Giants Spring Training

Kuip shares early observations of Soler, Giants from camp

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As he stood behind the cage at Scottsdale Stadium over the weekend, it didn't take long for Duane Kuiper to see why the Giants gave Jorge Soler a three-year contract

"I watched Soler take batting practice and I was amazed at how he doesn't even have to swing hard for the ball to go 400 feet," Kuiper said on Thursday's "Giants Talk." "And he did obviously start to swing hard and then the ball did go way over 400. He's just a specimen. If you're going to build a ballplayer physically, that's what a ballplayer would look like. In football and in basketball, if you were going to have him as a guard or a running back, that's what he's built like."

The Giants are hopeful that Soler, who hit 36 homers last season, will give Kuiper plenty of opportunities to get into his signature home run call, and the early reviews are strong for another big offseason acquisition, too. 

But what really stands out at Giants camp this spring is just how different -- or familiar, if you were around pre-2020 -- things feel. Kuiper noted that he watched as the Giants went through full infield drills just about every day, something that is more of a throwback to the days when he was a second baseman in the big leagues. 

The teamwide drill is a favorite of new manager Bob Melvin, who played for the Giants as Kuiper was starting his broadcasting career. During his first visit to camp, Kuiper certainly felt Melvin's presence. 

"He's more of an old-school guy," Kuiper said. "The four years under Gabe (Kapler), things turned a little bit as far as how things were run. And I'm not going to say this is back to normal, this is back to basically what we're used to."

Melvin has made no secret of the fact that he would love further additions to the roster, with third baseman Matt Chapman and left-handed pitcher Blake Snell -- both of whom played for Melvin in the past -- being obvious fits. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery is also looking for a home. 

The Giants have a hole in their rotation with Tristan Beck sidelined, and the industry expectation is that they add at least one more marquee name.

"Look, I'm a former infielder, so I like infielders," Kuiper said. "But, the way things have happened now with Beck goes down, (Keaton) Winn is down, and look these guys are probably all going to be back, but you get a feeling of how thin you're going to be at pitching no matter how many guys you've got. In all honesty, I'd like to see the Giants get Chapman and one of those two pitchers. They may not get any, but I do think that it's possible. 

"Every once in a while you see a note in the paper (that) 'the Giants are favored to sign so-and-so.' Well, where are you getting that information from, because the boss keeps saying no, no, no. Maybe what happens is they kind of fall into your lap. Maybe it's such a good deal where you can't pass it up. We'll see what happens, but I'd like to see them do it."

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