The White Shark is back.
The San Francisco Giants signed outfielder Gregor Blanco to a minor-league deal on Monday, after a one-year hiatus with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year. Blanco spent the 2012-2016 seasons with the Giants as (typically) a fourth outfielder, winning two World Series rings in the process.
Blanco is the third outfielder the Giants have signed this winter, joining the higher profile additions of Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson. Those two players are expected to feature heavily for the big league club, but the same can’t necessarily be said of Blanco. Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow agreed with KNBR’s Brian Murphy on Tuesday morning, that Blanco is being brought in as insurance for Steven Duggar, the 24-year-old prospect that the Giants are hoping will win the starting center field spot in Spring Training.
“Exactly. That’s the way I look at it,” Krukow said when asked if Blanco is insurance for Duggar. “They like Duggar, but he hasn’t had that much experience beyond Double-A, so they really don’t know how he’s going to do. Defensively, they know he’s a gifted player, but with young players so much of your defensive game comes from your offensive game. If you’re hitting the ball well, you’re catching everything. If you’re not, your concentration is fragmented, because you’re not contributing at the plate, and often times that affects the defensive side of your game.”
Selected in the sixth round of the 2015 draft, the 24-year-old Duggar has never played in a major league game, and spent last year bouncing between Single-A San Jose and Triple-A Sacramento, where he put together an impressive slash line of .262/.365/.445. Blanco, on the other hand, has nearly 1,000 games on MLB experience, and will give the Giants a security blanket, if Duggar is not ready to go this spring.
“With Gregor Blanco, there’s a left-handed outfielder that’s got range, that’s got experience, who can pinch hit. I think he’ll go to camp and if they think Duggar is overmatched, (Blanco) will fill that spot,” Krukow said. “I think even if he goes to camp and doesn’t make the team, Gregor may go down to the minor leagues and be the security blanket early on. I just think at this point when you have an established, older club like the Giants have, if you take a chance on a rookie, he has to perform, and perform right away. If it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to do that, that’s what Gregor Blanco will do. I love that Gregor will accept that role and he’ll be good with it and he’ll help the kid too.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Krukow on Blanco, start from the beginning.