San Francisco Giants: Grant Green signs a minor league contract
By Gary Oversen
In keeping with a common theme in the San Francisco Giants organization, the team signed yet another former shortstop.
The San Francisco Giants are always on the lookout for quality baseball players. They have turned several former shortstops into big league talent at other positions. Joe Panik and Matt Duffy were both drafted as shortstops. Now Panik is an All-Star second baseman, and Duffy came out of nowhere to solidify third base.
The team seems like they may be on to something, and they continue to look for more talent to add depth to the current roster. Christian Arroyo, the 2013 first round shortstop, is tearing the cover off the ball in the minors. And the team decided to take a flyer on another former shortstop, Grant Green.
Green, 27, is a former first round draft choice by the Oakland A’s. He was drafted 13th overall in the 2009 draft. Some names to throw out there that were also picked in the first round in that draft: Stephen Strasburg (1st overall), Zack Wheeler (6th), Mike Leake (8th), Drew Storen (10th), A.J. Pollock (17th), and Mike Trout (25th).
With the scouting and the amount of money that is put into the draft, it is hard to imagine that teams can swing and miss so badly on top picks. But it does happen, look at Gary Brown.
But like Brown, a player can always redeem themselves, even if it isn’t with the team that drafted them. And that seems to be the hope of the Giants front office.
Green was moved to second base pretty early in his career and also has some experience in the outfield. He is a lifetime .309 hitter in the minors, and has hit .249 in 300 at-bats in the majors.
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He showed promise in 2010 when he hit .318 with 20 home runs in High-A ball. He then followed that up by hitting .291 in Double-A. In 2012, he hit .296 in Triple-A Sacramento with 15 home runs, and looked to be on track for the big club soon. Defense was his only liability, with pretty high error totals at short and second.
Then in 2013, the A’s were looking for an experienced infielder, so they traded for Alberto Callaspo, sending Green to the Los Angeles Angels in return. Green had hit .325 in Sacramento that year, and again, the only question was his defense.
Last year he hit .306 in Triple-A Salt Lake City, still in the Angels organization. He played all over the field, but most of his games were played in left field. He also played with the Angels in 21 games last year. He only hit .190 in 21 games.
If his numbers were produced in an organization that had more invested in him, like the A’s, he most likely wouldn’t have been released. But the Angels decided to move on, and that is where the Giants stepped in.
He has had much better numbers defensively in the outfield, but has shown great improvement over the last couple of seasons in the infield. The Giants do have a hole to fill in left field, but this shouldn’t prevent them from continuing to pursue a more experienced bat out there.
However, with the signing of Kyle Blanks, they could decide to spend all of their money on pitching, and hope that Blanks is Michael Morse, and Green is a healthy Nori Aoki.
At this point, he most likely projects to be a depth piece that will serve as a fifth outfielder and right-handed bat off the bench. His familiarity with the west coast (he grew up in Anaheim, played college ball at USC, and started his career playing mostly in Stockton and Sacramento) should keep his comfort level pretty high.
If the team decides to send him to Sacramento to start the season, he could be a valuable piece for them to grab at any time. And even if the team signs an everyday outfielder, Green would be a great addition to pair with Kelby Tomlinson off the bench.
As has been the case with several recent under the radar signings (Justin Maxwell, Joaquin Arias, Yusmeiro Petit, Gregor Blanco, Ryan Vogelsong), the team does its due diligence before finalizing a deal.
It is possible that Grant Green just needs an opportunity to play, and be around major league talent on a consistent basis. Perhaps if he gets that, that untapped potential will finally be realized.