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Friday, November 14, 2014

Giants focused on Sandoval, looking at LF

Just as expected, in the two weeks of offseason there's been since the Giants won the World Series, their primary focus has been on retaining postseason machine, Pablo Sandoval. However, as they try diligently to persuade their incredibly popular third basemen into returning, they've also begun to ponder over some of the outfield options that are on the market.

I don't think the market for Sandoval was quite as big as The Panda was anticipating, but apparently their is at least one other team who's interest is rivaling the Giants, and that is Boston Red Sox. He's scheduled to visit with Boston in person sometime early next week, and my guess is he's probably gonna sign somewhere sooner than later. I don't see this thing really dragging out past Thanksgiving. I've always felt that if Pablo leaves San Francisco, he'd wind up in the AL East somewhere, and both the Red Sox and Blue Jays have shown interest and although they've been quiet, you can't count out New York. The 'Sox may make the most sense for Pablo should he leave the Bay Area. David Ortiz is an idol of Sandoval's and with the two being close friends, Ortiz is believed to be doing his best to convince Pablo to join him in Boston. Also, while Pablo may have had his best defensive season of his career in 2014, his body type may prohibit him from playing the hot corner well into his 30's and he almost certainly will end up a DH at some point in his career so long as he keeps that bat. This gives even more incentive to an AL team to swoop in on him and a big reason why I'm surprised there more teams aggressively pursuing him.

Nevertheless, the Giants can't be complaining about the fact they have just one known serious competitor for Sandoval as there really is no equal to Pablo at third base out there on the free agent market. I've heard Hanley Ramirez's name tossed out there but HanRam is hardly the type of personality that would fit in this clubhouse and his history of injuries makes even Pablo Sandoval look like Cal Ripken. After Pablo and HanRam, things drop off quickly though in terms of third base options, another reason I'm surprised there isn't more interest in Pablo. Chase Headley would be the only other starting caliber third basemen on the market after those two. Asdurbal Cabrera could be a backup plan as he may be able to slide over to third and provide solid defense and a semi-decent bat, but again, a far cry from Pablo. I mentioned Headley here last week as the guy who would probably make most sense should Sandoval sign elsewhere. His switch hitting bat could be inserted into the middle of the order somewhere and although he doesn't have the explosive bat Pablo does, he did have a .283/31/115 year in San Diego of all places just 2 seasons ago. Since that breakout campaign however, he's totaled just 30 HR and 99 RBI in two full seasons, so expecting anything more than a .260/15/70 line (roughly his career 162-game average clip) out of him would probably be unreasonable. In today's market though, with his solid glove and playing a position that's sorely thin in Major League Baseball right now, he's gonna get a multi-year deal worth $10M+ per year.

Now, with all this focus on Sandoval, the Giants must not overlook their other areas of need, and apparently they've inquired about some outfielders. There were whisperings at the start of the GM meetings that the Giants were interested in Torii Hunter as a possible replacement for Michael Morse in left field. At age 39, Hunter has hinted at possible retirement, but would have to have some interest in making one last run at a tittle before retirement should the Giants' interest be genuine. Hunter did have a solid .286/18/83/.765 line in 2014 and still is one of the better defensive outfielders in all of baseball, so he could certainly make some sense on a very short-term deal. Hunter is likely attractive to them because of his still relevant production and the likelihood that he'll seek just a one or two-year contract because to get his production from a player younger than him will likely start costing multiple years and much, much more money. Nelson Cruz isn't going to be a Giant, as interesting as that would be, and the market isn't too deep with outfielders this winter either. Besides Hunter, Morse and Cruz, there's Alex Rios, Colby Rasmus, Nick Markakis and Nori Aoki. Rasmus is semi-intriguing, just because he too will likely be looking for a short-term deal to rebound from last season. He's right in the prime of his career and is a pretty good bet to rebound, health permitting. The options just aren't great ones in the outfield, which makes keeping Pablo's bat at third all the more valuable.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, if they could bring Pablo back, and sign Hunter, I could live with that lineup for sure.

    Pagan cf
    Panik 2b
    Posey C
    Sandoval 3B
    Pence RF
    Belt 1B
    Hunter LF
    Crawford SS

  • At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think Pablo goes to boston and the Giants bring in Chase Headley to take his spot. They are always keen on ex-Padres and Headley for 3 years and 30 million would be better than Hanley Ramirez for 100 million or more. Hell, If Headley plays like he did in 2012, he may even be better than the Panda.


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