New SF Giants shortstop highlights key detail for why he signed with the club

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

After a 10-year run with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Nick Ahmed finds himself in unfamiliar territory as a member of the SF Giants organization. The veteran shortstop explained his decision to join the Giants to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, saying that they offered a chance to "compete for the starting shortstop job "

New SF Giants shortstop highlights key detail for why he signed with the club

Playing time, contract terms, and geography are some of the biggest factors influencing a player's decision, so it is not surprising to see Ahmed list one of those factors as his reason.

When the Giants did sign him to a minor league deal with a camp invite, I assumed that he would serve as a glove-first utility bat behind Marco Luciano. At the end of last season, the Giants stated that they would give the young infielder a chance to be the everyday shortstop in 2024.

That could still be the case and there is a good chance that he collects a couple hundred at-bats in the majors before the season is over. However, if Ahmed is competing for the starting job, it does suggest that Luciano may not be with the club at the start of the year and that is not a bad thing either.

Luciano's development undoubtedly got expedited when he was added to the 40-man roster last winter to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. He began the year in Double-A and tallied a .789 OPS with 11 home runs in 242 plate appearances. Those are not overwhelming numbers, but solid output when you consider that the Eastern League depresses offense and the fact that Luciano was one of the younger position players in the league.

Perhaps, he was moved up to Triple-A a bit too soon, but that tends to happen when a player is on the 40-man roster. They need to be ready in case a need arises. The 22-year-old registered a .738 OPS in 78 plate appearances with the Sacramento River Cats. He also added 45 plate appearances with the Giants as well.

With only 320 plate appearances in the upper minors, it would behoove the Giants to give Luciano more minor league seasoning. This could be where Ahmed comes into play.

The veteran shortstop is a known commodity. He is a slick-fielding infielder but does not offer much with the bat. Since he is on a minor league deal, he is not on the 40-man roster and needs to make the club. So far, he is off to a nice start, adding five hits, including two home runs, in eight at-bats in spring training.

On the other hand, Luciano has just one hit with eight strikeouts in 15 plate appearances. That is not the type of production that would help a player to make the club, especially if he has minor league options remaining. The Giants hope that Luciano can turn his spring around, but for now, they have hinted that Ahmed has a chance to overtake the starting gig.