When he first left the San Francisco Giants, Conor Gillaspie was a third baseman who was blocked on the roster by Pablo Sandoval. He had 44 big league at-bats with the team. He returns with 1153, a proven ability to hit major league pitching, and a need on the team for a backup third baseman.
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If the season were to start today, there is a very good chance that Conor Gillaspie would be on the roster. The experience he brings as a left-handed bat off the bench, and the need for a quality backup for Matt Duffy, leads to a good opportunity to him.
The team has added some quality depth pieces to the spring training roster, and the competition for the last couple of spots will be intense.
With Green being a duplication of Kelby Tomlinson, Blanks being primarily an outfielder, and Kottaras strictly a backup catcher, Gillaspie is the only one who would be able to give Duffy some relief at third.
The numbers have been good in the minors (.285 average and a .775 OPS in 7 seasons). In 6 years at the major league level, he is hitting .255 with a .699 OPS. In the role he is likely to play, Gillaspie is a .260-.280 hitter with 10 home run capability.
His signing likely means that the team is done pursuing Juan Uribe, who would have been another former teammate with a similar skill set. But the longer he sits in free agency, the more chances there are for a reunion with him.
Bringing back a former 1st-rounder (Gillaspie was the 37th pick overall in 2008) is always intriguing since it gives the team a second chance at getting value from one of their own picks. Vogelsong and Ishikawa are both examples of this scenario. And the team has won titles with both of them.