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Infielder Giants had been after a while could play ‘significant role’



Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants must have liked from what they saw from the 2019 El Paso Chihuahuas.

In June of that year, they traded for Alex Dickerson after the outfielder had played 26 games with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate. Seventeen months later, they reunited Dickerson with an El Paso teammate who never got his chance with San Diego.

The Giants’ signing Jason Vosler last week to a major league deal was a surprise for a player who hasn’t debuted yet, but their interest was not.

“He was a guy that we’d asked the Padres about a couple of times,” Farhan Zaidi said Wednesday over Zoom. “He does fit our roster really well as the left-handed infield bat who can play first, second and third. We’ve got a number of right-handed bats in those second- and third-base spots.”

Vosler was a 2014 16th-round pick of the Cubs, where the mostly corner infielder was blocked by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. After the 2018 season he was dealt to the Padres, where he was blocked by Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer. He posted solid minor league numbers with both the pop and plate discipline the Giants desire, then spent 2020 in the Padres’ pool without a call-up.

The Giants have wanted a lefty infield bat to spell Evan Longoria and whichever righty takes the second-base job (Donovan Solano, Wilmer Flores or, least likely, Mauricio Dubon). While Tommy La Stella and Kolten Wong are proven, experienced answers, Vosler could become one.

“He’s certainly going to get an opportunity,” Zaidi said of the 27-year-old. “It does not preclude us from going out and getting another left-handed bat or even a more experienced left-handed bat to compete for that role.”

Vosler’s minor league OPS has climbed each season since 2016, and with El Paso in ’19 he slashed .291/.367/.523 in 425 plate appearances. But more importantly for the Giants’ purposes, he destroyed righty pitching. Nineteen of his 20 home runs came against righties, against whom he slashed .300/.371/.563 in 338 plate appearances. Zaidi said the Giants expected Vosler’s market would dictate a major league offer, and they obliged because he can play a “pretty significant role for us.”

“He’s taken a step forward over the last couple years offensively,” Zaidi said. “Hits for power, has hit for average in the minor leagues. Just a guy who has a chance to be a good all-around player and be one of those guys that maybe isn’t a quote-unquote ‘everyday player’ but could wind up getting 300 at-bats at the end of the season.”

Two more names to add to the Giants’ minor league signings: outfielder Andy Sugilio, a versatile 24-year-old infielder-outfielder who had been with the Reds since 2014; and righty reliever Daniel Alvarez, a 24-year-old who struck out 76 in 58 1/3 innings with a 2.31 ERA with the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate in 2019.