Chris Heston is rejoining the San Francisco Giants on a minor league contract. He spent the 2017 season battling injuries, and bouncing around from the Mariners, Twins, and Dodgers organizations.
His decision to rejoin the San Francisco Giants is the least surprising move since Hector Sanchez‘s decision to rejoin the organization just a couple of weeks ago. The Giants have made it a habit of bringing back players who previously played for the organization, and Heston is next-in-line.
Heston put together a memorable season in 2015, but injuries since then have put his career at a crossroads. In 2015, Heston was a consistent presence in the rotation. He made 31 starts while posting a 12-11 record with a 3.95 ERA. These stats look solid, but struggles in the second half of the season forced the Giants to reconsider his role.
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By 2016, the Giants were preparing him in a long relief role in the same mold as Yusmeiro Petit. Heston never got an opportunity to fully embrace this role after sustaining an oblique strain. This injury kept him out of action for part of the 2016 season. He never made it back to the Giants roster that season.
Following that season, the Giants found a trade partner in the Mariners and sent him to Seattle. The Giants received a player to be named later, and that player became Tyler Herb. Herb likely has a better chance of playing for the Giants in 2018 as he is on the 40-man roster.
Heston made very brief stops with the Mariners and Twins before joining the Dodgers at the end of last season. His high point from last year seems to be pitching against the Giants in his only appearance in a Twins uniform. After battling injuries in 2016 and 2017, Remaining healthy will likely be one of his personal goals heading into the 2018 season.
The chances are not good that Heston will don a Giants uniform. If he does, it might be a result of numerous injuries to the rotation. So, Giants fans will always have the no-hitter he authored in 2015, but the expectations for him should be realistic.
He was designated for assignment once by the Giants in 2013. He remained with the organization, but it is safe to assume the Giants did not expect him to perform the way he did in 2015. His 2015 statistics look to be an outlier thus far, but he should provide depth for the AAA rotation. Regardless, bringing Heston back feels right, and it will be a fun story in Spring Training.