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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


  • At 8:06 AM, Blogger Gary Orlando said…

    Carlos Gonzales. NO no no no no

  • At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Carlos GOnzalez on a 1 or 2 year deal with hella incentives wouldn't be bad IMO. That guy would be there best hitter if he's back to normal next season.

  • At 5:42 AM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    How about trade for McCutchen and sign Carlos Gomez? Play AM in left and CG in center and their lineup would be so much better next year as would the defense. it would fit win now mentality.

  • At 6:46 PM, Blogger ngocanhng said…

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