San Francisco Giants: Nate Schierholtz Returning to the U.S. with Tigers


Former San Francisco Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz is returning to the United States after a year with Nippon’s Professional Baseball’s Hiroshima Carp on a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy.

After a year playing in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball with the Hiroshima Carp, outfielder Nate Schierholtz is returning to the United States. With a minor league contract and an invitation to Spring Training, Schierholtz will have another opportunity to play as a Major Leaguer, this time with the Detroit Tigers.

Schierholtz began his professional career with the San Francisco Giants, as he was picked second round of the 2003 amateur draft by the Giants. He made his big league debut in 2007at the ripe age of 23 years old, and was thought of by many as the potential right fielder of the future. While he grew to be extremely popular among fans and fairly serviceable on a diamond, he never quite lived up to some lofty expectations with the team. Schierholtz earned a World Series ring in 2010 when he played in 11 postseason games for the Giants, but batted jut .167 with a run batted in. His greatest asset was the bakooza attached to his right shoulder, which he used to rack up 10 outfield assists in just over half a season in 2009.

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The young outfielder made his biggest contribution to the team at the 2012 trade deadline, when Schierholtz was traded away. Along with catcher Tommy Joseph and right-handed pitcher Seth Rosin (both minor leaguers at the time), Schierholtz was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies for right fielder Hunter Pence. The Giants clearly got the better end of that deal, as Pence has been a lynchpin to two more World Series championships for the Giants, and accumulated 12.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) while wearing the orange and black. The three players traded to the Phillies combined to play just 38 games in the City of Brotherly Love, and collected -0.1 WAR. Schierholtz did earn another World Series ring for the 2012 season, for his first half contributions to the Giants.

The Tigers will be the sixth team in just three-and-a-half years for Schierholtz. He spent the rest of the 2012 season with the Phillies, and was non-tendered following the season. In 2013, Schierholtz signed on with the Chicago Cubs on a one-year deal, and he would enjoy the best season of his career. He spent most of the season as the Cubs’ regular right fielder, and set career-highs in games played (137), games started (117), plate appearances (503), hits (116), home runs (21), doubles (32), RBI (68), runs scored (56), and slugging percentage (.470).

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Schierholtz returned to the Cubs in 2014 on another one-year contract, but was unable to replicate the success he experienced in the previous season. In 99 games in the Windy City, Schierholtz slashed an abysmal .192/.240/.300 with six home runs, and was designated for assignment in early August. He was subsequently released and signed to a minor league deal by the Washington Nationals. After a promotion to the big league roster, Washington kept Schierholtz on their postseason roster. He appeared in all four games of the National League Division Series, and collected a double and two walks in three plate appearances as the Giants defeated the Nationals, three games to one.

Schierholtz again became a free agent after the 2014 season, and was signed to a minor league deal by the Texas Rangers, and extended an invitation to Spring Training. He was released before the season began, and signed by the Carp to play in Japan. He played fairly well in 65 games on a new continent, hitting 10 home runs (good for 16th in the league in about half as many games as most of those in front of him) and 11 doubles with a .250/.298/.435 slash-line.

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The player who was once known as “Nate the Great” has another shot at making a big league roster. With a rocket for a right arm and a power stroke, Schierholtz will look to prove his worth again, back in the United States.