nick Noonan (2013-15)
The infielder didn't exactly light it up while with the Giants, but hey, not every homegrown prospect will become a Brandon Crawford. Noonan got a look with the 2016 Padres and has split 2017 in the Milwaukee and Miami systems. To date, his numbers are not pretty.
Ramiro Pena (2016)
Subbing for injured reserve Kelby Tomlinson, Pena hit very well in his nearly two months with the Giants. Yet when Hunter Pence came off the DL, Pena was outrighted to AAA, and the club chose to call up Ehire Adrianza when it needed another infielder a few days later. I felt for the guy...all he did was bat .299 and slug .425 and he still couldn't stick in the majors.
Pena is in the Japan League for 2017.
Juan Perez (2013-15)
Perez, the fleet, strong-armed outfielder whose heavy-hearted double against ace reliever Wade Davis helped seal Game 5 of the 2014 World Series, moved on to the Cubs organization after 117 games over three seasons with San Francisco.
At last check, 30-year-old Perez was with AAA Toledo (Tigers), although he's only accumulated 93 at-bats.
Yusmeiro Petit (2012-15)
Based on his career achievements prior to landing in SF, Petit was perhaps the least likely contributor to the Giants' 2012 and 2014 championships. After four seasons alternating between the rotation and bullpen—with precious few letdowns—Petit moved on to Washington, the club he helped eliminate from the 2014 playoffs.
To date in 2017, 32-year-old Petit has pitched strictly in relief and pitched well for the Angels.
Sergio Romo (2008-16)
For nine seasons, Giants fans were treated to Romo and his giant beard, frisbee sliders, and mound stalking. But in the off-season bullpen makeover, Romo headed south to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
It's been a rough go for the 34-year-old in 2017 (seven HR and 12 BB in 25 IP through 7/20), He hit the DL with an ankle sprain in June, and was finally cut in mid-July.
Hector Sanchez (2011-15)
Sanchez was the primary backup catcher to Buster Posey for three seasons until thrown off course by concussion problems; eventually the team turned to Andrew Susac and Sanchez moved on. The big switch-hitter opened 2017 with the Padres and though he lost extensive time with a hamstring injury, he returned in time to sink the Giants with a walk-off home run 7/15 (and another blast in his first AB the next day.)
Pablo Sandoval (2008-14)
As you probably know, Sandoval stole money his first two Red Sox seasons, missing practically all of 2016 after shoulder surgery. In 2017 he missed a month with a sprained knee and never brought his numbers up, although he did play an inning at second base.
The Red Sox, as you may have heard, released Sandoval in mid-July, and the Giants appear set to bring Sandoval back.
Chris Stewart (2011)
Stewart was never intended to "receive" much, if any, major league run with the Giants. Signed to a AAA deal, he was thrust into action after Buster Posey's catastrophic leg injury in May 2011. He's in his fourth year with the Pirates, though he's been out with a hamstring injury.
(Stewart, in a way, has a hand in the present-day Giants—in Spring 2012, once Posey was determined fully recovered, Stewart was swapped to the Yankees for reliever George Kontos.)
Andrew Susac (2014-15)
Susac took advantage of Hector Sanchez's injuries to leapfrog him on the Giants catching depth chart in 2014. But by 2016, Susac had his own injury problems and young Trevor Brown was holding his own at backup catcher. So SF dealt Susac to Milwaukee for lefty RP Will Smith.
Milwaukee was (correctly) anticipating a trade of star C Jonathan LuCroy, meaning opportunity awaited Susac. However, he only got in nine games with the '16 Brewers and has spent all of '17 in AAA, not exactly turning heads.
Ruben Tejada (2016)
Tejada's only on this list because his brief Giants tenure came just last year. Only recently has he returned to the majors since being cut by San Francisco; the guy whose injury triggered the new slide rules is now a Baltimore Oriole, batting .272 in 29 games through 7/20.
Ryan Vogelsong (2000-01, 2011-15), Jake Peavy (2014-16), Angel Pagan (2012-16), Joe Nathan (1999-2003, 2016), Tim Lincecum (2007-15), Travis Ishikawa (2006-10, 2014-15)
None of these men have officially retired, but none of them currently have jobs. Soon-to-be-40-year-old Vogelsong went to camp with Minnesota this year, but didn't make the team. Nathan was cut from Washington's AAA team on 5/31. Pagan held out for a major league offer that never came.
After a trying 2016, 36-year-old Peavy hopes to catch on with a team later this summer, though that's looking increasingly unlikely. Lincecum was an utter disaster with the 2016 Angels; his career seems over. Ishikawa has not been heard from at all this year.