The San Francisco Giants added another player to their major league spring training roster on Saturday morning by signing outfielder Tyler Colvin to a minor-league deal.
The 29-year-old Colvin adds an interesting element to the Giants’ roster, as he is a left-handed hitter who provides a skill set very similar to that of new left fielder Michael Morse. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Colvin has some quality power-hitting potential, having hit 20 homers in 2010 and 18 in 2012. Like Morse, he can play left field and first base, though he also has the athleticism and defensive range to play center and right field. He’s actually seen most of his big-league action in right, though he’ll have a greater test in AT&T Park’s expansive right field than he had in the more cozy spaces of Coors Field and Wrigley Field.
Colvin dealt with a back disc injury for most of 2013, so his .160/.192/.280 slash line shouldn’t be used as a firm judgement of his skills. With that said, Colvin has not been overly consistent over his five-year major-league career, and he’s a .241 career hitter. While Colvin can hold his own defensively, there’s really no way that he could be a fielding upgrade over Juan Perez, so Colvin’s biggest challenge will be asserting himself as a hitter if he wants to win the Giants’ fifth outfielder spot out of spring training.
Assuming that the Giants are planning on keeping Colvin in the organization regardless of whether he ends up making the team, this move may be more of an indictment of Roger Kieschnick’s ability than anything else. The 27-year-old lefty hitter was projected to fill the left field spot in Triple-A if he lost out on the fifth outfielder spot. But with Colvin having a very similar skill set to Kieschnick, maybe this move signifies that the team was more put off by Kieschnick’s 17-for-84 showing than initially anticipated. Then again, both players have experience in right, so if Perez wins the fifth outfielder spot, a left-to-right Triple-A outfield of Kieschnick, Gary Brown, and Colvin could be utilized.
First of all, it will be interesting to see how well Colvin has recovered from the injury which set him back last season and caused him to fail a physical with the Baltimore Orioles this offseason. But on top of that, the battle for the fifth outfielder spot suddenly becomes a more contested fight between Colvin, Perez, and Kieschnick.