San Francisco Giants Offseason Preview + Wish List
After an incredibly disappointing season, the San Francisco Giants enter the offseason looking to add pieces in an attempt to reopen their championship window. The Giants’ brain trust came out recently to talk to the media about the team’s needs. They identified Center Field, Left Field, Third Base, and the Bullpen as the areas that needed an immediate upgrade. The Giants are unlikely to spend a lot of money in free agency, and are more likely to try and pull of a trade or two in order to get the pieces they desire. This offseason should get pretty crazy, especially because the Miami Marlins were sold to a group headlined by Derek Jeter. The Marlins are looking to clear salary space and build a team from the ground up, which means many of their current players are available via trade.
The most coveted played on the Marlins is Giancarlo Stanton, 2017’s leader in home runs. Giancarlo has hit 267 home runs so far in his eight-year career, while also hitting .268 with an OBP of .360. The idea of having Giancarlo Stanton patrolling right field would have any team frothing at the mouth, but unfortunately, a trade for Stanton would not only require giving up a lot of prized assets, but also committing to eat up the majority of what is left of his 13 year/$325,000,000 contract, which is a huge commitment. That kind of money being added to the books would take away from being able to sign other players for the next decade. The contract has scared off many teams, but as of right now, there are three teams that appear willing to take on the luxury tax. Those three teams happen to include the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, and the St. Louis Cardinals.
My thoughts on the three teams that appear to be in the race are that the Giants and Cardinals need Stanton to address their offensive woes in the outfield, which have plagued both teams for years. The Giants have been especially thin in the outfield, and if they add Stanton, that would allow for more rest for key players like Hunter Pence and Denard Span, who are getting older and would greatly benefit from more frequent rest. The Red Sox’s interest in Stanton doesn’t make much sense to me. Of course they would benefit from adding Stanton, because, who wouldn’t, but Boston has a full outfield of young above-average players. I think the Giants make the most sense, but I do not see them being able to pull of a trade of this caliber, primarily because of the massive contract. I think the Cardinals will ultimately end up landing Giancarlo Stanton because they have a much better farm system than the Giants, which could give the new ownership group in Miami a foundation to build upon.
The Giants have also been linked to players like Jason Heyward and Jackie Bradley Jr. Both are interesting options, and I think they both have different upsides. Jason Heyward has won a gold glove in five of the last six seasons, and has a career .397 BA at AT&T Park, with an OBP of .479. However, as good as his numbers have been in San Francisco, he hasn’t hit a home run there since 2012, and the Giants want to upgrade their power from the outfield. Jackie Bradley Jr. is much younger than Heyward, but has not hit as well has Heyward to this point in his career. He has a career BA of .239, which is lower than Heyward's’ .262, but Bradley Jr. makes a lot less money than Heyward, which means the Giants would have more spending room for third base and the bullpen. I think that Bradley Jr. makes more sense for the Giants because he plays a gold glove caliber Center Field, which is an incredible upgrade over Denard Span, who was the worst defensive Center Fielder in 2017. The Giants also have a very promising Center Field prospect waiting in the wings names Steven Duggar, who is hitting .279 with a .383 OBP in the Arizona Fall League. He is a very promising young player who could force his way onto the big league roster with a strong spring training.
The bullpen is an area where the Giants need to change. Last season saw Mark Melancon, a big name free agent acquisition perform poorly, and other relievers like Derek Law, and Josh Osich struggled as well. While the bullpen saw a lot of turnover and rearrangement during last season, a few guys stepped up and proved themselves worthy of a roster spot in 2018. Sam Dyson rebounded after being terrible with the Rangers in the beginning of the season, to be very serviceable for the Giants. Another guy who emerged from the fray was Kyle Crick, who was called up to eat up some innings and gain experience, and he would go on to pitch 32.1 innings with a 3.06 ERA. The Giants could clearly benefit from adding some top level middle relievers or set up men. Guys like Bryan Shaw, or Steve Cishek could be very useful for the Giants, and help preserve the arms of the starting pitchers, which I think is very important, especially for guys like Madison Bumgarner, who has thrown more than 200 innings in seven of his 9 big league seasons.
Lastly, a position the team needs to clearly address is third base. The team needs to add some power, as they ranked last in the MLB in home runs in 2017 with 128. Third base is a clear place where they can add a power hitter. Guys like Todd Frazier and Mike Moustakas are both free agents, and could both make an impact in San Francisco. Todd Frazier has hit double-digit homers in seven straight seasons, but is going to be 32 years old this season. Mike Moustakas is coming off of the best season of his career. He hit 38 home runs, 14 of which be a home run in every ballpark. 33 of his homers would still be homers in AT&T park, according to hittrackeronline.com. I think that the best option at third base is clearly Mike Moustakas, but he will require a large contract, and it will be interesting to see how involved the Giants are with him. The Giants also still have Pablo Sandoval on a minor league contract, and he could be a very useful presence off the bench if he is able to come into spring training in-shape and have a productive spring.
It will be very interesting to see how the offseason plays out. I know that the Giants have to make a major move, and it will be interesting to see what kind of move it is. In general, the Giants go after aging veterans who they think have a couple productive years left, who they can scoop up for cheap, but the front office definitely understand what is at stake this offseason, especially if they are complacent and don’t land any big name offensive players.
In an ideal world, the Giants would manage to get Giancarlo Stanton to take over Right Field, and land Mike Moustakas to play the hot corner. I know that it is very unlikely that we get both, or one of them, but this is my wish list. I think that we could add one mid-level reliever and see how the rest of the bullpen can bounce back, and use most of their available resources to upgrade the offense to compete with the Dodgers, Rockies, and Diamondbacks.