You know what 11 strikeouts in 13 World Series at-bats will get you? A new one-year contract, apparently.
According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, the Giants have re-signed Pat Burrell to a “discounted, one-year contract,” pending a physical.
To be fair, while Burrell was all sorts of awful during the postseason, he batted .266/.364/.509 with 18 home runs, 51 RBI and an 872 OPS over 289 at-bats after the Rays gave up on him in May. He was a legitimate middle-of-the-order presence for the Giants during the second half of the season, slugging 13 home runs in 198 at-bats.
You can certainly make the case that Burrell deserves a chance at a repeat, but it’s worth noting that the Giants’ lineup is looking really, really old at the moment. By Opening Day next season, Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez will be 33, Burrell and Aubrey Huff will be 34 and Mark DeRosa and the newly-signed Miguel Tejada will be 36. Giants fans should hope that top prospect Brandon Belt tears the cover off the ball during spring training. Of course, Brian Sabean will probably find some reason to leave him in the minor leagues until around Memorial Day.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.