When rumors surfaced that Yasmany Tomas was likely to sign soon, I figured the Giants were out. Unless Pablo Sandoval told them to buzz off -- and he would need the Giants to squeeze every last dollar out of the Red Sox or Marlins or Wyverns or whatever -- the Giants' budget is probably Panda-centric right now. They don't have an extra $100 million floating around for a Cuban player who is either Dayan Viciedo or Yasiel Puig, or somewhere in the middle, unless he's much worse than those players or better than Mike Trout. Tomas would be an intriguing fit for the outfield, but the money isn't likely to be spent unless Sandoval goes somewhere else.
What if, then, the Giants went with Tomas as the Sandoval replacement at third base? Felipe Alou thinks that might be a good idea, according to Peter Gammons. As folks noted in the comments yesterday, Alou was also the guy who was sold on Rafael Rodriguez, too, so his word is just a touch suspect when it comes to amateur players about to make millions and billions.
It's at least something to talk about, though.
So, uh, how about that?
You know. That rumor? Wow.
Look, I have no idea how to analyze it. Cuban players are befuddling enough already. There isn't a lot to glean from Cuban stats, even when the player in question is going bonkers (like Jose Abreu did before he left), but Tomas's stats were totally underwhelming in his last season. Baseball America says that might be because he hurt his arm in an outfield collision, which isn't exactly comforting. If he gets nine figures, which is wacky, it's because of the raw potential. The super raw, smeltable dinger ore.
So he's already a big dollop of uncertainty, except he'll get paid like a four-time All-Star. Now, on top of the he-might-not-hit worries, we're supposed to wonder if he can play a competent third base? That seems like the least-Giants move I can think of. "Giants ink unestablished talent to play unfamiliar position" seems like a headline that I'd read after "Giants exploring idea of new ballpark in Daly City."
I will say this, though: Someone in the organization a long time ago looked at a fluffy catcher and said, "Hey, I'll bet that Snorlax-shaped sucker over there can play third base." The Giants stuck Pablo Sandoval there with practically no experience, and it worked out beautifully. If the Giants sign Tomas, that same person (or group of people) is almost certainly in the organization. Tomas has a little experience at third, but this was all Baseball America spent on the idea in their comprehensive, 2,600-word guide and scouting report.
Tomas has the defensive attributes to fit in either corner outfield spot. He has some infield background, having played a bit of third base and first base early in his career, and he probably could play first base in the big leagues, but his value is highest in the outfield.
And -- this is the amusing part -- the Giants also have a Michael Morse-shaped hole in the outfield. So they would be signing him as a third baseman to ... make room for Torii Hunter? I dunno, man. I think this is going down the wrong path.
My guess: The Giants are interested in Tomas, but still as a fallback if Sandoval spurns them. While they might be third-curious, they're more comfortable with the idea that he has experience at both of the positions the Giants obviously need, just in case. At the same time, they're interested in him mostly as an outfielder, like everyone else.
Again, that's just a guess. And it's all likely moot because I'd give the Giants a, let's see, three-percent chance of signing him. There are too many teams who are more comfortable with unestablished players, too many teams who are (or want to be) a little looser with their money. We'll know in seven or eight months how smart/stupid the Giants are on this one.