The San Francisco Giants are close to signing Melvin Upton Jr. to a minor-league contract, according to Mark Feinsand.
The San Francisco Giants are close to bringing veteran outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. into the mix in what is most likely an attempt to address the glaring problem of left field. In the first five games to start the season, Giant left fielders have been held hitless in 20 at-bats while accumulating 10 strikeouts.
San Francisco’s platoon of Jarrett Parker and Chris Marrero failed to contribute offensively during the team’s four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, so much so that Bruce Bochy started Aaron Hill in left field in an 8-7 loss against the San Diego Padres.
With Mac Williamson and Michael Morse dealing with respective injuries, San Francisco’s options regarding the left field position remain limited. Last week, the Giants signed another outfielder in Drew Stubbs to a minor-league contract as well to add to their organizational depth.
Parker’s lack of production is likely testing San Francisco’s patience, but with Williamson still sidelined with a quad injury, the Giants are experimenting with options until the 26-year-old can play.
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Upton Jr., 32, is coming off of a below-average year offensively in which he hit .238/.291/.402 with a wOBA of .297 and wRC+ of 84, but he managed to hit 20 home runs and swipe 27 bags. He was a great fielder in 2016 as well, worth 10 Defensive Runs Saved in 912.2 innings in left field. Should the left field position remain unproductive, Upton Jr. could potentially start until Williamson regains his health.
Last week, the Toronto Blue Jays fielded offers regarding Upton Jr., but released him after failing to produce a deal. The San Francisco Giants initially did not have interest, but circumstances have changed due to Parker and Marrero’s lack of recent production.
In twelve big league seasons, Upton Jr. has a career slash line of .243/.321/.402 with a wOBA of .318, wRC+ of 98, 164 home runs, and 300 stolen bases. He has been a member of the 20/20 club in four years, including a two-year stretch in 2011 and 2012 in which he slugged 51 home runs and stole 67 bases.