When Chris Marrero walked into camp at the beginning of February, he was something of a mystery. He hadn’t played in the show since 2013, and when he had played, he was a utility guy — a career .232 hitter with no home runs. Not exactly the top candidate to challenge Bryce Harper for most Spring Training home runs (which, drumroll please… he has with eight). To boot, he wasn’t even the most exciting player in Giants camp – heck, he wasn’t even the most interesting non-roster guy (that title probably belonged to veteran infielder Jimmy Rollins). But after swatting seven bombs in the Cactus League, plus one in a game against the Puerto Rican national team, he’s locked up a position on the San Francisco Giants’ opening day roster.
“He’s given us every reason to feel good about what he’s done,” Giants GM Bobby Evans said. “He continues to find a way to get big hits and leads pretty much the entire spring in home runs except maybe (Bryce) Harper [who] has eight as well. He’s done everything he can.”
Before the Giants came home to San Francisco for an exhibition series with the Oakland A’s, Marrero ended his spring with a screaming homer over the center field fence.
“Oh, he touched it, too,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “You know, the last game, it seems fitting he’d do something like that. This kid has done all he can do to be on the club. I like his swing and his attitude and the work he’s put in. It’s a great signing for us.”
San Francisco signed Marrero to a minor league contract through May 2017 in November of last year. While it was probably the Giants’ intention to keep Marrero in the minors to start the season, his incredible spring made it impossible for the club to deny him a spot. And after Wednesday’s exhibition game (in which he doubled and barely missed his ninth homer of the preseason) Bochy announced plans to platoon the left field position with lefty Jarrett Parker facing righties, and Marrero battling the lefties.
The Giants are likely to list five outfielders on the opening day roster, which means Marrero will join Gorkys Hernandez as the two backups. Marrero could also see some time in the infield if duty calls, and if he fails to contribute the Giants will have options open once Michael Morse and Mac Williamson return from the DL.
Marrero’s monster spring should be swallowed with a grain of salt, given that most of his bombs came late in spring training games when teams test young talent rather than proven veterans. Still, he’s definitely the biggest surprise of the preseason – and that warrants a spot on the roster. At least, the Giants seem to think so.