SF Giants: Willie Mac Award winner joins Rangers front office

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

A former SF Giants catcher is making a surprising career pivot. Robert Murray of FanSided confirmed that Willie Mac Award winner Nick Hundley will be joining the Texas Rangers front office as he was hired as a special assistant to the general manager.

SF Giants: Willie Mac Award winner joins Rangers front office

Hundley concluded his playing career after the 2019 season but did not veer away from baseball at all. The veteran backstop along with longtime Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco were both hired to work in baseball operations for the league following their respective retirements.

However, the 12-year veteran will join former pitcher Chris Young as part of the Rangers front office. Young, who serves as the team's general manager, along with Hundley represent a modest shift in the composition of a front office.

Oftentimes, a front office is run by an analytically-driven mind with advanced degrees in business and economics from renownded universtiies. However, there has been a slight shift in some organizations away from that and in favor of players with major league experience.

It is not apparent whether this shift is intentional or not, but the Rangers are one of the few organizations to take part. It bears mentioning that Young is a mix of both in that he had a 13-year career and graduated from Princeton University.

On the other hand, the addition of Hundley gives the Rangers a personable and smart baseball leader. The San Diego Padres originally drafted the longtime catcher in the second round of the 2005 draft out the University of Arizona in Tuscon, Arizona.

Interestingly, he was college teammates with former Giants reliever Mark Melancon before teaming up with him again for two seasons beginning in 2017. In seven seasons with the Padres, Hundley slashed .238/.296/.389 (92 OPS+) with 47 home runs and 195 RBI.

He was never the most patient hitter as he posted a 24 percent strikeout rate against a 6.5 percent walk rate. However, he typically demonstrated good power from a position that struggles to produce offensive value on most teams.

Hundley had a brief stop with the Baltimore Orioles and played for the Colorado Rockies for two seasons before inking a one-year, $2 million contract with the Giants for 2017. It was a down year for San Francisco as they posted a 64-98 record, but Hundley's leadership qualities were apparent from the beginning as he took home the Willie Mac Award in his first season with the Giants.

He returned on another one-year pact to serve as the team's backup catcher while providing veteran leadership to a team that was in a transition phase. In total, he registered a .243/.285/.413 line (87 OPS+) with 19 home runs and 66 RBI in two seasons in the Orange and Black.

He was not retained for a third season, but he stayed in the area as the Oakland A's signed him to a minor league deal. He posted a .590 OPS in his final major league season before hanging up his cleats and transitioning to baseball operations.

The Rangers are getting an experienced and respected voice in baseball. It always felt like Hundley would become a manager someday, and hopefully, this new role helps better position him for that challenge.