Some encouraging news and some less-than-good news for the Giants this evening.
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com passes along word that first baseman Brandon Belt passed a concussion test and could begin working out today. Meanwhile, catcher Hector Sanchez failed his and will now have to wait another three or four days.
Belt suffered his concussion after he was hit in the face by a thrown ball during batting practice last Saturday. He wasn’t feeling any improvement as of a few days ago, so today is an important step in the right direction. The 26-year-old has already missed two months this season due to a broken thumb, but he could be a major contributor down the stretch if he can stay on the field.
Sanchez landed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after he was hit in the mask by a foul tip on Friday. The Giants are currently going with rookie Andrew Susac as Buster Posey’s backup catcher.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.