Surprise! New York City stole another Outfielder from the Giants + Where do they go from here?
An offseason defined by missed opportunities continued for the San Francisco Giants, as they saw Jay Bruce slip out of their grasp. The Giants have missed out on nearly all of the players that they have been linked to, so I am not sure why I am so surprised, and I really don’t know where they are going to go from here.
The Giants have been linked to Jay Bruce ever since he broke into the league, and rumor had it that San Francisco was where he wanted to play. He filled a need for the Giants, as they haven’t had a power-hitting outfielder of Bruce’s caliber in...a very long time. He ended up signing with the New York Mets for three years and $39 million.
That’s right, you read it correctly, the Giants lost their second power-hitting right fielder to the city of New York. According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Giants submitted a three-year deal to Bruce, but for less money than the Mets offered. He also said on Twitter that when Bobby Evans said that he was going to reach out to Bruce, it was too late in the game.
Now, having missed out on the two best power-hitting outfielders on the market, it’s fair to ask, Where do they go from here? Rumor has it that they would prefer trading for an established outfielder at this point, but I am extremely concerned about the prospects we would have to give away in order to get a good player. The team has shifted its’ focus to Pittsburgh Pirates’ star Andrew McCutchen, which, I mean, is great, I always wanted to see a collection of the best players from 2011-13. He proved this past season that he can still be a very productive player in the league, hitting 28 home runs, driving in 88 runs, and hitting .288. He has hit more than 20 homers in every year since 2011, and has finished in the top-5 of MVP voting on four separate occasions, and he won the award in 2013. He is a good defender, but he is also 31 years old, and adding him to an already-old roster just doesn’t feel right.
To be honest, I don’t know how to feel right now, I came into this offseason with so much optimism, thinking that Bobby Evans would bounce back from a couple sub-par offseasons to help revitalize this team. So far, the Giants’ only move has been to trade for Evan Longoria, who is an aging third baseman that is under contract until 2023, and had hit more than 20 homers in 9/10 big league seasons. My issue with him, is that he is 31 years old, just like Andrew McCutchen, and while us Giants fans want to reopen out window of contention, and extend it for as long as possible, but signing older players is not the way to do so.
Going back to McCutchen, I do think that the move makes the most sense of all potential options on the table at this moment, especially because I imagine he would cost less than younger options in terms of prospects. He also only has one year left on his deal, which means that if he will be motivated due to it being a contract year, and players tend to do better in contract years because of the drive to increase their value on the open market. He could also serve as a bridge to one of the Giants’ best young prospects, Stephen Duggar. While I personally would not be a fan of the move, mostly because my offseason has been soured by the lack of Giancarlo Stanton on my team, I think that it might be the smartest course of action for the team to take.
Another option is Billy Hamilton, who currently plays center field for the Cincinnati Reds, and is one of the fastest players in the league. The problem is, he is a career .248 hitter with 17 career home runs, which would not help the Giants in their quest for outfield power. He does have 243 stolen bases in five seasons, so that's cool too. I do not think that this is a good move to make, and it would cost more in terms of prospects than McCutchen would, and I don’t want to have to give away some of our top guys, most specifically Heliot Ramos. I think that he would basically just be a faster Gorkys Hernandez, and I really don’t want to watch more of that kind of play and see the Giants continue to get left in the dust of the rest of the league.
The Giants have also offered a contract to Carlos Gonzalez, a free agent outfielder from the Colorado Rockies, coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, and is looking to reestablish his value with a team before testing the market again next season. I actually think that this isn’t a half-bad idea, while many others think that it is. He does not have good career numbers at AT&T Park, but he has spent nearly his whole career in the NL West, and has familiarity against the division, and it would be a low-cost affair in which we would lose no prospects. He has the potential to hit over 20 home runs in any season, and could also be a nice bridge to a prospect like Duggar or Heliot Ramos.
Do I think that the Giants are going to land any of the names I talked about above? No, not really, but I just want them to do something to address their outfield needs. To be honest with you, I fully expect every one of the players I listed above to get close to joining the Giants, but ultimately get ripped away at the last second, just to add insult to injury. This offseason has been going incredibly slowly compared to years past, and frankly, I am bored with all the lack of action. I wish the Giants were going to contend this year, but if they continue to build a 2011 All-Star team, I am afraid that they’ll still be bad in a loaded NL West.
Though if they do go through with building the 2011 All-Star team, they better bring back Tim Lincecum and let him into the starting rotation.