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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Giants trade for McCutchen, still have $4.4M to spend

*Update added to bottom of post*

With the clock ticking on the MLB offseason, the Giants finally made that big addition to their outfield we've been waiting for by obtaining Andrew McCutchen from Pittsburgh and likely ending their work for the winter. Whether they've done enough to fix the problems that cost the team just shy of 100 losses though remains to be seen.

Early Monday morning, the Giants and Pirates struck the deal that brings the all-star outfielder to the bay area in exchange for Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds. Upon hearing this news, I wasn't surprised at all, the Giants have been linked to the outfielder all winter and after losing out on Giancarlo Stanton then Jay Bruce, it became apparent that McCutchen had moved atop the their wish-list. Although I know he's not the ideal, young stud outfielder the Giants can build around into the next decade or so, McCutchen's still an impact player and I really do like this trade. Much more so than the Evan Longoria trade, that's for sure. McCuthen's defense has slipped a little the last couple of seasons, but he's still a halfway decent center fielder. His bat, however, is clearly a strength, as he's coming off a nice rebound season at the plate (.279/.363/.486 with 28 HR, 88 RBI and 11 swipes) and he immediately becomes the teams second most valuable offensive weapon. The only questions that lie ahead for the newest Giant is where exactly in the outfield and in the lineup he'll slot in at.

As of now, he's likely the teams opening day center fielder and leadoff man and with the team so close to the luxury tax penalty line, it's unlikely they'll be able to make any other noteworthy moves unless they somehow unload some more payroll in the process. I would really still like to see them bring in a more defensive minded center fielder, especially now that they appear to have upgraded the offense pretty significantly (as long as everybody doesn't fall off a cliff next season). Carlos Gomez and Jarrod Dyson, among others, still remain on the free agent market, but I don't think either guy will have to settle for a minor league deal and that's pretty much all the Giants are able to offer free agents at this point. I'm most intrigued by Gomez's dynamic abilities at the plate, and think he could be a 20-20 threat but patrolling center may be an issue for him on a day to day basis and the Giants have made it clear they want defense in center. Jarrod Dyson would look pretty good right about now, as he's sort of a Gregor Blanco-type with a little more bat though. Jon Jay is similar to Dyson, with more bat but not the speed or quite the defense but nice splits. Cameron Maybin really seems like the guy who's the most attainable though. Solid defender, but coming off terrible year at the plate.

If the Giants can somehow finagle another starting caliber outfielder onto the roster to play center and leadoff, it would allow the Giants to run out a heart of the order containing McCutchen, Posey, Longoria and Brandon Belt. It's not necessarily the most intimidating middle-of-the-order in the league, but I think they have to be pretty pleased with where they are now compared to what they were trotting out there last summer. I know we all were hoping for Giancarlo Stanton heading into the winter, Longoria and McCutchen are nice fallback additions in the short term. I'm much more intrigued with McCutchen than I would have been with Jay Bruce and the Giants will have some options regarding McCuthen after the year rather than being tied to him for the next three-plus seasons like they would have been had they wound up with Bruce. In fact, with money and/or potential trade pieces taken into account, McCuthen was probably my top remaining choice left on the market. J.D. Martinez and Lorenzo Cain are each going to get long-term deals worth over $100M and while I won't deny that Martinez's bat would have been a tremendous add, he too is no spring chicken and who knows how good a 5-year deal for him will look in a few seasons? As for Cain, yes he's a better defender than McCuthen at this point, but McCutchen is much more dangerous at the plate and more so fits what the Giants' urgent needs are.

Lastly, another thing that made McCuthen and attractive option for the Giants was the fact that they aren't tied to him in the long-term, although if they so choose to be, I'm sure they'd have a helluva shot at retaining him after the season. I mean, if he plays well he'll likely be an integral part of the team winning and they'll likely try and re-sign him. Most players that come over to San Francisco via trade end up wanting to stick around and if not, they'll at least send him a qualifying offer which would net them a high draft choice if he signs elsewhere. Also, if he plays well but the team is still struggling, then they have themselves what could be one of the bigger trade pieces this summer in late July and if he ends up struggling and having a down year, which is unlikely, then the team can just simply let him walk after the season.

I don't see the latter part happening though, as McCuthen has been a mark of consistency throughout his impressive career and only once over his 9 years at the big league level has he finished a season with a sub-.800 OPS and has hit 21 or more home runs in each of his last 7 seasons. The Giants need power and production at the plate, plain and simple, and McCutchen will most likely provide just that. Some people may be worried that coming to AT&T Park will hamper McCuthen's numbers as it does with most hitters that join the Giants from other ball clubs, but 'Cutch has played his career in a ballpark very similar to AT&T in terms of favoring the pitcher slightly more than the hitter. This is what has me confident that his power will not take a hit at all. I fully expect him to be right around .280/25/85/.850 again next season and if he comes within range of those numbers then this trade will turn out just fine for the Giants.

Bryan Reynolds has gotten a lot of attention the last couple of seasons and looks like he could have some sort of future in the big leagues, and Kyle Crick was once the teams top prospect, is still relatively young and still has that live arm but unlike with Christian Arroyo, I don't see either of these guys coming back to haunt the Giants a few years down the line. That coupled with the fact that I have little doubt that McCuthen is going to come in and produce like an all-star for the Giants is what has me much more sure minded about this one than giving up Arroyo for Longoria last month. Like with all deals made in the offseason though, only time will tell how both these deals ultimately effect the team.

At least very least, this offseason has gone better than last years. This winter they identified their needs early and although it took some time to get the deals complete, they chose a plan of attack and a blueprint they wanted to follow and they stuck to it. I know they didn't necessarily get the guys who were at the top of their wish-list, they had backup plans in place and acted on them. Whether or not those plans were good ones and will work out in the long run remains to be seen of course, but at the very least, they tried, and we can't say they didn't. Now the offseason is not quite yet over, and they do still have some questions remaining and we'll see if they can pull anything else off and miraculously avoid reaching the CBT. If not though, McCuthen and Longoria look so much better penciled into the lineup than Denard Span and Pablo Sandoval would have been, that's for sure.

In my opinion, the pressure is now really on the Giants' returnees who are coming off down and/or injury-plagued seasons to get on track (like Mark Melancon, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence) and if those guys are at their career norms in 2018 then things should definitely be looking up....Anyway, after the most recent addition, this is how the Giants lineup looks to be shaping up, at least in the order I'd put them:

RF McCutchen
2B Panik
C Posey
3B Longoria
1B Belt
RF Pence
SS Crawford
CF Hernandez/Duggar/Slater
You can see where a leadoff hitting center fielder would really round things out, but this is a much stronger bunch then what they entered 2017 with already!

UPDATE: The Giants announced in a conference call Tuesday regarding the McCutchen deal that they will indeed play him in right field, move Pence to left and still have just shy of $5M left to pursue that defense first center fielder they're seeking. According to MLB trade rumors, the three guys they're targeting are Jarrod Dyson, Cam Maybin and Jon Jay, supposedly in that order. While Carlos Gomez likely isn't high on their list because his slipping defense, he rebounded in a lot of ways after his trade to Texas last summer and not too long ago was one of the premier outfielders in the game in terms of going and getting a ball.

Austin Jackson is another guy who's out there and he's an option I would rank neck and neck with the top-3 seeing what he did in Cleveland last summer (129 OPS+ which equaled Buster Posey's). Only issue with him is he'd only be a marginal upgrade over McCutchen in center whereas the top-3 are above average defenders. Cam may be best suited to play everyday with the most upside, especially if he can get back into the rhythm he was in during '15-'16 when he combined for a .289/.352/.389 slash while playing everyday in Atlanta in '15 and mostly everyday in Detroit in '16. However, he's just as likely to be the hitter he was last season, which was abysmal, as he was the previous seasons due to his inconsistencies but Dyson and Jay have shown more consistency... Much more on this to come though. I'm sure with so many options left and the market yet to really get going, one of these guys should fall to them at a more than reasonable price because there just aren't that many centerfield jobs open, apparently, and you have about 5-6 guys still looking for one with Spring training starting in a less than 4 weeks.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Giants ink all arb. players, full focus now on OF

On Friday, one day after it was announced that Jay Bruce, the outfielder seemingly destined for San Francisco instead wound up back with the Mets on a three-year deal, the team made progress in a different way, as they came to terms with all their arbitration eligible players. 

While that is a nice step for the team, avoiding any nasty arbitration hearings and getting all five guys taken care of well before spring training, it still leaves them with a couple of gaping holes in their outfield, as well as lesser needs in other areas. On Thursday though, it was announced that the one free agent outfielder most closely linked to the club and the one who's agent said "he'd be thrilled to join the Giants" actually inked with the New York Mets, taking away one of the Giants limited options for their corner outfield vacancy. Jay Bruce was considered the most likely of the free agent outfielders to join the Giants after his agent said those things about the Giants and after Bruce apparently realized he was going to have to settle for the three year deal rather than his preferred four-year pact. However, The Giants must have been offering him much less than the Mets were if he decided to take their 3 yr./$39M deal instead of joining the team that was supposedly at the top of his wish list heading into the winter. I gotta say, I was a bit surprised at the number Bruce got and it makes me wonder what the Giants were offering because if you would have told me the Giants could have gotten Bruce for three years for a total of less than $40M I probably would have gone forward with that move. My guess is the Giants' offer was closer to the $10-12/year range as Bruce's agent said that the Mets offered the slugger more money than any other potential suitor.

So with the Bruce news, if I'm Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean, I would really try and woo Carlos Gonzalez at this point. He's not going to get as much as Bruce, and I would absolutely take the 32 year-old on a 1 or 2 year deal worth $12M per and I'd even throw in some incentives to make that deal potentially larger. Bruce's signing could end up working in the Giants favor if they are indeed able to pull off a deal like that with CarGo, but my guess is he'll wind up in Houston on a short-term deal where he'll not only have a chance to win, but also hit in a park similar to Coors Field and potentially boost his number from last season for another free agent run next winter. If I'm the Giants though, I'm doing all I can to get Gonzalez to come aboard, as he's the last corner outfielder on the market in their price range who can bring in the power they desperately need.

I've been hearing more and more about Lorenzo Cain, but I just don't see him as a good fit for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he'd cost the team a few high-end draft picks in Junes amateur draft and this is not the winter the Giants want to forfeit draft picks if they can help it. Secondly, Cain is a nice hitter, but he's not great in any one area. In an average 162-game season, he's slashed .290/.342/.421 with 12 HR, 69 RBI and 27 steals over his career. He made the all-star team in 2015 and was third in the AL MVP voting that year, but aside from that one season he's been above average at best. I saw an article today about how "SF should set their sights on Cain" and if they somehow could get for a deal that Bruce just signed then maybe I'd consider giving up the picks, but I personally don't think Cain is the middle of the order bat that this team needs. Best case, he'd be the player Melky Cabrera was with the squad in 2012 (minus the PEDS and probably without the .350 BA), but he does everything pretty well but isn't great in any one particular category like Melky was. Worst case, and one I fear more likely would he being the next Aaron Rowarnd, while maybe not that bad at the plate and certainly better in center, just an overrated guy that signs long-term and never becomes the guy you were banking on.

Now, don't get me wrong, Lorenzo Cain is a very good baseball player and one, draft picks and money aside, I would take on the Giants in a heartbeat. If the Giants were able to bank on Pence to play 150 games and be that 25/100 guy he was a few years ago, Longo to come in and be the offensive stalwart he was with the Rays most recently in '13 and '16 and Brandon Belt to finally play a full year and produce to his potential, then Cain would be a perfect fit for what they'd need. He'd be nice atop the order and although his mediocre power would probably take a hit, he'd still hit  around .300, steal some bags and bring a solid glove to center. However, Pence hasn't played a full, productive season since 2014 and saw his OPS drop to a career low .701 last year, Longo is coming off one of his worst seasons of his career and Brandon Belt is coming off another year in which he underachieved while battling concussion issues at the end of the year. I just think the Giants' big addition this point, if they make one, needs to be more of a middle of a reliable middle of the order type who can hit behind Longo and Posey.

I'm not entirely sure on how Bochy is going to set his lineup, and it still will be determined by what else they do before spring training, but as of now, the only guys that are really middle of the order on the team are Posey and Longoria. However, those two combined for 32 HR and 153 RBI in 2017, so you can see why they need another guy who can at least threaten to hit 20-30+ HR and drive in around 100 runs and to me, that guy is Carlos Gonzalez. One of our readers in a prior post suggested to go the double CarGo route and sign Gonzalez and Gomez, which I would be OK with. Gomez, in a part-time role in 2017 put up some impressive numbers with Texas, slashing .255/.340/.462 with 17 HR, 55 RBI and 13/18 in the stolen base department. Plus he's as good of defender or better than Cain is, with two gold gloves on his mantle for center field and should have no problem roaming the spacious outfield at AT&T. I mean, Cain and Gomez are very similar players, you just get more pop with Gomez and a little more average and stolen bases with Cain. The asking price, however, will be drastically different for both players though, with Gomez likely to be had on a short-term deal that doesn't cost any draft picks and probably cost no more than $5M annually whereas Cain will get a long-term deal and cost closer to $15M

Extras: As we said at the top of the post, the Giants took care of all their arbitration eligible players in one day, which is no small feat. Joe Panik led the pack by agreeing to a one-year, $3.45M deal and left-handed reliever Will Smith signed for $2.5M for the upcoming campaign. If both players are healthy then those numbers will wind up being more than fair on the Giants end, so good job on both those by Evans and Co. Relievers Sam Dyson, Hunter Strickland and Cory Gearin also locked up their contracts for 2018 although I haven't seen numbers linked to those three, I would assume they're not as much as either Panik or Smith's deals are for.... So with all the little stuff out of the way, the Giants can fully focus on filling out their roster for 2018 and although things are finally setting in motion on the free agent market, they still have some options out there that can help them contend in 2018. And now with Bruce off the table, I would expect this team to narrow it's options down quickly and make a move soon before they miss out on everybody they were negotiating with/for. It's going to be an interesting week guys as I expect a lot to be resolved, not only with the Giants, but with the other top-end FA's like Martinez, Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish. So get ready, a lot should be happening in the next 10 days or so, lets just hope the Giants are on the winning end of things.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Giants' fans still waiting on next move

We're now about a week into the new year and baseball business is beginning to pick up a little bit of steam, at least rumor wise. J.D. Martinez seems destined for Boston, and that should kick things into gear a bit on the free agency front and it appears all of the Giants potential options have now come to the forefront and it shouldn't be much longer before we see the next addition for the 2018 roster.

So far, the names linked to the Giants have included about a half-dozen outfielders, as the team still has two gaping holes in left and center, and they're going to hope like heck they can land two of those 6-8 guys that have been linked to them or have been discussed by the team. The primary names linked to the team have been Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzalez, Jackie Bradley Jr., Billy Hamilton, Andrew McCutchen, Christian Yellich (although a long shot) and Jarrod Dyson. If I were to bet right this second on the most likely of the six to join the squad, I'd go with either CarGo or Bruce taking over a corner spot and Jarrod Dyson signed to play center. However, if they could somehow figure out a way to land both CarGo/Bruce for left and McCutchen for center, it would completely revamp their lineup and set theme up to be a force in 2018. The thing is, if they indeed brought in a Gonzalez on a new deal and absorbed most of McCutchen's $16M salary for 2018, it would put them well over the luxury tax threshold. So unless they get creative and defer some money, or maybe drop another big contract (which doesn't seem likely unless they found someone to take Belt and felt like Chris Shaw could take over 1B in 2018), they probably are only settling for one bigger budget signing or trade and a much smaller budget signing/trade for their outfield. With whatever may be leftover after that, they could look into pitching depth, but that does not seem high on their priority list.

I really want to be optimistic about 2018, and be able to truly consider the Giants much improved from 2017 and a playoff contender next season, but I just don't see how they're going to be able to make the additions they absolutely need without getting into collective bargaining luxury tax penalty range. I mean, let's say they do finagle a trade for McCuthchen, or sign Bruce/CarGo and Dyson, it would still leave the Giants with question marks in right field, their bench, and the back-end of their rotation. In an ideal world, they could use another reliable late-reliever to throw in the mix, preferably left-handed, but two outfielders and a back-end starter completely outweigh any bullpen needs.

The Giants' pen, if healthy, should be improved significantly in 2018. Mark Melancon should be back in top-end closer form and hopefully Will Smith will be back in his Milwaukee Brewer form after his major surgery last spring. If that's the case, then they'd be set at the back-end of the pen with Melancon closing and Hunter Strickland and Smith being the primary set-up guys. The mid-relief isn't terrible, but they need Derek Law back closer to his 2016 form rather than last years 5.00+ ERA and ridiculous 1.57 WHIP output. Cory Gearin is coming off a solid season and should have his spot locked in either as a  long reliever or in mid-relief and Sam Dyson, who thrived for the most part as the Giants closer in the seasons final two months, should find himself in some sort of role in the '18 pen.

Sam Dyson's situation is tricky to predict though as he could settle in anywhere from being a set-up
man to Melancon to being in middle relief or ending up not earning a job out of spring at all. I mean, he's had such a bizarre couple of seasons after having a very successful run in 2016 as Texas' closer, it looked like that would be his job for the next few years at least, but he was so poor for the Rangers to start the year, that they essentially forgot about his 38-save campaign the season prior and cut him loose. He then came over to the Giants and took over the closers job and did a decent job, posting 14 saves and a 4.03 ERA in two months as the teams closer, although they'd like to see that 1.42 WHIP he posted drop at least a tenth of a point and that ERA drop under 4.00, which he's more than capable of doing seeing as he's sported an ERA in the mid-3's on average throughout his career. Dyson could end up being a centerpiece in this bullpen or completely irrelevant but the Giants need him to be the former if they want this bullpen to have the depth to compete.

The starting rotation though is an area, again, I'm very surprised has not gotten more attention this winter. The reason I find that ironic is because, in everyone of their championship runs, they were led with an outstanding rotation and a solid bullpen. Their pen had some questions in some of the tittle runs, but for the most part was reliable and when they weren't they had MadBum fall back on. So I find it ironic that a team who won three tittles this decade on the backs of their starting pitching has totally neglected their starting rotation this winter and hasn't really made much chatter at all about trying to improve upon what was their worst rotation in 9 years last summer. I know their offense was atrocious last year, and they have to do everything they can in attempt to right that ship, but they never needed a top of the line offense when they had their rotation/bullpen clicking on all cylinders. So, unless they landed a flat out difference maker and game  changer like they tried so hard to do with Giancarlo Stanton, as well as a legit center fielder like a Christian Yellich or McCutchen, this lineup wasn't and isn't going to carry this ball club on it's own.

Right now they have Madison Bumgarner, who's a true ace and perfect guy atop the rotation, however he himself is coming off a year in which he missed 3 months and wasn't necessarily the lights-out, tough to hit and score upon pitcher we've seen in years past. Granted, he threw well for the most part after his return, just not quite up to his expectations I'm sure. But he's now had an offseason to recover and the missed time in 2017 may have been a blessing in disguise seeing as the Giants weren't going anywhere even had MadBum stayed on the field all year. Instead, he got some major rest in 2017 and should be the most fresh he's ever been heading into a season this spring. Aside from Bumgarner, Cueto too had injuries he dealt with for most the year, and was pretty darn mediocre when he was on the mound and was no where near the pitcher he was in '16.

Then there's the Samardzija, who despite his 15 losses and 4.42 ERA, was arguably the teams most reliable starter from start to finish. Despite the higher ERA, he posted a very solid 1.13 WHIP, which is right around what MadBum usually posts, plus "Shark" led the team with 205 K's and 207 innings of work. As for the coming season, I think MadBum will be back to his usual form, and I expect improvement from Cueto. Although I don't think we'll get another 2016-level performance from the number 2 starter, 200 innings pitched, a sub-4 ERA and a WHIP at 1.25 or lower would be acceptable compared to last years 4.52 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and only 147 innings pitched. As for projected number-3 Samardzija, I would take a repeat of last years performance, with hopefully a more reliable bullpen and a little more offense could flip-flop his win-loss numbers from a year ago and also see that ERA drop back down below 4.00 as well, where he was in his first year with the club in 2016 (3.81 ERA).

Again though, those are some big questions and a lot of things that need to get back on track for the Giants front-3 starters so they could certainly use some stability at the bottom half of the rotation. As I've said all offseason, I'm completely content with Chris Stratton being the 5th guy, but if it's Blach as the fifth guy and Stratton bumped up to 4th then this rotation just isn't as strong as it's been in years past. It's certainly not a rotation I see competing with the likes of Arizona, Colorado and the other Wild Card contenders, especially on a team with a mediocre offense and without a lights-out, shut down bullpen, or at least not that we've seen thus far.

I get all the attention that's being given to upgrading the outfield/offense, but even if they do accomplish what they want in that area, I don't know that they'll have the pitching depth to to be world series contenders like they want to be next season. Of course, Stratton could become the next big arm to come up through the system and build off his solid 2017 showing and maybe Tyler Beede bursts onto the scene in 2018 in a big way, but you can't bank on that, and the Giants cannot just completely ignore their rotation before spring training. I don't expect anything big, but a Jeremy Hellickson, Jaime Garcia or R.A. Dickey may not be bad, cheap one-year options to throw into the rotation mix. I would prefer to have Blach as the long reliever/spot starter if needed and I don't think Tyler Beede is quite ready, so another veteran with a history of some success could do a lot for this rotation. They simply can't forget about the area of their team that's been the focal point of their success, that being the starting rotation!
The Giants Baseball Blog

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Slow moving market may help Giants in the end

Back in October, after the Astros destroyed the Giants' arch nemesis LA Dodgers to win the '17 World Series, I was anticipating the Giants to be active early on in their attempt to upgrade their roster. However that simply has not been the case, not only with the Giants but with all of baseball as 9 of the top-10 ranked free-agents still unemployed as we enter 2018.

Although it's become a bit of a trend in recent years for free agents/GM's and owner to wait things out a little more rather than rushing to sign players right away in November, usually things pick up significantly in December and certainly after the winter meetings and GM meetings pass. This year though, there really isn't a consensus top ranked free agent which usually sets the tone for the rest of the pack.

So it's been a very bizarre offseason to say the least. It started off with all eyes on Giancarlo Stanton, as the reigning NL MVP held the keys as to what team he wanted to be dealt to, which led to him blocking a deal in place that would have sent the slugger to San Francisco while the Cardinals were right there with the Giants in the Stanton sweepstakes. Although not a free agent, Stanton was the biggest name on the market this winter and he thought to be sort of that market setter, or starter once his situation was resolved. The slugger ended up choosing to waive his no-trade to join the New York Yankees, spurning the Giants who were thought to be the favorites to land the slugger. It's now been a month since the trade though, and thins are still moving very slowly on the player movement front. Only five of the top-20 ranked free agents have found themselves homes, signifying that owners are simply not wanting to throw big money at players that aren't superstars just because they happen to be one of the better free agent options this winter. The Giants, for example, would probably have signed Jay Bruce within days of missing out on Stanton in years past, and given him the four-year deal he's still holding out for. This winter, they're in no rush to get anything done and they're not alone.

Only a small percentage of The Sporting News' top 101 free agents for this offseason have found homes thus far. Something will eventually give though, and guys will start to sign, but I'm not quite sure what that thing that gets this offseason going will be. As I said, most people thought it would have been the Stanton trade, but that was resolved weeks ago and things have been as quiet as ever (free-agency wise). Maybe it won't be until J.D. Martinez and Yu Darvish sign but they don't seem close to landing anywhere from what I'm hearing. There have, however, been a few big trades, including the Giants landing Evan Longoria and Cardinals trading for Marcel Ozuna with both players being considered "consolation prizes" in the Stanton sweepstakes. The Giants and Cardinals, from all accounts, were the two teams that the Marlins had deals in line with only to have Stanton decline, instead holding out for New York.

The question Giant's fans, as well as fans from most ball clubs, are now waiting on an answer for now is what happens next? When are we going to see thin another move made and things sort of shake up atop the free agency pool. For the Giants, they need to figure out how many more moves they're in position to make in order to improve the 2018 roster and not go over the luxury tax threshold? I firmly expect them to still bring in two outfielders, whether that's a trade and a signing or two signings. We know about Bruce being linked to the team. We know all about the Billy Hamilton/Jarrod Dyson talk and even the Andrew McCutchen and Jackie Bradley Jr. long shot possibilities, but the latest name to join the mix is someone who I've voiced my opinion on plenty in posts throughout the offseason. That player is former Rockies' outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who would have been atop the pack of this free agent class had he been coming off virtually any other year of his career.

If the Giants are unable to get Bruce to drop his demand of a 4-year deal down to three (which from what I'm hearing is the hurdle in negotiations), they could turn their efforts to CarGo, who's been a better player than Bruce up until last season. CarGo is 2 years Bruce's senior, which factors into things and, as we already discussed, is coming off a year in which he slashed .262/13/57/.767. It was only the first time in his career with a sub-.800 OPS in a season in which he played over 85 games. In '16 he was an all-star, slashing .298/25/100/.855 and the year prior he won a silver slugger award, knocking out 40 home runs and slugging at a percentage of .540. That slugging percentage is not quite up to Barry Bonds' .600+ slugging percentage in his hey day's in the orange and black, but those are pretty damn impressive seasons from CarGo. I mean, if he's coming off either the '15 or the '16 season he'd easily place within the top-5 of this years free agent class, and again, would at least be my top choice. He just turned 32 in October and is still considered to be in his prime in the baseball sense, although it's certainly the back-end.

This is pure speculation, because I don't know what Bruce is asking for in terms of the dollar amount on his contract, only that he's seeking at least a four year deal and I haven't heard anything in regards to CarGo's preferred numbers. If it came down to CarGo for maybe 2 years and $30-35M or Bruce at around 4 years and $70-80M though, I'd personally roll the dice on CarGo.

We saw what Gonzalez did in a down year last season, and despite it being way below his standards, it was a better OPS, HR and RBI total than any outfielder the Giants trotted out in 2017. Had Hunter Pence been healthy all year things may have been different, but that shows just how poorly their outfield performed last summer. So we sort of saw Gonzalez's floor in '17 (although he did have injury issues he still played in over 135 games), and his ceiling is that of an MVP-caliber left fielder. I just think those are better than what Bruce's respective "floor" and "ceiling" is. Plus, if they signed CarGo to a deal similar to the one I suggested, and traded for a center fielder still under team control in arbitration (like a Bradley or Hamilton), they still could have some money to dangle out there for a potential #4 starter like an Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas or if they want to spend a bit more, Lance Lynn would look awesome behind Cueto in the #3 starter spot, moving Samardzija down to 4 and allowing the slew of youngsters led by Christ Stratton to battle it out for the fifth spot.

Now, the only issue with CarGo and the Giants that concerns me and I'm sure has the Giants a little gun-shy as opposed to Bruce is the fact that the former Rockie has been flat out bad at AT&T Park over his career. LIke sub-.700 OPS bad with just 5 home runs and a low batting average during the course of  well over 200 at-bats in the spacious yard. Whereas Bruce has had no such trouble and has actually thrived at AT&T in his career, slashing .293/7/22/.893 over 116 career at-bats which I'm sure is a huge reason why the Giants see him as one of the better options for them.

Whoever they end up signing, the longer it takes for things to unfold, the better it seems to be for the teams trying to get sign players to more "team friendly" deals. A couple  winters back (heck maybe even last offseason), J.D. Martinez would have been signed for 5 years and $125M and Yu Darvish may have been looking at a deal in the $200M range. I mean, at 32 years if age a couple years ago, Zach Grienke got $206M over 6 years from Arizona. That same offseason, Jeff Samardzija coming off a year in which he was one of the most hittable and scored upon pitchers in baseball, landed a deal close to $100M from these Giants based squarely on what he did in a couple seasons with the Cubbies and what the Giants hoped he'd do in their yard.

So free agency seems to be changing a bit in baseball, and we'll still have to see how things shake out, but I'm pretty sure most players will not be getting the deals they ideally would have gotten in previous offseasons.

And with that said this, baring some move that's made over the next 48 hours, will be our last post of 2017, so happy new year to all Giants fans and especially to those that loyally follow us and check in on our site on a regular basis here at The Giants Baseball Blog.

GBB Notes and End of the Year Appreciations: We're going to try and have our best year yet in 2018, as we look to expand a bit and possibly move off of blogspot (though blogger.com has been a great and easy to use platform that is owned and therefor ranked well with Google), but more on that to come .If your on Instagram or Twitter please follow us on Twitter (@GiantsBlogger), where I've been having some pretty cool debates and discussions with fellow fans from around the league, and not only Giants fans. We'd like to get our Twitter presence elevated in 2018 and it would be a dream of mine if we can somehow hit 1,000 followers (I'll be following you guys back as well)... We also recently launched our Giants Baseball Blog Instagram as well, so go follow us there by clicking this link here (although it's not strictly Giants related as out Twitter feed is). So please guys, if your reading this, take the 30 extra seconds to go subscribe to our Twitter and our Instagram feeds. Once we hit a 1,000 followers on either platform, we can start doing regular giveaways like tickets, Giants merch, books and more.

Thanks again for being loyal readers in 2017 though guys. It was one of the toughest years of my life to date, and it's the reason why 2017 was probably our least posted year to date. Yes the team being terrible and just a drag to talk about on a daily basis with the same issues haunting them day in and day out. The big reason why my posting slowed during the season though was do to an illness in the family that ended up occupying a lot of my time rendering the Giants irrelevant for much of the summer to me personally. And all kidding aside, it ended up being a pretty darn good year to sort of fall out of the loop on things. Point is, there was a lot going on in my personal life this last year and it showed with the lack of posting and the lack of unique insight I try and bring to this website... RIP pop, you'll be forever missed and appreciated. You were the reason I fell in love with the game of baseball and became one of the biggest San Francisco Giants fan's on this earth! I can only hope that 2018 has some better luck in store for all of us!
The Giants Baseball Blog

Friday, December 22, 2017

Evan Longoria joins Giants, but still plenty to do

The Giants finally made their first big splash of the offseason, and while it was a far cry from a Giancarlo Stanton or Manny Machado trade, the move does makes them a better team then they were prior (how much so remains to be seen). The club doesn't appear to be stopping with just Evan Longoria either.

With numerous holes remaining, especially in the outfield, the Giants now appear as if they're ready to go all out in attempt to compete again in 2018 and turn around, in one offseason, a team that was two losses shy of 100 in 2017.

On Tuesday night the attempt officially began with the Giants and Rays striking the deal for Longoria. The trade sent Denard Span and Christian Arroyo as well as lower level minor league pitchers Stephen Woods and Matt Krook to Tampa for the star third basemen. Although still young players with upside, neither pitcher was very highly ranked in the Giants minor league system, so losing those two doesn't sting too badly. Losing Christian Arroyo, however, was a big one as he was one of the organizations most bright young players with a ton of potential and still just 22 years of age. The issue with Arroyo though, is that he;s much more valuable as a shortstop or second basemen at the major league level, and the Giants have those spots covered for years to come. He had more than a cup of coffee with the Giants in '17 and had a decent couple of weeks after his call-up, but his average started to plummet over time and then he got hurt and never really was much of a factor after that. In 124 at-bats, the 22 year-old hit just .192 with 3 jacks, 14 RBI and just 9 runs scored with the big club. Sure it was his first cup of coffee in the show but I just don't think the Giants were confident in him being their third basemen of the future and that made him expendable in a trade. He was one of the teams biggest trade chips so that tells me that a package headlining him wasn't going to fetch a talent higher than Longoria.

Enough about the guys the Giants sent away, lets talk about the guy we'll be watching man the hot corner for the club for multiple seasons to come. Since coming into the league in 2008, Evan Longoria has been one of the best, most consistent all-around third basemen in all of baseball. The 32 year-old is a 3-time all-star, former rookie of the year, 3-time gold-glover and has finished within the top-10 of AL MVP voting four times in his 10-year career. That being said, he hasn't made the all-star team since 2010, but that can be attributed in large part to the AL being stocked with a lot of high end third basemen over the last 6-7 years. Looking at his most recent bodies of work though, Longoria has shown he's still got a lot of punch in that bat and his 2017 gold glove award proves he's still at the top of the game on the defensive end. His full season average slash line over his career is a very respectable .270/29/101/.823 with 38 doubles but I believe the defensive aspect of his game is what pushed the Giants over on him. If they signed Todd Frazier, the Giants would have gotten their 20-30 home run threat, but would not be getting the average that Longoria will hopefully provide nor the gold-glove caliber defense.

Now, while the newest Giant has had a remarkably consistent career, some people are worried he's in the middle of his offensive decline, as he's sported an OPS over .800 just once in the last 4 seasons. That season, however, was the 2016 season which he blasted a career-high 36 big flies, drove in 98 and rocked 41 doubles to get to a .840 OPS. He had a pretty pedestrian 2017 by his standards though, with a slash line of .261/20/86/.737. The HR and RBI totals from last season though would still have led the '17 Giants squad, which is a testament to how badly they needed to bring in some consistent power and run production.

My thoughts on the deal after marinating on it over the last couple of days though are mostly positive. I do think he'll keep his 20+ home run potential despite moving into the more pitcher friendly yard and division plus his defense certainly isn't about to fall-off anytime soon. I also don't think they necessarily overpaid to get him, although losing Arroyo could effect what this team looks like when they do start to inevitably move into that younger makeover. By all accounts, he's a tremendous club house presence, and hopefully joining a perennial contender will sort of give him a second life and rejuvinate his bat a little bit and get his power production numbers up a little bit. Even if he repeated his 2017 season in '18 though, I don't think anyone would call this trade a bad deal for the Giants (unless Arroyo goes on to become an all-star with the Rays within the next few seasons). I would love to see him back up around 25+ HR and 100 RBI as well as getting his OPS back up around or above .800. As far as whether or not this deal was a good one or a bad one I'll answer that question like this; if the Giants go on to win another tittle that Longoria plays a big part in or even helps them stay perennial contenders over the next handful of seasons, then this move will be deemed successful. So let's just wait to see what else the Giants have in store and what kind of product they put on the field next year.

So the Giants finally got the ball rolling with their offseason and it's given us an idea as to where this team considers themselves for the next few seasons. They obviously are considering themselves contenders for 2018 and at least a few seasons after that as well and they're not about to take their foot off the gas pedal in terms of looking for additional upgrades for this roster. With the dealing of Span, it now leaves the Giants with Hunter Pence as the only major leaguer with everyday playing experience at this level meaning they're going to need another couple of outfield additions at least, especially with Pence being so injury prone the last few seasons and maybe not even being an everyday player in 2018. As of now, he'd be their starting right fielder, and I do think he'll be in the starting lineup somewhere on opening day. I believe that if the Giants can get enough depth on their outfield roster though, it would allow Boch to use Pence a little more sparingly in '18 which would hopefully result in a fresher, healthier and more effective outfielder.
As far as potential partners for Pence in that outfield, one names is becoming more and more close to joining the Giants with each passing day, and that player is Jay Bruce. The agent for Bruce has said the 31 year-old's top choice is San Francisco, by a long shot, and if they Giants can maybe get him to take a little less money then it would cost them to obtain maybe Adam Jones or Andrew McCutchen, then they very well may go that route. I'm not as high on Bruce though as I am the other two guys mentioned as he's a low average, low on-base left handed power guy who sort of relies on 35-40 HR seasons to contribute to his team and not a whole helluva lot else. The worry here is that playing in AT&T would obviously cut down on his power numbers, maybe significantly enough to make him a risky add. Bruce also is seeking a 4-year deal and the Giants have made it clear they'd prefer no more than 3 years. So there are still some hurdles if the Giants are indeed going to sign the slugger, but he certainly seems like he's going to be the big free agent signing for the club at the moment, although we all know how quickly things can change in this game (just look at how the Marlins and Giants had a deal in place for Giancarlo Stanton, only to have the outfielder decline the deal after mulling it over).

Even if they did add Bruce though, it would still leave the Giants with a gaping hole in center field, and the newest name brought into the mix to potentially fill that void is Jacoby Ellsbury. I'm not sure if the Giants have any interest in the aging Yankees center fielder, but he specifically mentioned them as a team he'd prefer a trade to if he is indeed dealt out of New York's crowded outfield. Ellsbury just doesn't make sense for the Giants though, as he's essentially a much more expensive, older version of Denard Span, granted he still does play a decent center field. I'd just assume go with their young in-house option, Steven Duggar, who's a very good center fielder and appears to be showing more offensive prowess over time. If they went that route they could support or supplant Duggar with a cheaper free agent option like Jarrod Dyson. Billy Hamilton has been on their radar as well but Dyson is basically a more refined version of Hamilton with a better plate presence, granted he's not quite the speed demon Hamilton is, he's close.

There are a lot more names than those mentioned in this piece out there who the Giants are looking at, have looked at or will look at. Right now the name ringing the most bells since the Longoria add and the team finally showed their intentions for 2018 is Jay Bruce. So don't be surprised if we're back here before Christmas talking about a newly inked left-handed slugger. If they do add Bruce, which the baseball world sure feels will come to fruition, then you'd then be looking at a lineup like the one below. A starting eight that would still has big question marks in left and center, but not a terrible looking bunch on paper, especially the top-6 hitters (although ideally they could find a leadoff hitting outfielder, drop Panik to second and move Belt down into the bottom third):

2B Joe Panik (L)
1B Brandon Belt (L)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
C Buster Posey (R)
RF Jay Bruce (L)
SS Brandon Crawford (L)
LF Hunter Pence(R)
CF Steven Duggar (L)
The Giants Baseball Blog

Saturday, December 16, 2017

What's next for SF after Matt Moore trade?

The Giants dealt away their projected number 4 starter to the Texas Rangers on Friday afternoon for a couple of prospects that probably won't ever see the light of day on a major league roster. However, according to many sources throughout the league, this deal was primarily about clearing payroll for what many are speculating could be bigger move on the horizon for the club.

The fact that they got some pretty pedestrian prospects in return tell me that this wasn't necessarily a move that suggests they're leaning toward rebuilding this offseason. Instead, the consensus is that the Giants made this move to clear some payroll, as we know they were approaching the luxury tax limit and another high-priced free agent, such as J.D. Martinez, would put them over the threshold and cost them a nice chunk of money in fines as a result. By dealing Moore, they do free up roughly $7M for 2018 and if I remember correctly from what was said on KNBR Friday, that leaves the Giants roughly $25M below the luxury tax threshold, meaning they could have wiggle room to sign someone like Martinez as well as another piece if they so choose. Aside from Martinez, the upper-echelon free-agents they've looked at are outfielders Jay Bruce and Lorenzo Cain as well as third basemen Mike Moustakas.

The trade does take away a guy who, aside from a dreadful 2017 season which many are writing off as an aberration than the start of a decline for the 29 year-old lefty who was nails down the stretch and in the playoffs for the Giants after acquiring him the previous summer. I do think Moore will bounce back and return to the pitcher we saw in '16 rather than the guy we saw throughout 2017, so I'm hoping the Giants have a good plan in motion as a result of the deal aside from the acquisition of two mediocre-at-best pitching prospects. (Although one of the pitchers the Giants got, Israel Cruz, is still just 20 years old and has a lively arm, the kid was rocked in the majority of his 9 outings in the Arizona League leading to an ERA less than a tenth of a point below 6)

The reason why this deal will hopefully lead to a bigger addition for the Giants is because of the timing. Moore is coming off his worst year in the big leagues and his trade value is at an all-time low. If the intention was to deal him in order to get the most value for him, they would have been better off waiting until the season started and allowed Moore some starts to show last season was a fluke. So essentially, if the Giants don't make another move this winter to counteract this trade, I would mark this one down as a big L for the organization just because trade values are higher in season and there would most certainly have been a desperate contender that maybe suffered an injury or realized they were an arm short and would have offered up significantly more than two "throw in" type of prospects. I guess

So, with that being said, this move certainly will now pose a question for the Giants management aside from what to do with the saved $9M and that is who will take Moore's spot in the rotation. Now Chris Stratton had a very solid finish to 2017 and appears to have the upper hand in terms of the fifth spot in the rotation, but now the Giants need to fill another slot in their five-man starting staff. They do have some internal options but all of them come with question marks. Ty Blach would appear to be the lead candidate at the moment, but after an impressive showing down the stretch in 2016, he was just about as bad as Moore was in '17 going 8-12 with a 4.79 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and a 74:43 strikeout/walk ratio over 34 games (24 starts) and 163 innings. Now those aren't absolutely dreadful numbers as far as a fifth starter would be concerned, but if he is in the rotation with Stratton, it would essentially give the Giants two number five starters at the back-end of their rotation. Stratton may actually become the number four if that were the case, and while he was pretty impressive in his 10 starts after joining the rotation, his one area of weakness was base-runners allowed with about 1.5 per inning. He did an excellent job at limiting the damage and finished the year with a sub-4 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning over 57 frames. I would gladly take Stratton as the fifth guy with Blach, Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez waiting in the wings should he falter, but the rotation is now much less deep than it was before the Moore trade.

The Giants will likely scour the bottom half of the free agent pool for some starting pitching depth though and there are some decent names down there that could intrigue the team. Jeremy Hellickson, Jaime Garcia, R.A. Dickey and perhaps the most intriguing option if healthy, Chris Tillman. Tillman is coming off a terrible, injury shortened season in which he went 1-7 with an ERA just shy of 8 but was the Orioles ace heading into the season. He's just 29 years old and in '16 he went 16-6 with a 3.78 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 144 K's in 172 innings giving him a quality 114 ERA+ on the campaign. If he's healthy, he could be a great buy low bargain on a one-year deal in which he could pitch in the spacious AT&T Park rather than the rough NL East to possibly build his value for a big, long-term deal next offseason. Whether it's one of these guys or someone else, I do expect the Giants to bring in another veteran starter to at least compete for one of the rotation spots.

Now this brings me to the second question that this deal poses, what, if anything, do the Giants do with the money freed in the trade? The other big name linked to the Giants since they missed out on Giancarlo Stanton and someone the Giants apparently have made a trade offer for is Baltimore third basemen Manny Machado. However, Machado isn't owed a ton of money in '18 and becomes a free agent after the year when the likes of Hunter Pence and Denard Span will come off the books so it's not as if they had to deal Moore in order to obtain Machado and potentially sign the 25 year-old star to an extension. It doesn't seem like the Giants and Orioles are very close to a deal though unlike they were with the Marlins for Stanton, plus Machado has voiced a desire to play shortstop everyday, something the Giants would not offer him the ability to do with gold-glover Brandon Crawford in place for the next half-decade. White Sox outfielder Avasail Garcia is someone else the Giants have reached out about, but apparently they weren't able to get a deal done for him at the Winter Meetings. Like with Machado though, it seems unlikely they complete anything in the future for the all-star right fielder who had a breakout 2017 season that included a .330 average, 18 jacks and 80 RBI in 136 games.

What's surprising to me is that, aside from Manny Machado and some light whispers about bringing back Eduardo Nunez, the Giants haven't been seriously linked to any third basemen of note, which would be a problem if they aren't able to upgrade. Pablo Sandoval and/or Ryder Jones and Christian Arroyo would be forced into huge playing time by default and that's not something that a contending team should aim for unless they somehow got two studs in the outfield. Because of their need for multiple outfielders is probably the reason we're hearing every name from Billy Hamilton to J.D Martinez, Avasail Garcia, Domingo Santana and many more.

With Pence and Span under contract they could theoretically bring in just one outfielder and possibly get by, but I don't think they want both Pence and Span to be forced into everyday roles in '18 and would rather have those guys possibly platoon in right and maybe one separates himself from the other and takes the everyday role. Again though, that would mean two outfielders and ideally a third basemen would still have to be brought in, and with all the trouble they seem to be having trying to acquire just one of those pieces, acquiring three may be an impossible task this winter.

What the Moore deal does at least is finally get the ball rolling for the Giants offseason. I think Moore will pitch better than he did in 2017 but he's hardly a guy I'm broken up about losing as he was just so bad in 2017 and especially if this move does lead to something bigger. If, however, it doesn't lead to something bigger and was just an attempt to clear payroll for the sake of clearing payroll then I think the move would then turn out to be a bad one for reasons I listed above. At least I have a little bit of an idea of what I think the Giants are now wanting to do this offseason (spend big to acquire an outfielder or possibly Machado), It's still any body's guess as to what this roster will look like when the team reports for spring training in under two months from now.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Monday, December 11, 2017

Giants hit winter meetings eager and open to deal

After missing out on the trade that would have shook up San Francisco, and injected new life into the Giants lineup for years to come in the form of Giancarlo Stanton, the Giants will now shift focus to the free agent market, with four players supposedly atop their meetings' wish list.

Those four players, as reported by the Boston Globe and NBC Sports Bay Area, are third basemen Todd Frazier and Mike Moustakas as well as outfielders J.D. Martinez and Lorenzo Cain. The one guy not listed who they did inquire about earlier in the offseason is Jay Bruce. It they;re wanting to get the best guys at each position they will somehow try to land both Martinez and Moustakas, though Moustakas rejected a qualifying offer, meaning in order for the Giants to sign either him, they'll have to forfeit some pretty valuable draft positioning. That being said, the Giants may be open to taking that risk if they could indeed get Moustakas on terms that they feel is fair and without having to overpay. Both Martinez and Moustakas are All-Star caliber ballplayers still very much in their prime whereas Frazier isn't quite the all-around talent Moustakas is and while Cain is a terrific center fielder and a solid .300 bat with a little punch, I don't think that is what the Giants really need at this point. They need a guy who they can pencil in to hit around .300 with 35+ HR's and 100 or so RBI's for the entirety of his contract, health permitting, and Martinez is the only outfielder that could provide that

The disappointment of missing out on Stanton has pretty much passed, and I'm more than ready for these winter meetings to kick off and for the Giants to make some move finally that will show what direction they're panning on going in 2018 (and beyond). Again, if they leave Florida at the end of the week without any new additions or having made any significant progress on some players, then it could signify 2018 as possibly a pseudo-rebuilding year in which they'll still have the pitching and some of the core guys like Posey, Crawford, Pence and Panik on the roster. All of those guys are coming off less than stellar seasons and not offensive campaigns any of them are really happy with, so the Giants could just hope those guys rebound. If not, they'll start playing the young guys, and plot for next winter's offseason which could potentially feature baseball's top-3 all-around player.

The Giants have a decent amount of money coming off the books next season and they most likely will be looking into joining the Bryce Harper sweepstakes (unless he re-signs in DC). With the Giants showing they would have been perfectly willing to take on Giancarlo Stanton's contract, we can only imagine what the Giants would be willing to offer Harper. Pence and Span coming off the books alone frees up roughly $30M/year, which I;m sure the Giants would be more than happy to offer Harper, but as the case with Stanton showed, the big question would be "would Harper want to come here anyway?". The Giants have been a bottom-3 team in baseball the last year and a half (despite making the playoffs in '16), so they're in a spot right now in which they aren't necessarily the top choice to come to for star players so they better get this thing back on track quickly if they want to be able to woo free agents into coming aboard and players with no-trade clauses more than willing to waive them to join SF. Just remember how happy Hunter Pence was when he joined the team! (which was amazingly 6 1/2 years ago now.. wow how the time has flied since the early stages of that Giants run...)

So yes, this is going to be a telling week and one of the most influential winter meetings the Giants have been at in quite some time. And, if I were to guess at who, if any of these guys will end up Giants by the end of the week, my guess would be Lorenzo Cain and/or a lesser free agent like a bench option or mid-reliever.I just get a bad feeling on Cain, and I really don't want him. Same with Moustakas, especially with the draft pick. While Cain brings strong defense to center and brings some average and speed but not a ton of big power. Cainer will still give you 12-15 jacks per year, but I honestly don't see him doing much more offensively at AT&T than Denard Span did in 2017, but he'd be a much better defender. Worth giving up the high draft choice to obtain him though? I really don't think so.

Moustakas too has some strong qualities and attributes, but your looking at a left-handed bat coming off a career power year and has never been a big power guy before that, so chances are, his left-handed pop doesn't translate at AT&T as expected and he becomes another version of Brandon Belt. I say that jokingly, but only halfway. Moustakas would probably still carry some decent numbers and is a helluva a third basemen, but again, too lose a high draft pick when you really have to rebuild your system, on a guy coming off a career year and has been largely average aside from that may not be the best move.

Anyway, keep checking back here over the next few days as we'll be here to post any happenings from the meetings. Even if nothing significant happens, we'll have the recap at the end of the week, and I'm sure you can guess what that will be talking about. I mean, we're hitting mid-December and the team has yet to make a single move. Granted, they certainly have tried there best on a couple of guys and it has been a strangely slow offseason all-around, not just with the Giants. The Stanton trade though, is expected to get things going... Lets sure hope so!

Extras: I did want to mention that, although there are four names the Giants seem to only be interested in and linked to publicly, that doesn't mean they won't be inquiring about other players too while in Florida, players we may not even be expecting or thinking of in the slightest. For example, I know they've expressed interest in Milwaukee slugger, Domingo Santana (OF) who's just turned 25, and I didn't know anything about that nor did that name even cross my mind when assessing potential trade options for the Giants (as he's a young stud who hasn't even realized his potential yet and is under team control for years to come). Travis Shaw may not be available but he's a guy from the Brewers I have though about who'd be a great fit at third base coming off a career, 30+ HR season.. Santana is mighty intriguing though and after looking more into him it's no surprise the Giants inquired about him. He possess a lot of similar skill-sets as Giancarlo Stanton and even better in a lot of ways outside of the ridiculous pop Stanton has. Although he won't hit quite as many jacks, Santana hit for an equal or even higher average, steal more bases and has more versatility in the outfield. Plus Santana is just 25 years of age and hits right-handed as well, making AT&T Park less likely to cut into his power numbers... So keep your eyes and ears open as many more names could trickle though the rumor mill over the next 72 hours.
The Giants Baseball Blog