The SF Giants are relatively light on depth at first base in the upper minors, but they addressed that area on Thursday. According to the team's transaction page, five-year veteran Ronald Guzmán has agreed to a minor league deal.
SF Giants add former Texas Rangers first baseman on a minor league deal
There is no indication yet as to whether his deal includes a camp invite, but it would make sense given his experience. Oddly, none of the Giants' minor league deals this winter have indicated whether they include spring training invites. One way or the other, that will be resolved within the next month.
With that being said, do the Giants even plan to play Guzmán at first base? Shoutout to GPT for the find, but Guzmán has been getting some work in on the mound.
It would be an interesting transition given that the left-handed bat has a pretty good record of offensive production as a pro. The Texas Rangers originally signed Guzmán to a massive $3.45 million deal on the international market in 2011. Interestingly, they also added Nomar Mazara on a $5 million contract during that same signing period.
Guzmán never lived up to the hype that came with that type of signing bonus, but he was ranked as the No. 94 prospect according to Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2018 season. That same season, he debuted with the Rangers as a 23-year-old, slashing .235/.306/.416 (88 OPS+) with 16 home runs, 58 RBI, and 46 runs in 428 plate appearances.
That is not a bad rookie performance. In fact, it is something to build off of he never found enough consistency at the plate. Across five seasons, the left-handed bat registered a .225/.302/.410 line (84 OPS+) with an 8.8 percent walk rate against a 29.2 percent strikeout rate.
I should add that he has posted a .767 OPS against right-handed pitching in five seasons, so he does offer some platoon leverage.
Guzmán spent the 2022 season in the New York Yankees organization where he tallied a .255/.344/.478 line with 16 homers, 53 RBI, and 51 runs in 373 plate appearances for their Triple-A affiliate. He made a cameo appearance for the Yankees, collecting six hitless at-bats in 2022.
The 28-year-old first baseman joins an organization that often gives chances to former top prospects if they earn it. Whether it be in the field or on the mound, Guzmán offers some intrigue as a minor leaguer to follow in 2023.