As I’m sure you’re aware, Thanksgiving is over here in the U.S., and “Black Friday” holiday shopping is well underway. In fact, I hope I’m not too late with this letter to get your full attention in this busy season. (I got a little distracted with watching the 49ers on Thanksgiving evening.) I’m writing not only on my own behalf as a San Francisco Giants fan but also for my dear friends and colleagues* from Together We’re Giants, the best fan blog in the business.
We’ve been good fans. We’ve tried to be, anyway. The last couple of seasons of Giants baseball have been hard to hang with sometimes. I myself went to spring training in March, to Opening Day at Oracle Park in April, and to see the Giants play the Cubs at Wrigley Field over Labor Day. But if you really want to reward a great Giants fan, look no further than Surf Maui, who attended over 40 Giants games in person in 2023, or Vintage62 and Andres the Forever Giant, both of whom routinely wipe the floor with the rest of us in Immaculate Grid (OK, and a hat-tip to Totalfan62, who’s also really good at the Grid).
We’ve also suffered greatly. Need I go back to about a year ago, when we for about nine minutes thought the Giants were signing Aaron “Arson” Judge? (I will never forgive Jon Heyman or Susan Slusser for that one, but I digress.) Oh, and then we actually got an email about season tickets with Carlos Correa’s picture on it, before learning that we were getting a lump of coal in our stocking** instead of a superstar last Christmas. And then there are the ghosts of Christmas past, like Jon Lester (2014), Zack Greinke (2015), Shohei Ohtani (2017), Giancarlo Stanton (2017), and Bryce Harper (2018)***, all of whom said “No, thank you” to signing with or being traded to the Giants.
Anyway, having made my case as to why we deserve some extra consideration this holiday season, without further ado, I’ll present my Christmas wish list, SF Giants version.
- A really good starting pitcher. Some of my colleagues here at TWG might protest that something else, like “hitting” or “defense,” should be at the top of the list, but, well, this is my list, and I’ve earned my platform by dint of writing weekly Out of Left Field columns for going on seven years now. So allow me to explain my thinking. The quickest road back to respectability for the Giants, which in my book means actually winning a playoff series for the first time since 2014, is through a reliable and excellent starting rotation. The Giants already have an ace in Logan Webb, one who just finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting. They have a rising young star in Kyle Harrison, who hopefully will be paired with Webb at the top of their rotation for years to come. And they have a steady veteran presence in Alex Cobb, who made his first All-Star team as a Giant this past year. But we can’t put too much pressure on Harrison, who will still be a rookie, and Cobb will be out until at least June following hip surgery. There are some decent back-of-the-rotation options in-house, including Keaton Winn, Tristan Beck, Anthony DeSclafani, Ross Stripling, and some AA/AAA prospects (Kai-Wei Teng, Mason Black, Carson Whisenhunt, Landon Roupp, etc.) who could factor in pretty quickly. But we really could use one more Guy. I can think of a lot of good possibilities, including free agents Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, or Marcus Stroman. I don’t know if you have any influence on trades, Santa, but Tyler Glasnow or Corbin Burnes could also work beautifully. I have my favorites from these lists, but I’m not super picky. It doesn’t have to be the most popular gift item of the season to make me happy.
- A legitimate and reliable centerfielder. Santa, would you believe it if I told you that in 2023, a young man named Brett Wisely made his major league debut in center field on Opening Day for the Giants–and that it was the first time he’d played CF in his professional career? And that other rookies named Luis Matos, Wade Meckler, and Tyler Fitzgerald also played CF for the Giants, along with Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater? (To be fair, Yaz is pretty good out there, but he’s a Gold-Glove-caliber right fielder, and that’s where he really should play, and not Michael “DH” Conforto.) The last really good CF for the Giants was Andres Torres in 2010, and that’s a long time to wait for another one, Santa. Over the years I’ve watched other teams with great defensive CFs and just wanted to cry with envy. So, please, I’d like Cody Bellinger or Jung Hoo Lee****. And if that’s too much to ask, I’ll take a next-tier guy like Kevin Kiermaier (he has nice blue eyes). I’m open to other suggestions, as long as (a) he’s a real CF, not an imaginary one, and (b) he plays good-to-elite defense.
- A new hitter. Again, I’m not super picky about this one. If Farhan Zaidi wants to reunite Matt Chapman with Bob Melvin, I could live with that. Chapman isn’t much of an offensive upgrade over 3B incumbent J.D. Davis, but he’d be a huge defensive upgrade, and, well, the Giants need defensive upgrades, too (see “centerfielder,” above). If Zaidi wants local guy Rhys Hoskins on a short-term deal, I’m not so attached to LaMonte Wade Jr. at 1B that I wouldn’t listen. And if the Padres want to dump Juan Soto’s contract but don’t want to serve him to the Dodgers on a platter, I say they can have anyone except Webb, Harrison, or Patrick Bailey in a trade package. The bottom line, Santa, is that the Giants were just so darn mediocre all around the diamond last year that there are many ways to upgrade. You could be creative here and surprise us. Surprises are fun!
From careful scrutiny of my requests, I hope you’ll notice that I’m not asking for the moon here. Sure, I’d like Ohtani to become a Giant, but I understand that every holiday season, some toys are in exceptionally high demand. I’m trying to be reasonable in my wish list.
Here’s what we don’t want, though. Even if it is still Thanksgiving weekend (when leftovers are in abundance), we don’t want Leftovers this time. That’s what we got last year, and they were stale and tired and got moldy really fast. Nor do we want anything from the Island of Misfit Toys, please. If we can’t get healthy, productive players in their primes, we’d rather just stick with what we already have and hope that the new manager***** and coaching staff can have better results with them.
Anyway, I’ve taken up enough of your time. I assume you have a mall(s) to get to and some elf supervision to delegate. Thanks in advance for your attention and consideration, and be safe out there on Christmas Eve!
DrLefty (Lefty out)
*Full disclosure: I did not actually consult with anyone at TWG before writing my wish list. So the views expressed here are my own.
**OK, “lump of coal” may be a rude way to describe Michael Conforto. He seems like a nice enough guy. None of this is personal.
***Technically, finishing second on Harper was closer to being a turd in the Valentine’s Day punch bowl that year, not a Christmas fail, but give me a bit of artistic license and work with me here.
****I learned that Lee was actually born in Japan, even though he’s coming from the KBO. Huh.
*****Thanks for the early gift of Bob Melvin, Santa. Maybe you didn’t forget about us entirely.