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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Rumors: Giants looking into Jason Heyward, Josh Harrison

Immediately upon posting our last post a couple days ago, we finally got word of a significant trade rumor regarding the Giants. Finally something to ponder aside from whether or not Troy Tulowitzki wants to come here to be a super utility guy.

The talk out of Chicago according to the popular 'Fansided' baseball page, Call to the Pen, the Giants and Cubs have had discussions surrounding Jason Heyward, Will Smith and Mark Melancon. The thing with this one is I really don't get this move from the Giants prospective. From the Cubs prospective it makes all the sense in the world. They would get rid of arguably their biggest blunder of the last half decade while shedding some payroll and opening an outfield spot for a potential Bryce Harper signing. They also would really reinforce their bullpen with two plus relievers, both of which have closing experience and are coming off seasons in which they've proven their health. For the Cubs this deal has win-win-win potential but I don't see as many pluses on the Giants side.

Sure, parting with Melancon certainly makes some sense. He's approaching his mid-30's and is coming off a couple of injury-riddles campaigns but threw very well upon his return to action in 2018, and most importantly, stayed on the mound and avoided any further DL stints. The thing with him, however, is that if he is inserted back into the closer's role and has success, the Giants could bring in much heftier of a ransom at the deadline in July than anything they could potentially bring in this winter. A proven, healthy closer with an ERA down in the low-2's to high 1's is not easy to come by but Melancon has that ability. As far as Smith is concerned, that would be a tough one to part with after his incredible comeback season in 2018. He's only 29 years old and looks to have a bright future ahead of him still,so I would definitely be open to extending him if I were running the Giants. Sure he faded a bit in the end of the year, but he was the most consistent reliever on the team upon his return in May.

These are two, proven late-inning relievers and I think a package containing them could bring in some nice prospects. A soon-to-be 30 year-old Jason Heyward does not fit that bill. Heyward, despite his defensive prowess and incredible arm, has been one of the worst unproductive outfielders in baseball. Playing the last three years in a hitters paradise that is Wrigley Field, Heyward has put numbers akin to a defensive minding second basemen, or catcher, let alone a corner outfielder. It's scary to think what his numbers could shrink to if he's forced to play half his games in AT&T Park. With the same token though, watching him patrol right-center field would likely be very interesting as he could easily win a gold glove out there. The contract just doesn't make him appealing. This guy is owed over $20M through 2023. That's not a nice looking contract to be looming over a team likely headed for at least a few years of rebuilding.

One other name that has been linked to the Giants who very much fits along the lines of Tulo is former Pirate infielder Josh Harrison. He's a guy Mike Krukow is really pulling for the Giants to get as well. The 31 year-old is coming off a rough campaign in '18 as he slashed just .250/.293/.363 (.656 OPS) with eight jacks, 13 doubles and 37 RBI in 97 games. The 2-time NL all-star left a lot to be desired although injuries effected him and cut his season nearly in hafl. However, the year before, in 2017, the dynamic infielder was healthy and he was raking the baseball. Dude hit a respectable .272 while setting his career high for long balls with 16 HR, drove in 47 RBI, swiped a dozen bases and put up a very decent .773 OPS. In 2014 he finished 9th in the NL MVP voting by hitting .315 with an .837 OPS and 13 HR, 55 RBI and 19 swipes. The guy is a high energy player and I think he would bring much needed enthusiasm and grit to the Giants. I doubt the'd bring both Tulo and Harrison in but I would certainly be open to that. In fact, Harrison, IMO, is a better player than Joe Panik, so it's definitely something to eye here after the new year and see if the Giants indeed move forward with shaking some things up.

Extra: In a Giants mailbag questioning posted the today, there really wasn't anything earth shattering discussed. However, one name that I have kinda been sleeping on and had forgotten about is Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (pictured). The 27 year-old lefty has thrown eight quality seasons in the Japanese league for the Seibu Lions and has compiled an impressive 74-48 W/L record, to go along with a nice 2.81 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and and nice 8K/2.5BB per 9 inning ratio. His career year was in 2017 when he posted a 1.77 ERA, a 16-6 record to go along with a 0.91 WHIP and 217 punch-outs while allowing just 122 hits over 187 innings pitched. That's ridiculously dominant and with the success a lot of these Japanese pitchers have had in the 'Bigs, this would make a lot of sense. The fact he's just entering his prime and should continue to prosper for the next half decade or so makes him that much more intriguing... Now will the Giants sign him? Not likely, but he's the type of guy they should be pursuing if they indeed are planning on trying to add some talent before March.
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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10 Comments:

  • At 2:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ehhh, no no no on Heyward? WTF? I don't even get any idea why they would even think about that. Makes zero sense. He's a gold glover with a nice arm, but you can find plenty of top defensive outfielders who can hit a little better than Heyward and it would cost them a fraction of the money J-Hey gets. We don't need another 7 HR, light .250 hitting outfielder that will only cost them $23M every season for the next 5 years.

     
  • At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Gosh no on Jay Hey, what the hell are the possibly even thinking bringing this guys name up? He's one of the easiest outs in baseball and it would make no sense for the Giants who need hitters.

    Cant the Giants get a similar good defensive of'er who can't hit much for about 1/23 of the $23M Heyward is due over the next 5 years?

    This is a no no no all around. Even if they just gave us him, i'd say thank you but no.

     
  • At 11:12 PM, Anonymous T-Shyne said…

    LOL, I like how all the talk was about the Giants changing their way of thinking and building their team, yet here they are going after guys like Heyward and Harrison who don't fit the mold of what they wanted to do. I mean I guess Heyward is quick and athletic and good in the outfield but he cannot hit for crap.

    I think by now i'd like to see them just rebuild. Trade away Bum and Belt and try and get some good young prospects close to ML ready and start building aroud them.

    Im over all this trying to add some old veterans to the team to hope it pushes them over the edge when the giants haven't been close to being world series level team since 2014.

     
  • At 10:24 PM, Blogger SFGiants Blogger said…

    I'd be perplexed if they trade for Heyward as I just don't see where the Giants would benefit from it. THis guy hasn't put together a decent offensive showing since 2015 when he he slashed .297/.359/.459. On top of that he knocked out a modest 13 long balls but had 33 doubles (career high), 23 steals (career high). He also won a his 4th gold glove in RF and finished in the top-15 in the NL MVP voting.

    Unfortunately ever since, he's been way below average offensively, as his power has declined each year drastically. He still gets on base but his average fluctuates between about .250=.280 so that's not a necessarily a strength. Basically, he's a $20M+/year guy who'll hit you about 10-15 jacks, swipe some bases and rock and OPS around .750. If he were a gold glove center fielder then maybe that price tag would be easier to take on, but for a corner guy, he just doesn't have the bat, especially at his price tag.

    Only way I'd be willing to take him is if the Cubbies took back Samardzija and Melancon and either ate about half his yearly salary or threw in a couple of their high-end prospects.

    Heyward at $10M/year would be worth it IMO, just because he'd probably be the best defensive RF'er to ever play RF since the Giants opened AT&T Park and maybe getting out of Chicago and getting to play everyday would ease some pressure off him and get him closer to where he was when he broke in with Atlanta.

     
  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger SFGiants Blogger said…

    As for Harrison, he would make a lot of sense since the Giants missed out on Tulo, however, he's not coming at the ML minimum like Tulo did.

    He's one year removed from his 2nd best year in his career in '17 earning his only all-star appearance, plus he's got versatility to play all over the diamond and some outfield and he plays everything pretty well.

    If the Giants end up dealing Joe Panik this winter, I'd be content with Harrison taking over 2nd base, and if not, at the right price of course, having him as your super utility guy and top bench asset wouldn't be all that bad an idea. Would the Giants offer him the 2-3 years @ $5M-6M per, which seems to be the going rate for proven utility types who are starting caliber players? With the team as is I'd say no. They just have too many holes and that's a significant amount of money to throw at someone who wouldn't be playing everyday.

    Again though, if Panik is dealt, which I would not be opposed to at all, then it would make a lot more sense.

     
  • At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    LOL I like how there is such little Giants news this winter that a singing of a utility guy who's never really done crap in the bigs or in the minors for that matter, is one of the biggest stories of the winter thus far!?

    WTF is Zaidi's plan? Obviously it looks like were not going to be going after the Harpers or Machado type players in trade or free agency and they have so many needs that they should probably try and sell off some of their assets and go into 2019 as their first real year in rebuild mode. The longer they keep adding guys on deals like they gave Melancon a couple years ago or trading for guys like McCutchen and veternas who aren't cheap just doesn't make any sense for them at this point?

    That can all change though if they somehow got Chicago to take Samardzija and Melancon back in a deal for Heyward while also making them eat half of his deal, then go on to sign Harper and maybe and Adam Jones or Marwin Gonzo for left field. Then maybe sign Wade Miley to be that starter behind MadBum-DRod-Suarez, this team isn't going anywhere in 2019. Seeing as inking all those players, even getting rid of Melancon and Shark's contracts, would still push them over the tax threshold.

     
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