By: Jake Kucheck
In recent years, the San Francisco Giants seem to have had a certain fondness for going back to the well, and Conor Gillaspie is a terrific example of that. While he was signed to a minor league deal, the Giants (other) 2008 1st round pick has previously shown the ability to compete at the major league level, and has been a middling to solid contributor of contact hitting and plate discipline. Gillaspie, most recently in the show last year with the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, has an MLB career slash line of .255/.309/.390. Interestingly enough, Cole Gillespie, the Miami Marlin for whom Conor Gillaspie is probably most often confused, has a career slash line of .253/.309/.366. Baseball is weird sometimes.
Defensively, Gillaspie hasn’t really shown much interest in or promise of contributing defensively, and certainly wouldn’t be in any danger of overtaking a starting job from stalwart Brandon Crawford, or the youthful and talented trio of Brandon Belt, Joe Panik and Matt Duffy.
The thing is… That’s probably alright. Conor Gillaspie is the kind of guy who pinch hits in the eighth inning and draws a walk/bloops a single/beats out a chopper to get aboard and start a rally. Then he’ll get double switched out by master manager Bruce Bochy and replaced by whomever didn’t start in the OF, and all phases of the game, offense, defense and pitching, will be improved by Conor Gillaspie’s presence. How cool is that??!!
While the average fan likely doesn’t know who Conor Gillaspie (or Cole Gillespie) is, the average fan isn’t charged with finding the key pieces who contribute when their efforts are needed most. The Giants front office is, and has proven time and again that they hit the nail on the head with pickups like these. What’s more, young and talented infielders Duffy, Panik, and Belt might be afforded more regular days off to preserve their health with a capable bat like Gillaspie’s waiting in the wings. It also means, perhaps unfortunately for Jarrett Parker enthusiasts, that the Giants have another quality LH pinch hitting option.