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SF Giants: Kelby Tomlinson agrees to MiLB deal with Rockies

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Kelby Tomlinson #37 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the San Diego Padres in the bottom of the seventh inning at AT&T Park on September 26, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Kelby Tomlinson #37 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the San Diego Padres in the bottom of the seventh inning at AT&T Park on September 26, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Kelby Tomlinson
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 26: Kelby Tomlinson #37 of the SF Giants bats against the San Diego Padres in the bottom of the seventh inning at AT&T Park on September 26, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

In a move to bolster minor league depth, the Colorado Rockies signed former SF Giants middle infielder Kelby Tomlinson. The right-handed bat will presumably report to Triple-A. Since he last appeared with the Giants in 2018, Tomlinson has bounced around the league, signing deals with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Seattle Mariners, and also the Rockies in a previous stint.

Former SF Giants infielder Kelby Tomlinson agreed to a MiLB deal with the Rockies.

For those keeping score at home, Tomlinson is three-fifths of the way to a Steve Finley, which is designated for players who play for all five National League West teams. The big caveat is that Finley did that at the major league level.

Tomlinson debuted with the Giants in 2015 and turned into a surprisingly productive player down the stretch. Second baseman Joe Panik sustained a back injury that ended his season prematurely, creating an opportunity for Tomlinson.

The former 12th round pick filled in nicely as he slashed .303/.358/.404 (110 OPS+) with two home runs and 20 RBI while being worth 0.7 WAR across 193 plate appearances. The Giants considered turning him into an outfielder on the heels of his 2015 campaign, but it was an experiment that was never consistently maneuvered.

Tomlinson’s rookie campaign was his best season in his four years with San Francisco as he struggled to generate value while demonstrating below-average power. He continued to see considerable playing time from 2016-2018, but he was limited to a bench role in that time.

He became a free agent following the 2018 season where he signed with the Diamondbacks on a minor league pact. After not receiving a promotion in the first two months of 2019, he exercised his opt-out clause so he could sign on with the Mariners. He struggled at Tripe-A where he slashed .242/.301/.301 with zero home runs in 369 plate appearances split between two organizations.

Related Story. SF Giants: Caleb Baragar optioned in surprising move

Of course, the 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so former SF Giants infielder Kelby Tomlinson has not played professionally since 2019. The veteran infielder should see plenty of playing time with the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate as the Albuquerque Isotopes have the lowest OPS (.704) in Triple-A West. If nothing else comes from this, Tomlinson gets one more shot to continue his playing career.

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