Giants shore up infield with Pirates' Sanchez

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Giants acquire 2B Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates for RHP Tim Alderson
The price was quite a bit higher than expected, though I think Alderson’s rep is a bit overblown. The Pirates still did far better here than the Diamondbacks did in the Felipe Lopez trade.
Sanchez fills a big need for the Giants, who had tried Emmanuel Burriss, Kevin Frandsen, Matt Downs, Juan Uribe and Eugenio Velez at second base. He doesn’t offer a whole lot besides the .300 average, but he’s a nice No. 2 hitter and a steady defender. I don’t like the idea of paying him $8.1 million next year, but that’s what he’ll earn if his vesting option kicks in with 600 plate appearances. He’s at 382 right now, so he’s on pace to top that total.
The Giants should be looking at a lineup of:
RF Randy Winn
2B Sanchez
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Bengie Molina
CF Aaron Rowand
1B Ryan Garko/Travis Ishikawa
SS Edgar Renteria
LF Nate Schierholtz
Fred Lewis, Andres Torres and Velez will keep helping out in the outfield with Rowand and Schierholtz hurt.
It’s the still the weakest lineup of any NL contender, but there are no longer any major holes.
In Alderson, the Pirates are getting a 20-year-old right-hander who was 6-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts since moving up to Double-A Connecticut. For the year, he’s allowed 107 hits, walked 17 and struck out 66 in 98 2/3 innings. He has a strikeout curve that he’ll probably use more in the majors. His fastball is just average for a right-hander, and his changeup needs work. That the Giants have had him focusing on the change more frequently has taken a toll on his numbers this year, but could pay off in the end. He should debut sometime next summer. My guess is that he’ll be a No. 4 starter, but he could turn into something more with an improved change.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.