There are a lot of players I don't want the Giants to get, both free agents and under contract. Nelson Cruz is a free agent. I wouldn't want the Giants to pay him half of what he's going to get. He's just not that good. Mark Trumbo might be available in a trade, but I'm not excited about the Giants giving up several of their top-10 prospects, if that's what it takes to get him.
No on Logan Morrison. The guy's a dillweed and he can't field. No on Dayan Viciedo. Not good enough, and I'm not sure the White Sox are asking for reasonable returns. No on Ichiro for obvious reasons, even before you consider he's pretty redundant with Blanco. No on them all. That person you're thinking of now? No. And the next guy, too. No, no, no.
Yet if you asked me what I'm hoping the Giants do during the Winter Meetings, it's obvious. Clearly they need another outfielder. Just as long as they don't get one via free agency or a trade or waivers or the Rule 5 Draft or from the minors or on their current roster. Anything else, and I'm listening.
Okay, fine, I guess that's a pretty silly way to go through life, hoping the Giants can get an outfield improvement without giving anything up. And, really, there have been a couple deals this offseason that I wish the Giants would have matched. Dexter Fowler didn't go for as much as he should have, and Norichika Aoki cost only a young, left-handed reliever. Craig Gentry would have been a good target, too, though I would have mistyped his name as Greg Centry every other time I mentioned him for the next year.
So instead of no, no, no, here are five outfield targets I'd like the Giants to explore. Note that the Twins are being weird and spending money, so I'm pretty sure they aren't trading Josh Willingham.
1. Sign Franklin Gutierrez
In which you've already closed the tab. Come back! I know it's not exciting or … exciting. But it's a painless way to get another right-handed outfielder who can play good defense and has a little power. He's been kind of a schleprock over the last couple years, so his price is way down. But he used to be a coveted young player, you know. Back when the Mariners were supposed to be respectable, he was one of their shrewd acquisitions.
2. Poke around and see what the Mariners want for Dustin Ackley
Because the Mariners are not respectable anymore. Ackley's actually a terrible fit with the current roster -- left-handed, more of a second baseman, limited power -- but I'm still a believer that he'll bloom late, and everyone will kick themselves for not believing in him. Like Delmon Young without the personality questions! Except not that.
I have no idea what the Mariners would want, and this is presuming they make a silly deal for Shin-Soo Choo or something. But even though Ackley doesn't fit the Giants' roster as currently constructed, he fits the Giants' collection of under-30 cogs. I still believe.
3. Figure out a painless way to extract Scott Van Slyke from the Dodgers
Oh, if only he were on another team. The Dodgers have four starting outfielders and one of their best prospects is an outfielder. They would be perfect, perfect, perfect trade partners for the Giants if not for the de facto impossibility of trading within the rivalry. Brian Sabean and Ned Colletti are still close, I gather, but there's a reason it's been a while since the Travis Denker/Mike or Mark Sweeney trade.
Maybe if they ask really, really nicely. Or wriggle their way into a three-way trade. Maybe another team could buy up for them.
4. Check with the Royals about Jason Maxwell
The Royals probably want Maxwell around because they got the rich man's Gregor Blanco with Aoki. But I dunno, Royals. Maybe they're interested in … something.
5. Trade for Matt Kemp
Just seeing if you were paying attention. And I really do like this idea, but it's just a smidgen less plausible than the Van Slyke idea. Just a smidgen.
5. Ask really nicely if the Red Sox will let Daniel Nava come home
Okay, that's just as …
5. Sign Shin-Soo Choo to a three-year, $120 million deal
Look, I know that Maxwell and Gutierrez aren't exciting, but …
5. Sign Corey Hart, assuming his knees aren't filled with chewed graham crackers
Fine. I give in. This is the real fifth choice, and it assumes Hart isn't getting some wacky three-year deal. Hopefully, he'll want to play on a one-year deal. But considering that it would cost young players and prospects for Trumbo or Domonic Brown, I'd rather just give up the money, which, again, isn't mine. I'll have more #hottakes on Hart in a bit, assuming he doesn't sign in the next couple days.
That's the state of the outfield search, I'm guessing. Andres Torres is still out there. Jeff Francoeur has new, bionic eyeballs. Maybe if the Brewers get Hart back, they'll consider Khris Davis for Brett Pill, who they're inquiring about for some reason.
It's the Winter Meetings! Should be exciting. Won't be exciting. Hope for a Fra-Gu signing, and hope that the Fra-Gu is not also cursed. Also, dibs on the Fra-Gu nickname.