UPDATE (5:20 p.m.): Well, so much for the suspense. The Giants have optioned outfielder Kensuke Tanaka to Triple-A Fresno and placed infielder Tony Abreu on the disabled list. The Giants PR staff was awaiting info from head trainer Dave Groeschner on Abreu's injury, but that's a lot less riveting than wondering, say, what color high socks Hunter Pence will be wearing tomorrow. For now, no trades. As for the Tanaka/Kieschnick swap, it's clear the Giants wanted more punch in the left-handed portion of their left field platoon (which pretty much had its plug pulled anyway, as Jeff Francoeur was starting to get time against right-handers, with no results of note.) As for Pill, his presence will make it easier for Bruce Bochy to sit Brandon Belt more often, should the manager choose. More from Philly on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON – Fresh off their White House visit, the Giants’ team photo will look different when they begin a three-game series Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Outfielder Roger Kieschnick and first baseman Brett Pill have been removed from the roster at Triple-A Fresno and will join the Giants at Citizens Bank Park, according to a club source.
No corresponding roster moves have been announced; it’s possible that a trade could be part of it, especially as the Giants continue to field calls about Hunter Pence. I’m told that the rest of the roster moves are pending, but it’s not going to be as simple as just offloading Kensuke Tanaka and Jeff Francoeur.
This will be the first big league callup for Kieschnick, 26, a third-round pick in the 2008 draft that also netted Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Conor Gillaspie. The left-handed hitting outfielder was batting .273/.339/.497 for Triple-A Fresno, with 13 home runs, nine triples and 27 doubles among his 102 hits. He also has drawn 40 walks against 102 strikeouts.
Kieschnick heated up in recent days, batting .375 over his last six games with nine of his last 12 hits going for extra bases.
If there’s one thing the Giants need badly right now, it’s extra-base hits. They were out-homered 9-1 on their 10-game homestand, out-tripled 3-0 and out-doubled 18-12.
Pill (.344/.379/.630) has raked all season in the PCL but is a .225 hitter over parts of three big league seasons and was just 4 for 27 in a bench role earlier this year. The 28-year-old ranks third in the PCL with 79 RBI and his 18 home runs rank fourth. He is coming off a series at Colorado Springs where he had 10 hits and 10 RBI in three games.
Could these moves be setting the stage for a Pence trade? It’s possible. The Rangers and Pirates have discussed Pence, and the Reds are known to have at least talked about the possibility internally.
The Giants plan to give Pence a qualifying offer ($13.3 million or so) this offseason if they don’t trade him. Then, if he signs with another club, they would receive a compensatory draft pick.
The Giants are in listen mode on Pence and Javier Lopez, and to a lesser extent on Tim Lincecum, though the two-time Cy Young Award winner has $8 million remaining on his contract this season and so it’s highly doubtful a team would give up any prospects of sufficient value to motivate the Giants to move such a popular player.
It’s no secret what the Giants want: Controllable major league starting pitching. Unfortunately, that’s a commodity that is always in demand.
GM Brian Sabean, following the White House ceremony, joked that the only thing he would announce on Monday was that he was ready for a nap. He won’t rest long, though. While the rest of the club hopped a bus to Philadelphia, Sabean and his cabinet stayed in Washington D.C. and will hold internal meetings here as Wednesday’s deadline nears.