In a longer post for ESPN (subscription required), Buster Olney spends some time writing about the Giants and how they're set up for the offseason. He talked to another executive who said "the Giants are the quickest fix" of all the teams who won't make the postseason -- an opinion I most definitely share. They need pitching, they'll have some money, and almost the entire lineup and bullpen is young and/or under contract. They'll get another starter or two. It isn't rocket science.
Wait, it might be snotrocket science, though. It might be snotrocket science. We'll come back to that one.
But underneath Olney's summary of the Giants' current roster and probable offseason, there's a curious note.
There is speculation within other organizations that the Giants could be among the teams to pursue Yoenis Cespedes, although the slugger might have priced himself out of San Francisco's comfort range with his strong performance since the trade deadline.
Good gravy. The rumor was enough to make me spit out all of my coffee, then patiently lick it off the walls, just so I could spit it out again. Can you even imagine if the Giants spent their entire offseason budget on an over-30 outfielder with on-base percentage problems? He's a fantastic player, don't get me wrong, but he sure seems like a lousy fit for the Giants as currently constructed.
That written, there are just a couple of problems with this rumor. First, the Giants seem entirely committed to Marlon Byrd in left field for too much money next year, which is why he's just 47 plate appearances away from his $8 million option vesting. At least, it's too much when you think of the annual salary you think Byrd should command. It's most certainly not too much when you compare it to whatever nine-figure, six-year deal Cespedes will get.
The second problem is that Cespedes might get a nine-figure, six-year deal.
Someone's going to step in a pile of that contract and not realize it for a year or two, but it's going to be messy. Either it's going to be a really, really rich team that can afford to write off the bad years at the end (Dodgers, Yankees) or it's going to be a team making a silly choice (Mets, as directed by ownership). I simply can't imagine the Giants taking a risk on that kind of free agent, especially one that essentially doubles up on the $8 million player they're expecting to have next year.
Byrd really is a low-rent Cespedes, albeit at an advanced age with worse defense. Cespedes has been worth a win-and-a-half more than Byrd, on average, over each of the last four seasons. Those wins would be worth a lot to the Giants. They wouldn't be worth $120 million.
Pretty sure the Giants' plan is to staple Byrd and Aoki together for a $13 million quasi-platoon that's as much about depth and contingency planning as anything, and the executives quoted in Olney's article were just spitballing without digging into the Giants' needs or situation too deeply. Still, when the words "Giants could be among the teams to pursue Yoenis Cespedes" appear on the Internet, I'll be there to fan the flames. Because, boy howdy, that is a hot rumor.
Even if it makes no sense and almost certainly isn't coming from the Giants' camp.