SAN FRANCISCO – Before the dawn of spring, the competition for the Giants’ starting left field position was viewed generally as a race between Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, two promising players with track records in the organization.
With just days to go before the start of the regular season, however, a third candidate for playing time has emerged in 28-year old newcomer Chris Marrero. Signed as a minor league free agent in November, the right-handed power hitter crushed seven home runs during the Cactus League season and caught the attention of the Giants’ brain trust in the process.
“This could be a good marriage,” Giants executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean told Tolbert & Lund on Friday when asked about Marrero. “We might have really…I don’t want to say ‘stumbled’ into something but…lord knows we need an everyday left fielder or an everyday run-production type of tandem in left field.”
Parker’s is still the most likely name to appear on Bruce Bochy’s Opening Day lineup card, but Sabean seemed eager to see if Marrero–who blasted 23 homers at Triple-A Pawtucket in 2016– could fit into a platoon as a power weapon against lefty hurlers.
“We know that Parker’s going to get his shot but Parker’s not proficient against left-handed pitching,” Sabean said.
“Guys don’t hit home runs anymore for whatever reason. [Marrero] hit [them] last year in Triple-A and was cast off. Bobby [Evans] was very aggressive with him to come in our camp and…surprise us or cement a spot. I think he’s certainly done that.”
Marrero slashed .283/.348/.683 in 60 spring at-bats entering Friday and his homer total leads the team. The Miami native’s defense likely won’t ever earn him a Gold Glove award, but Sabean deemed him “playable” in left and at first base. And for a team that may struggle at times to hit for power, “playable” is worth the offensive upside.
Listen to the full interview below.