To make room for him, they sent outfielder Juan Perez back to Fresno.
Gillespie almost made the team out of spring training, and has been solid at Fresno this year, but it is difficult to see how he can actually contribute in any way at the major league level. He is 29-years old and this is his eighth year in professional baseball. He has played 50 games at the major league level over two seasons for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and seems to be the definition of a “Quadruple-A” journeyman.
The righthanded-hitting Gillespie has played all three outfield positions and has even seen some time at second base this year, but he is not particularly good at any of those positions by most accounts. He will without a question be a huge defensive downgrade from Perez.
In terms of offense, he is not great in any area, but should be solid overall. He’s hitting .277 this year with nine homers and 31 RBIs at Fresno, and has a .361 OBP. Coming into the year, many considered Gillespie to behind Perez, Gary Brown, Francisco Peguero, and Roger Kieschnick. It speaks volumes for the Giants’ struggles throughout the organization this year that Gillespie is receiving a shot in the big leagues.
For Perez, it seems at face value that this move is intended to give him a shot to regain his footing at the plate, but beyond that it seems telling of his future as a major leaguer.
While Perez started off on fire at the plate and is arguably the best center fielder in the Giants’ system, he is ultimately going to be passed up by Brown, Kieschnick, and Peguero on the outfield depth chart, so he probably is going to have to continue working in the infield at Fresno if he wants a shot to stick in the majors. He showed a huge inability to stay disciplined against low breaking balls going to the other side of the plate, so he will definitely need to refine his offensive approach as well.
Overall, this transaction makes very little sense. While Gillespie played well during spring training and showed some power, he hasn’t really carried that performance over into the regular season, and he has not performed well enough at Fresno to truly deserve a call-up.
This move seems to show that the Giants are afraid to take any risks at the big-league level, and would rather have consistent mediocrity than gamble on a player with some potential like Brown, who is hitting .293 with eight homers over the past 35 days.