The Giants shook up their 40-man roster Monday afternoon, non-tendering outfielders Kevin Pillar and Joey Rickard, and pitchers Tyler Anderson and Rico Garcia.
Pillar was the most surprising of the four, as he led the 2019 Giants in just about every offensive category, including games played, plate appearances, hits, home runs, runs, RBIs, and stolen bases. Known for his excellent defense, he also won the Willie Mac Award for most inspirational Giant, and even got a 10th-place MVP vote.
Pillar, however, was due to earn around $9 million in his final year of arbitration before free agency, and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is looking for younger outfielders who can be a part of the next contending Giants team, which may still be a few years away.
The front office looked at both of those factors, as well as Pillar’s sub-.300 on base percentage, and decided to move on from a player who was arguably the most popular among Zaidi’s acquisitions in his first year at the helm.
Rickard, an outfielder who the team picked up from the Baltimore Orioles, showed some promise, slashing .280/.333/.380 in 54 plate appearances with the Giants, but the team ultimately viewed him as fungible.
Anderson and Garcia were both waiver claims that the Giants made after the season from the Colorado Rockies. Neither appeared in a game for the organization.
The team also signed three players to one-year contracts for 2020. Alex Dickerson, Donovan Solano, and Wandy Peralta all avoided arbitration, with Dickerson making $925,000 in 2020 (and avoiding arbitration in the process), Solano earning $1.375 million, and Peralta at $805,000.
Dickerson scorched the ball in June and July, hitting .386/.449/.773 with six homers and 23 RBIs in just 98 plate appearances and propelling the team into its brief dalliance with wild card contention. His health faltered in August, though, and he hit just .164/.219/.209 the rest of the way. Dickerson’s bat has never been a question, but his health has been, and he’ll be looking to establish himself with the 2020 Giants.
Solano was one of the bigger surprises of the year for San Francisco. He started out the year in Triple-A Sacramento, and eventually made his way to the big club, where he slashed .330/.360/.456 with four homers in 228 plate appearances as a second baseman and shortstop. It was a very strong campaign for the veteran infielder, who had last been in the majors in 2016 with the Yankees.
Peralta, a left-handed pitcher who the Giants picked up off waivers from the Reds in early September, had a much better showing in San Francisco than Cincinnati, with a 3.18 ERA in 5 2/3 innings as a Giant, compared to 6.09 in 34 innings as a Red. The Giants are hoping to harness his live arm and rebuild a bullpen decimated by midseason trades and the departure in free agency of former closer Will Smith.
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