Veteran outfielder Jerry Sands picked up a minor league contract with the Giants on Saturday, per reports by SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo and Mike Ashmore of MyCentralJersey.com. The move comes on the heels of Justin Ruggiano‘s departure on Friday, when he was designated for assignment by the Giants to make room for Austin Slater.
Sands, 29, has not appeared for a major league team since his 24-game stint with the White Sox in 2016. He batted a cool .236/.276/.291 with one home run and a .567 OPS before getting outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte last June. In 2017, he signed on with the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League, slashing .319/.387/.688 with 13 home runs and a 1.074 OPS in 163 PA.
The Giants are hurting for outfield depth after losing Hunter Pence (hamstring strain), Mike Morse (concussion), Jarrett Parker (clavicle surgery) and Melvin Upton (thumb surgery) to injuries over the last several months. According to Ashmore, Sands is expected to fill out the roster in Double-A Richmond, but he could see a promotion to the big leagues if the Giants can’t keep their starters healthy.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.