Blanco, who has been with the Giants since 2012, has been their back up outfielder and looks to be heading into free agency without an offer from the Giants. The Giants’ outfield seems poised to shed some weight this off season, and Blanco looks to be the first to not be returning. Tuesday morning Blanco posted a video onto Instagram thanking the Giants for his years there. The video in question was quite heartwarming. Here, take a look.
*Sniffle* I’m not crying you’re crying!
Gregor Blanco was the fourth outfielder on a team that regularly had Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, Denard Span and others starting in place of him, barring any injuries of course. On an organizational level this move obviously makes sense. The Giants have contracts for Pence and Span locked up for a couple years, and with some other viable back up outfielders waiting in the wings, Blanco’s job was becoming more obsolete.
Over the last three years his numbers have declined across the board. His WAR continued to drop until this year when it finally dipped below zero. His plate appearances were becoming fewer and further between and his overall quality as a back up outfielder was diminishing. The Giants will look to better options and will call it quits on his tenure in San Francisco.
Now that’s not to say his time for the organization won’t be a memorable one. There were a slew of memorable moments during this man’s tenure in San Francisco. Take this one for instance. Blanco’s postseason stats are less then stellar, but man was he involved in a play that brought AT&T Park to its feet in their 2014 run. It was the bottom of the 10th in the NLCS, and Blanco laid down a bunt to advance Brandon Crawford to third base. Pretty standard play until the St. Louis Cardinals‘ pitcher threw the ball down the right field line. Gregor Blanco gave the Giants a walk off bunt in game three of the NLCS, and fans couldn’t have been happier. Even with his lack of success in the postseason, this moment will absolutely define his playoff legacy with the Giants.
No moment in Gregor Blanco’s career will even compare to his greatest moment. That moment is the day he saved Matt Cain‘s perfect game.
On June 13, 2012, the Giants faced off against the Houston Astros at home. Now most know that Cain threw the Giants first ever perfect game. What many might not know is that Blanco saved that perfect game for him, and it was his absolute defining moment has a Giant. Look it up. Searching “Gregor Blanco” comes up with only one thing of note besides his career stats. It’s his fantastic catch that made Matt Cain and Giants fans love him immeasurably.
With no outs in the bottom of top of the seventh, Astros OF Jordan Schafer hit a ball into the deepest part of AT&T Park. Blanco was playing right field at the time and looked to be playing himself a little deeper for Schafer. Blanco tracked the ball deep into center, and with a diving leap the rest was history. That catch is a play that Giants fans will watch forever. Here’s the video if you’ve never seen it:
Even after seeing it hundreds of times, it still looks like Blanco might not get to it. The crazy part is he did, and fans went wild. It might’ve been the best play all season due to what it meant. No catch, no perfect game. Thank you, Blanco, you lovable back up outfielder.
With Blanco’s departure the Giants will probably looking towards their AAA outfielders to fill his spot. On the surface it doesn’t look like there are huge shoes to fill with his lack of offense, declining speed and other below average areas that the Giants can’t afford to have around. If you look deeper, however, you might find something more. A player that, even though he backed up players that would obviously get more playing time, still went out there, did his job and did things we’ve all come to remember.
He might be moving on to different destinations, but Giants fans will always have a place in their hearts for Blanco, and what he did and didn’t do for this team. He’s a player that some hate, and others find mediocre. He not bad nor is he great. He’s Gregor Blanco: Giants’ backup outfielder extraordinaire. We’re gonna miss you.