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Friday, December 08, 2017

Giants moving forward without Stanton, Ohtani

A week ago it looked like there was at least a halfway decent shot at the Giants potentially landing both Giancarlo Stanton and Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani. Had they gotten both, or even one, it would have rejuvinated the city and certainly the roster, but unfortunately GM Bobby Evans reported Friday that they are indeed out of the running for both player's services.

I can't say I'm shocked at either piece of news, even though the Giants were considered one of a handful of finalists for each player. With Stanton, they had the huge contract as a hurdle, but ultimately it was Stanton's unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause to head to Northern California, holding out hope a trade to one of his preferred teams. He's made no secret that the Dodgers would be his first choice, which would be icing on the cake to the Giants missing out on him. On Friday, the Marlins released a list of four teams he would accept a trade to. Aside from LA, he would be open to joining the Cubs, Yankees and reigning world champion Houston Astros, but none of those teams have been heavily in on Stanton this offseason, at least publicly. A trade to any of them before the 2018 season would seem unlikely though unless one of these teams decide to take advantage of their leverage. That list has certainly tied the Marlins hands and put the ball squarely in one of those four teams court.

Right now, all of Stanton's preferred destinations are pretty set in their respective outfields. Even though he's one of the best pure power hitters in the game, none of the four teams will be desperate to add him (as the Giants and Cardinals so clearly were).

Stanton wasn't the only player targeted by the Giants this winter who essentially told the Giants they wouldn't be joining them for the 2018 season as pitcher/outfielder Shohei Ohtani chose the Los Angeles Angles as the team he'll be joining in the United States. Now this one is a little bit easier to swallow than the Stanton spurning. Ohtani, as with any player coming for another county, is not yet a proven big leaguer and is essentially a super-prospect at this time. Chances are that he'll end up a quality major leaguer and may pioneer a new way of using pitchers that can also hit at the big league level, but he wasn't going to be that impact bat in a lineup that Stanton could have been and although the Giants starting rotation sputtered in 2017 (mostly due to injuries and a bizarre off-year from Matt Moore), that's still the one area that management feels most confident in with this squad. I didn't discuss Ohtani much here this winter because I really never thought the Giants would land him whereas I at least thought that had halfway decent odds at prying Stanton away from Miami.

With all the latest news coming out, it makes me wonder if Stanton was stringing the Giants and Cardinals along the whole time with no interest in either team but to get the Cubs and Dodgers into the mix as those four teams are fierce division rivals with one another (Cubs/Cards in NL Central and Giants/Dodgers in the West). Regardless though, moral of the story is that neither intriguing option will be in the orange and black next spring, which now poses a huge question to Giants management; where do they go from here?

They'll likely delve back into the free agent market and revisit the top hitters on that list such as Jay Bruce, J.D. Martinez, and possibly even former Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (although Gonzalez has not been mentioned by or linked to the team in any way). Reports had the Giants linked to both Bruce and Martinez earlier in the offseason before the Stanton situation really started heating up over the last few weeks, but let's face it, neither of those guys would bring anywhere near the impact as the reigning NL MVP and Home Run king. Martinez would probably be choice number one of the two, because he's a better all-around hitter and his right-handed bat would be more conducive to his power staying prevalent while playing 81 games per summer in the pitching friendly confines of AT&T Park. That being said, I do think that Bruce has the power to succeed at AT&T Park, but some of those cheap home runs he's had over the years in Cinci and New York may wind up being two-baggers instead of round-trippers. Martinez would still have a shot at 40+ HR per year, in my opinion.

I am surprised CarGo hasn't gotten more attention. I know he's coming off a down year and has been injury prone in the past, but two of his previous three seasons were all-star level years and if this guy's healthy, he's a 30+ HR, 100+ RBI threat with a .288 career average and .857 career OPS. I'm not saying he should be their prized target, but if they could get the 32 year-old on a one-year, "prove yourself" deal along with someone like Martinez, that would really add some depth to this lineup. Although it would mean Denard Span would be the primary center fielder again in 2018 which I think the team is trying to avoid if at all possible.

If it came down to the Giants insisting on bringing in either Bruce or Martinez, obviously I would much prefer Martinez, even if he's going to command more money than Bruce. Again, he's not the impact bat Stanton would have been, but he's the closest thing to the Marlins masher than any other free agent/trade option and if the Giants indeed continue their pursuit of improving their 2018 roster, the 30-year old outfielder should be at the top of their list. However, with the latest turn of events, the Giants could do decide to stand pat and make 2018 a "show me what you got" season for their young in-house players. They could maybe add a couple second-tiere outfielders to help deepen what was one of the worst units in baseball in 2017, in attempt to just stay relevant and then try again next offseason. I know every Giants fan is certainly hoping that doesn't become the case, but if J.D. Martinez, who's now arguably the biggest position player available via trade or free agency and has leverage, is demanding a ridiculously high price in the neighborhood of $20-25M per season for 5 years, I doubt the Giants would go that high on a guy who's hit over 23 home runs in just 2 of his 7 seasons in the bigs'. Granted, he does sorta has that Jose Bautista-type vibe going for him in that he looks like he's getting better with age and certainly his power seems to be inclining the last few years, but betting on that continuing to happen well into his mid-thirties as it did with Bautista is a risky wager.

So again, as we stand now, on December 18th 2017, I repeat for probably the fourth or fifth time on this blog since the season ended and that is the fact that I still have no idea what this Giants team is going to look like come March? Will they stay quiet and make some under-the-radar moves just to add depth to their roster and hope guys like Hunter Pence, Denard Span and Pablo Sandoval all revert to the players they were 3-5 years ago, or will they take a plan B approach and full on pursue one of these free-agent outfielders? Or they could potentially revisit another trade scenario, perhaps for a guy like Andrew McCuthchen who has been discussed on a number of Giants' media outlets from KNBR and NBC Sports Bay Area to online sources like McCovey Chronicles and even our site last month when we first got wind of the chatter.

I've always been a big McCutchen fan, but like with any other bat not named Stanton, I just don't see he alone being the answer to the offensive woes. He's now on the wrong side of thirty, and his speed has deteriorated some, resulting in a drop of his batting average and defensive prowess in the outfield, though he did slash a strong .279/28/88/.859 with 11 swipes in 2017 after a major down year in 2016. On the pro's side, he'd be an upgrade over any Giants outfielder they currently have though, even if Pence has a big bounce back in 2018 like he's plotting. Also, PNC Park plays somewhat similar to AT&T Park in terms of being a little more friendly to pitchers than hitters, yet McCutchen has put up MVP caliber season after season playing in that yard which means his offense shouldn't suffer if he did come over to play at AT&T. Finally he could also allow Bochy the flexibility to move Span into a corner outfield role and possibly platoon him him with Hunter Pence in right or Austin Slater in left (if they don't bring in an additional corner outfielder).

So yeah, I'd take McCutchen for 2018, but the question is would he be worth parting with a couple of high-end prospects for just one guaranteed year of his services (free agent after '18 season)? The Giants may not think so and I'm not so sure I'd blame them. If he could be had for a couple of prospects outside of Tyler Beede, Heliot Ramos or Chris Shaw though, I think I'd pull that trigger.

I could go on forever about possibilities, and the negatives and positives each possibility consists of, but I'm going to cut the post here because I do expect the Giants to do one of two things over the next week or so, and certainly before Christmas and the new year rolls in. They're either going to go hard at another free agent or two and/or re-visit other potential trade options, or they're going to stay completely quiet, and wait until January to kind of go through the scrap heap and find any players that may be able to help them in 2018.

If they don't find any options they feel are suitable upgrades to their outfield and possibly third base, then we'd be looking at perhaps the first full-on rebuilding season in San Francisco in close to a decade as players like Austin Slater, Chris Arroyo, Ryder Jones and Chris Shaw etc. will be forced into ample playing time and be given plenty of chances to show what they got. Reports coming out about the teams interest in re-visiting Martinez and Bruce suggest they're still going forward with full attempts to upgrade the roster, but it's going to take more than slotting one of those guys into left field to turn this 98-loss team around and the Giants' brass has to know that.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Jason BIllingsley said…

    Fu(K Stanton.. why would he choose to stay with a loser rather than get traded to a team with 3 tittles in the last 8 years and still a core in their prime in-tact. Plus SF is like a 90 min flight from his home town of LA which he so desperately wants to be in. That's close enough to fly home on off-days and I thought SF would be it if LA didn't make a push, which they didnt. I know they're coming off a bummer season but c'mon, most of that was due to injury. Maybe he see's the Giants roster and isn't impressed, outside of Posey and the pitching, but he shoulda realized that thats where he coulda came in and put em over the top. I hope he's stuck in Miami the rest of his career and they never appear in a playoff game. If he gets traded to LA I will literally be sick to my stomach and the Giants should really consider the full blown rebuild in that case cuz nobody would be challenging LA in the West for the next half decade at least with that mix of valuable vets and star young players.

    Tough day for Giants though, maybe they can still salvage this offseason, but I'm sooo less optimistic about the 2018 Giants than I was a week ago. I really thought they'd get him, and maybe even the japanese star too. Oh well, feels like Lunatic Fringe all over again, I'm tellin ya.


  • At 6:31 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    I feel ya JB, I don't think I expected him to come aboard quite as much as you did but I did think there was a halfway decent chance, especially after he re-posted that tweet from Hunter Pence the other day asking him to #ComeBashinTheBay. Also, I didn't mention it in the post, but the Giants and Marlins had a deal in place and Stanton would have been a Giant today, I believe, had he decided to waive the no-trade. I mean, yeah, he would have been fun to have and woulda brought new excitement to the city, but he's not all positive. He's missed a lot of time over the years with injury and although he's gonna hit 40-50 HR's in a full season, sometimes his average is down aorund .250 which makes him a less than average hitter when he isn't leaving the yard. His presence alone changes the lineup though and that's what the Giants were going for.

    I don't know where they go from here, as I said, but the Giants have smart people making their personnel decisions and I expect they had some complacency plans in place knowing that they had a less than 50/50 chance of getting him. I just don't know whether those plans were to pursue the next best options or pull all their chips off the table and stay quiet this offseason with an eye toward next winter and only time will tell.... Don't jump off the ledge yet though Giants fans, there's still plenty of offseason left and even though it won't be Stanton, one or two right moves could have this team back in the playoff mix next summer... We just gotta wait this thing out and see what Bobby Evans and Sabes have up their sleeves.

  • At 8:25 PM, Anonymous GiantsFanatic'93 said…

    Hey, at least the Giants had the balls to actually go after these guys, and woulda probably gotten both if either of them wanted to come to SF. Like it said, there was a deal in place and the Marlins and Giants had agreed so it was up to Stanton. Same with Ohtani, Giants were first team to interview him so obviiously they were serious so you can't blame them. It's just too bad the Marlins gave Stanton that no-trade clause when they probably didn't have to, considering they gave him over a 1/3 of a billion dollar deal. It's really the prior Marlins ownership/front-office fault that this deal didn't happen. I think Stanton wouldn't have minded coming here if he didn't have the choice but since he can hold out for one of his first choices, he probably just figured he'd wait it out and if Marlins really wanted him out they'll find a way to work with the 4 teams he's trying to get on.

    Kudos to the Giants for trying, just wasn't meant to be and like Trevor said, I just always had the feeling it wasn't going to happen, even when they seemed so close a few days back. And the Giants never, ever, ever end up singing foreign players to big league deals even though they always seem instrested so I'm not surprised they finished short on Otani too. Rought breaks but maybe we can get lucky and lure JD Martinez over here and trade for a good third-sacker, like what about Evan Longoria? or even that Shaw guy from Millwaukee or Maikel Franko from Philly? I'd take any of those three at third with Martinez in left, would be a much better offense. They can still get some quality players, so don't freak out people, just cause no one single player will be as good as Stanton, they can still make a winning team. We gotta hold out hope!


  • At 9:18 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Agreed 100% Fanatic, the Giants did go all out for Stanton, so you cannot blame this one on them one bit. I mean, maybe the fact that they lost 98 games last year and Stanton doesn't see them as being a perennial contender right now had something to do with it, but as far as their efforts to make a deal, they obviously met the Marlins steep demands, and it was Stanton that decided not to let the trade go through.

    This kind of hints to me that if they went that hard after Stanton, they don't have any plans on standing pat and trying to rebuild from within in 2018, so if I were to guess, I'd bet that they will indeed make a strong play for Martinez or look back into the trade market for another power hitting option. Longoria is interesting although he's got a big deal himself and has been far from outstanding the last few seasons despite playing in one of the most hitter friendly yards in the American League. Still, if it didn't cost them Beede or Ramos, I'd be open to shipping Chris Shaw and maybe Christian Arroyo to Tampa for Longoria. However, he alone is not going to change the outlook of this lineup so they'd still need another strong bat to put in the outfield somewhere. But yes, there are still options and scenarios that could help the Giants return to contention in '18, it's just Stanton was so sought after by them cuz he's one of the only guys who, by himself with no other additions, could have made that lineup a contender. They could have stuck with SPan/Pence in right and a more defensive oriented center fielder and third basemen if they had Stanton in left, but it's all moot now.

    I'm still excited to see what the plan of attack is over the next couple weeks though, don't count them out just yet!

  • At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Am I the only one that doesn't see what's so great about Tyler Beede? He was terrible in Sac last season, walking almost 4 batters per 9 and only K'ing 6 per 9. That's not good numbers plus he had a hella high ERA I forget off the top of my head but I know it was around 5 or over 5.00. That's not untouchable numbers too me and he's already gonna be 25 at the start of the next season too so it's not like he's a 20 year old kid just entering pro ball like Ramos is. I get why he's so raved about but Beede seriously has been kind blah since the Giants drafted him.

    The only guy in that proposed Stanton tradee I woulda had issue with was Helio Ramos cuz that kid's 17/18 years only and looks like the real deal hollyfield. Shaw looks good too but he's gotta play 1b OR dH IN MAJORS i think so unless G'Men trade Belt, they wont have a spot for him cuz his bat is ready for 2018 I think.

    Cool site though man, just found it through twitter its my first visit and I'm gonna start reading your stuff on the regular. Better and longer than the 100-word articles the Giants head writers end up putting out on SFGiants.com and NBC Sports Bay Area website Giants blogs. This and McCovey Chron. are now my two everyday checks bcuz you and Grant seem to be ontop of things and offer more insight and comparisons and options out there than the MLB.com guys. You guys are right up there with Andrew Baggarly and Alex Pavlovic stuff and way better than that hack Chris Haft. One of you or Grant could and should take over Chris Hafts job please!

  • At 4:13 AM, Anonymous Fast Eddie said…

    Stanton might just be my least favorite player in the game now, taking the place of that clown in LA Yasiel Puig. What a piece of Shit leading the team on like that for weeks knowing he never really would come here. The Giants should be pissed off right about now and this should make any team not want to go through the hassle of trying to get this guy cuz he seems like a tool.,, Just hoping the Giants planned for this and have another plan ready to take place cuz I really don't want to see the same exact 100 loss team again next season. C'mon Evans, just regroup and go get Martinez and trade for a center fielder and third basemen and we'll be better off than just getting Stanton and that's it. Blessing in disguise Giants fans. Hope Michel piece of crap Stanton pulls a hammy and misses two months on opening day. I kid I kid, i would never wish harm or injury on a baseball player or athlete who supports their family, but I really hope the guy has a piss poor year at least and ends up kicking himself in the arse cuz he decieded he was too good for San Fran. Screw you Mike Stanton thanks for ruining Giants Christmas!

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