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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Positional needs/power top Giants 'to-do' list

As I said in our last post, with all of the Giants rotation that ended the year set to return (barring some change of heart from Johnny Cueto and he opts out), they don't have a whole lot of room to do much there unless they want to pursue a more seasoned option for the back-end of the rotation. However, as of now, they have about half of a starting lineup set to return, and will be looking for upgrades in at least two spots, maybe three.

The obvious two spots they'll be looking into upgrading is either center field (depending on what they decide to do with Denard Span) and/or left field, and then the glaring hole at third base. The guys they trotted out in the second half of the year after dealing away starter Eduardo Nunez were hardly inspiring, and proved that if this team is serious about contending in 2018 they're going to have to venture outside the organization for help there. The one name that seems to make some sense, especially on the power end, is Todd Frazier. The Giants need a 30+ home run bat in this lineup and Frazier, although he hits around .225, could provide that. The top third basemen on the marker, Mike Moustakas, is coming off a career year in KC that saw him hit over 30 big flies with a nice average, and great defense at third base. Mix that with the fact he's still under 30 and he's probably going to cash out big somewhere and being a left handed batter, AT&T Park probably wouldn't suit his power potential the most so that may not be a good fit anyway.

Eduardo Nunez is also set to hit the open market, and although he had a pretty good stint here in SF when he was on the field and tore it up for Boston, the question to ask is will he get more than he's worth? We saw Nunez for year here and while I think he was still finding his way a bit in the NL as his power numbers never showed up, but he hit for a nice average and was this teams most dangerous threat on the basepaths, when he was actually one the field. Now, more options will likely present themselves as we get into the offseason, whether it's trade options or guys getting non-tendered, but third base is going to be a very interesting area to keep an eye on this winter for the Giants. I don't love Frazier, but in this market, if they could get him on a 2-year deal then I'd be for it otherwise I say steer clear. I could take the .220 average if it came with 30-something jacks and 85+ RBI.

Another possibility I could very well see happening is if the Giants did strike a deal with Miami for Stanton, they may end up having to take on Martin Prado as well, who's on the hook for around $13..5M the next two years. Prado did have a decent year in '16 hitting .305 with 75 RBI and a .777 OPS, but is 34, hasn't hit double digit HR's since '14 and got hurt and missed most of last season. I just don't see the Giants absorbing that deal though unless they do get rid of Pence or Span in the process.  For roughly the same price, I'm figuring, I'd rather bring back Nunez, as he's a younger, faster, more versatile version of Prado but if they could get their hands on Stanton then all bets may be off.

However, if the Giants are planning on contending in 2018, as I think they will be, Nunez is ideally the guy that I'd like to see back at third the most, at least of the free agent options. Especially if they can find power for the outfield.

Then you have the outfield, which was one of, if not the least productive bunch in all of baseball. Despite his best efforts to keep conditioned and eat healthy during the offseason, Hunter Pence's body seems to be starting to fall him on the field the last few seasons. He hasn't played a full, productive season since 2014 and approaching his age-35 season, it's tough to expect him improving all the much on last years .260/13/67/.704 slash line. That being said, he is under contract for another year so unless the Giants try and deal him, he should be back for one more go round in right field next season. Same with Denard Span. He too is entering his final year under contract and could be more easily dealt as he's coming off a fairly productive year and his price tag at $11M is more palatable than Pence's $19M. Span has lost a step in center field though too, so he's probably best suited to move to a corner at this stage, although if he stays in San Francisco, he'll likely be back in center field. However, If the Giants are going to deal one of the two, and I had to guess right now, it would be Span.

According to Bob Nightengale though, who's right on top of Giancarlo Stanton's situation, the Giants are the clear front-runners for the 28 year-old sluggers services and apparently the feeling is mutual as Stanton would very much enjoy heading west to play for the orange and black. Nightengale seems to believe that the Giants will end up with either Stanton or Martinez, with the meter tilting a little more towards Stanton because the Giants have the ability to take on that massive deal. Now he'd obviously be the number one target and the guy I think all Giants fans would want to bring in the most, but he's got a $200M contract, which he really is worth, but his drawback is he's played just 145+ games 3 times in his 8 year career. He's exactly the type of pure power bat the Giants need though, a guy that would not be intimidated hitting in a spacious home yard (as he proved in Miami) and someone who could allow you to go with more of a defensively minded option at third base. It hasn't been since Barry Bonds that the Giants had a player capable of hitting 40 jacks per year and even though they showed they didn't really need it in their championship years, I think the last few seasons has shown the game changing and that you have to have some power in your lineup no matter how good of pitching you have. Who better than the guy who's been the most dangerous hitter in the game over the last half-decade?

Aside from Stanton and Martinez as possible future left-fielders for the Giants, they also have to figure out what to do in center and right. If Pence and.or Span leaves it'll leave even more holes to fill, but also some possible upgrades. There is some depth in the outfield  free-agent market this winter and some options out there include.  Lorenzo Cain (speed/average/defense) and Jay Bruce (pure left-handed power) are both set to hit the market, but the guy I'd target, especially if Martinez/Stanton don't pan out, would  be Carlos Gonzalez. I believe CarGo still has some prime years left entering his age-32 season in '18, but is coming off an injury-plagued, off-year which should have at least a small impact on his market. He probably returns to Colorado, but. he's the type of bat the Giants could really use though if he's fully healthy. He too has some Bonds in his game, as he's patient, uses all fields and hits for power and average, can run and play "D", plus he's likely to come much cheaper than J.D. Martinez and probably even Lorenzo Cain. His numbers were certainly aided by playing at Coors Field, but he still put up some respectable numbers on the road. I don't know what kind of deal he'll be getting after his sub-par '17 season. He was an all-star just a year ago in '16 when he slashed .298/25/100/.855 preceded by a 40-HR campaign in '15.The guy can definitely still hit, but again, no long-term deal over maybe 3\three-years with a mutual option (preferably 2 with option), even if it is at around 17.5M per season.

The Giants had the likes of Nick Hundley and Jarrett Parker hitting in the middle of the order too many times last year. Heck, outside of Buster Posey, who had one of his worst run-production and power years to date, was the only guy suitable for the middle of order on last years team so they absolutely need another bat capable of driving in runs. CarGo seems like the next best FA/trade option after Stanton and Martinez. Whether or not he'd want to come here and hit for 81 games in this ballpark is something that may take some convincing but if they can put a solid enough product around him and prove they're still within striking distance of another World Series, it could help persuade him. After all, they do say "winning trumps everything". Problem is, this isn't the 2012 Giants and it's been a few seasons since they've been a real World Series threat.

Lorenszo Cain is another intriguing option although he'll probably get a huge deal with his ability to play center while coming off a career year offensively. While he'd look great in center, I feel like the Giants need more of a traditional power guy to insert into the outfield rather than an average/speed guy like Cain. Don't get me wrong, I think Cain is a terrific ballplayer, I just don't think he quite has the power to translate here and that's what the Giants need. He very well could hit .300+ with a lot of doubles and triples though so he's a guy to monitor for sure.

The Giants definitely need offense, and  there's going to be chances to land offense this offseasn, no doubt about it. What will be interesting is to see which  route they go. Do they stick it out and go young and hope to catch fire and maybe add during the season or go into full rebuild mode, or will they re-stock with some better talent. I hope, and I do anticipate them being is aggressive though. I don't see them waiting around until mid-December until they start filling out their roster. I expect them to act quickly and try and get at least one of their needs taken care of as soon as they possibly can. They know the fan base is hungry and has expectations and there would be no better way to ease those anxious fans than a trade for Giancarlo Stanton or a a signing of a player like CarGo before Thanksgiving. Again, I think we're in for a different looking Giants team in 2018, as the coaching staff shuffle-up has already shown, and I'm very excited to see what route they end up going.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My god if we could get Stanton I would be so ecstatic. Probably would have to give up Pence or Span to even out the money part though I'm guessing, as well as some prospects, but I'd do it for sure. The team needs a shakeup and this would be a big one. C'mon Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean and whoever else is making these decisions, time to stop being conservative and go for it. Posey-Stanton-Belt in the middle would be so much better than Posey-Pence-Belt. I would also be on board to bringing back Nunez to play third. So if they somehow could swing that, what would the lineup look like then?

    Span-Panik-Posey-Stanton-Belt-Nunez-Craw-Pence... Now that's a lineup, assuming Pence, Craw and Belt all rebound. I just hope like heck they don't leave a position open for one of their young players like Arroyo or Slater because I don't think those guys have come close to proving they're everyday big leagues. And if they are, Pence and Span are both gone next year so that would be the time to start implementing them.

  • At 1:24 AM, Anonymous Beat LA!!! said…

    Hell Yeah! Dodger lost, Dodgers lost... What chokers. The Giants better retake the NL West next year.

  • At 8:35 PM, Blogger ngocanhng said…

    Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know. Nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing.

  • At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    All I want for Christmas is Giancarlo Stanton and a serviceable centerfielder and thirdbasemen. They dont' have to be stars but just consistent. Then let Hunter and Span battle it out for RF! Id love a trade for Stanton for left, then sign Cain or Carlos Gomez from Texas for CF then try to either sign Moustakas or maybe another third basemen. I really think that would make the Giants conetenders cuz they have the pitching already and the closer so they just need some power and speed.

  • At 4:34 AM, Anonymous Timothy Kelly said…

    I'd be happy with Carlos Gomzez in center. He's fast and can hit a little and defend center. Who else can they get that can play center. I'm with you In that I don't love the idea of Lorenzo Cain for a ton of money and years when he's already 32 and won't make enough impact folks.

    This feels like it's going to be a strange offseason. I think its gonna be a either or situation where we will either make a lot of big changes or hardly any at all.

    What do you guys think? I've posted this same question at mccovey chronicles comments but they're too busy talking about pop culture and nonsense than actual baseball moves that we could be working out. Thanks for providing a site that stays on topic even in the comment section! Dont get me wrong though, love mccovey chron and grant is awesome just seems like nobody really has conversations in comment section it's just random thoughts about random things? Am I right or am I just still half asleep typing while my coffee finishes (currently 4:30 Am in Eureka right now).

  • At 12:25 AM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Timothy, I'm not sure I fully understand your question? Are you asking if the Giants are either going to do nothing or make wholesale changes this offseason? My guess would be neither. We could see a new center fielder, possibly a left fielder and third basemen, but If they did have to spend resources to get all three of those positions filled, they most likely have none left for any pitching help.

    So, while I do think the Giants are going to have a different look and maybe a new philosophy come 2018, their roster, in large part, should be pretty close to 2017's, obviously with a few changes. I hope like heck they could land Stanton and a legit center fielder, but that's going to take a ton of money/young prospects and would probably leave that as the only two significant moves. If that were the case I wouldn't call that a "major overhaul" but certainly a couple of huge upgrades. The core guys are still going to be around though (Pence, Posey, Bum, Cueto, Craw, Belt, Panik, Shark, Melancon and Stickland) Now, if they did somehow end up dealing away Belt, Melancon, Strickland and/or Shark, then thats when your talking major overhaul but I just don't see that going down this winter. Maybe Span moves, or if they get wowed with the right deal, Belt could be expendable as Posey's days of catching full-time are becoming numbered as he enters his age-31 season, but I certainly wouldn't bet on the Giants trading any of those core players I listed.


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