I was deep into another "Please, stop with the Nick Markakis rumors, Giants," but then the Braves swooped in. Good gravy, the Braves are weird now.
The Giants will not pay a perfectly okay player to wither and crumble in front of their horrified fans over the next four seasons. This is a positive thing. Torii Hunter and his merry brand of wisdom are back in Minnesota. This is also a good thing. The Giants are dodging a lot of the rocks being hurled at them by this juvenile delinquent of an offseason.
Except, are the Giants really interested in starting the season with their center-fielder-in-a-glass-case in the lineup? If Gregor Blanco starts, that's fine in theory. But it also means the Giants are down to plans x, y, and z if/when Angel Pagan gets injured. Gary Brown is x. Juan Perez is y. Other is z. The depth would be ghastly. You can't just hate everyone like a sullen record store clerk watching American Idol. The Giants need another outfielder. The rumormongers suggest that the Giants agree:
Orioles, Blue Jays, Tigers, Mariners, Rangers, Braves, Reds, Giants, Padres, Royals, Indians trying to add an outfielder now, execs say.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 3, 2014
Three NL West teams -- Rockies, Diamondbacks, Dodgers -- have the most obvious outfield surpluses. That is not ideal for SF and SD.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 3, 2014
I have thoughts!
(I was also deep into a "Please, look into Michael Saunders, Giants" section of this post, but then the Blue Jays just stole him from the Mariners for J.A. Happ, who is the Barry Zito of left-handed pitchers. Good gravy, the Mariners are still weird.)
Here's a list of the outfielders who played in 2014, sorted by WAR. Let's pick one.
Someone realistic, you fool.
My flexible rules:
- They have to be on teams that would actually trade them
- They have to be on teams that would actually trade them to the Giants
- I'm assuming other teams will have better offers for Justin Upton
- I'm skeptical about defense-saturated WAR totals, so I'm giving squinty eyes to players like Juan Lagares
- Michael Morse is the best, and I will remember him fondly for the rest of my days, but he needs to play in the American League on a big field where he can frolic with other Michael Morses
- Right-handers preferred for balance and platooning, but I'm not that picky
1. Dexter Fowler
He's a free agent after the season, and he's not exactly a superstar, so the Astros shouldn't require two or three top prospects for him. I'd guess something closer to the Jake Peavy trade would do. The Astros probably get sick of the "Hey, are you, uh, eating that?" trade offers.
Fowler takes walks, runs well, and switch-hits. His career OBP went up after leaving Coors Field for a year, and while his defensive stats are janky, I'm pretty sure he would be dynamite in left field.
2. Daniel Nava
This is platoon fodder, mostly, but Nava has them Bay Area ties, and he absolutely destroys left-handers. He's 32, out of options, and about sixth or seventh on the dumb depth chart of the dumb Red Sox, who are dumb and spiteful, so he might come cheap, too. The Red Sox owe us fans something. Besides Peavy. That was all the way back then. Maybe they'll just give Nava to the Giants.
3. Marlon Byrd
I've written about how the Phillies shouldn't trade Cole Hamels for just anything because he still might be good in three years, long enough for the team to rise from the ashes and/or Phanatic dandruff. I've written about how they shouldn't just give Jimmy Rollins away because he's still good and a fan favorite.
Seriously, though. You have no use for Byrd. You are going to win 14 games next year, Phillies. Trade Byrd for something, you dolts.
Byrd is 37 next year, and he's not cheap ($8 million salary for 2015). He also has an $8 million option that vests with just 463 plate appearances next year, so he's a risk on a couple levels. But review that list of outfielders. Things are kinda bleak. Byrd hit last year, and he played a good right field. He had a dramatic jump in his strikeout rate, which is a huge red flag at his age. But ...
... Wait, I just talked myself out of this one. Forget I said anything.
4. Jackie Bradley, Jr.
The Red Sox have too many outfielders, and they're totally annoyed with Bradley. He's a defensive demigod, and he showed excellent on-base skills and bat control in the minors. He's also fast. Vrooooom. The Red Sox have enough depth to ask the Giants for a prospect or two, which means there's a chance for a rare Torres-for-Estes situation. I'd trade Kyle Crick for him, but then I'm a pretty awful fake GM.
Also, you know the Giants are going into the Red Sox Surplus Store and coming away with Shane Victorino, right? Just checking.
5. Chris Denorfia
He's a free agent, so he costs nothing but cash. Let me check on the rumors surrounding him and nope there sure aren't any rumors surrounding him. He was miserable for the Padres and Mariners last year, but probably because he was sad he was traded to the Padres' bitter rival.
6. Gerardo Parra
After having one of the best defensive seasons in baseball history according to some stats, Parra was a drag last year. He'll be on the expensive side (about $6 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors estimates), but he's still just 27. If he weren't a left-handed hitter, I would have written 17 posts on him already. If Pagan were out for any extended time, the lineup with Parra would look something like this:
8. Whatever third baseman they pick up (Joaquin Arias is a righty!)
I'd let Javier Lopez start against that team. Someone give Brett Pill a call.
Still, I like Parra as a player, and I think he could be had for a cup of ex-prospect slurry. It's worth looking into if the Giants can be creative with the rest of the lineup. If they were looking into Markakis, I guess they couldn't have been too concerned about the lefty/righty thing.
See? I don't hate every outfielder. Just the ones the Giants were linked to. If Melky Cabrera -- who seriously is the best fit from a baseball perspective -- is too expensive/jerky, then make Fowler the priority of the offseason, get a starting pitcher, and figure out a way to keep Arias away from third base. I'm a simple man. These are my simple plans.
Thank goodness this isn't a post all about Nick Markakis.