by Dr Lefty
Twenty-five years ago yesterday, Barry Bonds signed a free-agent deal with the San Francisco Giants for what was then the biggest contract in baseball history. That moment transformed a franchise, built a ballpark, and gave us a lot of amazing memories.
On the anniversary of that significant date, the Giants fell short on obtaining not one but two prime offseason targets, coming close enough to get fans’ (and Hunter Pence’s) hopes up but obviously not close enough to make it happen.
Ah, well. Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton are both apparently headed for the American League, and it’s time for us to move on. @MLBJesus had some thoughts about Stanton to the Yankees (bear in mind He’s a Mets fan).
Once a Yankee, always a Yankee… Right, Derek?
— MLB Jesus (@MLBJesus) December 9, 2017
And this one. Pretty salty for Jesus, I must say.
Don't worry @Marlins fans… Jeter is sending you all gift baskets for f-ing you with the Stanton trade.
— MLB Jesus (@MLBJesus) December 9, 2017
At the end-of-season presser, Bobby Evans stressed three priorities for the winter. None of them were connected to the above targets. They were:
- An upgrade in centerfield
- An everyday third baseman
- Help for the bullpen
Now, we can argue that they need more (um, hello? Power bats?), but this is what the main guy said were their priorities, and having swung and missed on Ohtani and Stanton (but props to them for trying), it makes sense to turn our attention to possibilities for those three important goals. I’ll throw a few ideas out there, and you can add more in the comments. (Ryan, or whoever you are now, I’m counting on you, buddy.)
For this discussion, I’m only raising external options. We all know what the internal ones are already. I’m pulling the free-agent possibilities from this source. I’m not as savvy about trade possibilities, so again, weigh in below.
Possible scenario: Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez (gotta keep up with the rivals and their Stanton/Judge combo); Giants trade for Jackie Bradley Jr. This would likely be an expensive get, and might cost the Giants Belt or Panik. Maybe Arroyo or Shaw (who did play college ball in Boston).
More likely scenario: Giants trade for Billy Hamilton.
No, please no: Giants sign Lorenzo Cain to a free-agent deal.
Other possibilities: Giants trade for Christian Yelich or Kevin Kermaier or sign a stopgap free agent. The list of free agent possibilities includes Carlos Gomez (please, no), Rajai Davis, Cameron Maybin, Ben Revere, Jarrod Dyson, and a bunch of other real schmoes (including, believe it or not, Andre Ethier, who’s listed as CF–I know he played there occasionally, but…really?).
Easiest/best scenarios: Giants sign Todd Frazier or Eduardo Nunez to a free-agent deal.
Worst scenario: Giants sign Mike Moustakas to a free-agent deal.
Interesting but highly unlikely scenarios: Giants trade for free-agent-to-be Manny Machado or Josh Donaldson.
Well, for this one, it depends if they’re targeting a lefty specialist in particular (e.g., Jake McGee) or “best available” (e.g., Brandon Morrow or Wade Davis).
Possible scenarios: There are a ton. If you look at the free-agent tracker I linked above, there are a lot of veteran relievers on the market, from Joaquin Benoit to Trevor Rosenthal to Tyler Clippard to Pat Neshek and on and on. I assume that since the Giants already have a pricey closer and a backup (Sam Dyson), they’re looking for more of a complementary piece, and one of the many veterans available can fill that role in various ways. Me, I think they need a lefty. We don’t know how quickly Will Smith will bounce back and how he’ll be after TJ surgery. He’s a big question mark, as is Melancon. I’ve seen enough of Osich and Okert to conclude I’ll never believe in either of them, and Osich in particular could just go away and not be missed. He’s the Mike Kickham of relief pitchers in my brain.
OK, what about that power bat?
Marty Lurie has it figured out, I guess.
The dust is settling here's what I think..Giants will sign Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce…JD Martinez goes to Boston now that Stanton is considering NYY..Jackie Bradley becomes expendable & comes to SFG for Beede/Shaw..can't play '18 W/Gorkys platoon in CF..Arizona sun is warm..
— Marty Lurie (@baseballmarty) December 9, 2017
OK, not as sexy as Stanton and Ohtani, but that’s not terrible. Bruce is a lefty but he’s hit well at AT & T Park (.293/.357/.526/.882, 7 HRs in 130 plate appearances). Plus he’s connected to one of the more epic battles in Giants postseason history.
Frazier still has a good glove at 3B (one of the best in the majors last year, per Fangraphs), hits for power, and is supposed to be a great clubhouse guy. Going into his age-32 season, he won’t command a super-long deal and wouldn’t block Arroyo for too long (if Arroyo’s the future at that position, which he may not be). JBJ would be a huge defensive upgrade, and he can hit some and for power, too.
One good thing about the Giants right now–almost anyone’s an upgrade. I know I’m struggling for a silver lining, though…
The Winter Meetings happen this week, so perhaps we’ll have some progress on who the Giants will obtain. Watch this space for breaking news!
To ClutchUp and the Chef–hang in there, guys; we’re thinking of you. To Bapah, Rob Deer, Pacman, and other SoCal folks–be safe. To TF62–hang in there with Snowmageddon 2017.
P.S. Also to the couple of you who had to say goodbye to beloved pets this week. I know how much that hurts, too.
Everyone else: Enjoy your Saturday. No ladders for you, Matthew. Lefty out.