Pittsburgh picked up first baseman Chris McGuiness from Texas in exchange for Triple-A reliever Miles Mikolas.
Gaby Sanchez is around as the Pirates’ right-handed-hitting fallback option at first base in case they fail to land one of their primary targets and now they’ve acquired a left-handed-hitting first baseman in McGuiness to potentially platoon with him.
McGuiness hit just .246 with 11 homers and a .792 OPS in 104 games at Triple-A last season and also got into 10 games for the Rangers in his MLB debut at age 25. He has good on-base skills thanks to plenty of walks, but McGuiness is a career .257 hitter in the minors and lacks ideal power for the position.
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.