NLCS hero Ishikawa, Sanchez avoid arbitration

First baseman/outfielder gets $1.1 million; backup catcher agrees to $800,000 deal

NLCS hero Ishikawa, Sanchez avoid arbitration

SAN FRANCISCO -- Travis Ishikawa probably won't have to be a vagabond next season.

Ishikawa, the first baseman/left fielder who emerged as one of the Giants' postseason heroes, agreed to terms Thursday on a one-year, $1.1 million contract. His agent, Jim McDowell, delivered the news in an e-mail to MLB.com.

Ishikawa and catcher Hector Sanchez, who agreed to a one-year, $800,000 deal, became the first Giants players eligible for salary arbitration to avoid the process. The team's remaining arbitration-eligible contingent consists of first baseman Brandon Belt, outfielder Gregor Blanco, shortstop Brandon Crawford and right-hander Yusmeiro Petit.

The agreement relieved Ishikawa, 31. He toiled in Triple-A for four different organizations during most of the last three seasons before the Giants purchased his contract from Fresno on July 29. Belt's concussion-related woes prompted the move.

"It's really nice to know where I'm going to be next spring, and I look forward to being back with the Giants for another year, because this is home," Ishikawa said.

Ishikawa at Giants' parade

Ishikawa, San Francisco's part-time first baseman from 2008-10 who spent his first 10 professional seasons in the Giants' system, proceeded to help the club reach the 2014 postseason after he was promoted. He hit .274 in 47 games with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 81 plate appearances. That included a .333 showing (7-for-21) with six RBIs as a pinch-hitter.

Having appeared in 71 games at the corner outfield spots in Triple-A since 2001, Ishikawa was manager Bruce Bochy's choice to play left field in the postseason when an oblique injury limited Michael Morse to pinch-hitting duties. Ishikawa started 14 postseason games in left and propelled the Giants into the World Series with his three-run, walk-off homer off St. Louis' Michael Wacha in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Ishikawa's walk-off homer

Ishikawa's performance with the Giants encouraged him. But the disappointment of not being tendered a contract by the Milwaukee Brewers after a decent 2012 season prevented him from assuming that San Francisco would retain him. When Tuesday night's deadline for tendering contracts passed without bad news from the Giants, Ishikawa could relax.

"I was sweating up until the tender date," Ishikawa said. "[But] I had a feeling that they were going to want me back. I don't know if it was a realistic feeling or a professional feeling or if it was just me wanting to come back so bad."

Ishikawa, a lifetime .259 hitter in 444 Major League games, likely will begin 2015 the same way he ended '14, providing depth at first base and in left field.

"I'm a little more versatile now than I was before the postseason started," he said. "Wherever they're going to need me, I'm going to be ready for it."

Sanchez, 25, missed much of the season with concussion symptoms. A career .267 hitter entering 2014, he hit .196 with three homers and 28 RBIs in 66 games for the Giants. His agreement was initially reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sanchez catches Stanton

The switch-hitting Sanchez was clearly San Francisco's No. 2 catcher entering the 2014 season, but he'll face serious competition for that role from Andrew Susac in Spring Training.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.