The Giants need relievers. They’ll get one, maybe two. That’s pretty straightforward. This has been your offseason update.
The wrinkle this offseason is that as of right now, the Giants are also relying on younger, unproven players to fill holes in left field and the rotation. In a different offseason — say, one that didn’t follow a bullpen meltdown that will be scrawled on cave walls for future civilizations — we might be focused on left field. Or perhaps the rotation would be the main concern.
But that brings up a question: What if the post-Jansen budget forces them to choose between getting another pitcher and getting another outfielder?
To figure this out, let’s look at the Giants’ 2017 Steamer projections from FanGraphs. They’re not perfect, but no projections are, and they can give us at least some idea of where the Giants’ roster might be weakest.
First for the hitters:
And the starting pitchers:
The moral of the story? The Giants should get a damned closer.
The other moral is that it’s apparently not that wacky to consider the rotation a finished product. Ty Blach projects to be slightly above-average, which I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting him to rate poorly with the nerd stats because of the limited strikeouts, and I was prepared to defend him with rigorous arguments like, “He looked pretty good to me, dunno.” Instead, it looks like he could be fine.
I really wanted Bartolo Colon, everyone, and he signed before I could even write a single word about him.
The lineup looks about the same as last year, with the caveat that Steamer isn’t interested so much in playing time. If Hunter Pence and Denard Span combine for 1200 plate appearances next year, I’ll eat a piece of salted licorice. But we’ll roll with it for now and note that Buster Posey projects to be an All-Star again, Joe Panik, Belt, and Crawford project to be above-average starters, and Pence, Span, and Eduardo Nuñez project to be average starters. That’s not bad. Just forget about how it didn’t quite work out last year.
But Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker are projected to be most un-Blachian with their contributions. I’ll take the over on both, to be honest, but the computers feel nothing, and that’s what makes them worth listening to. This is a red flag, and you know the Giants see it too.
Too-long; didn’t-read version: The Giants should probably focus on left field before doing anything else post-Jansen.
The ideal outfielder would be right-handed, with power and strong left field defense. I’m just not sure if the Giants could find a ...
Wait! Come back! The Giants could really use you!
But, no, they’re probably not going to get Yoenis Cespedes. There are other options, though, from Dexter Fowler to Ian Desmond, and there’s also the option of getting a third baseman like Luis Valbuena to allow Nuñez to float around the field as needed.
There are also trades to consider. J.D. Martinez is out there, and maybe the A’s want to sell high on Khris Davis. Melky Cabrera can probably be had for a C- prospect. He had a 120 OPS+ last year, and he’s racked up 600 plate appearances or more in each of the last three seasons. Makes you think.
That would make my updated wish list something like this:
- Make Hunter Strickland the fourth-best right-hander in the bullpen.
- Get a left fielder with power
- Or get a left fielder who can hit at all
- Or get a plus defender in center who could push Span to left
Get Bartolo Colon
- Oh, sweet Bartolo, you weren’t even a rumor, this isn’t fair
- Get a fifth starter
The first one is non-negotiable. After that, there are a lot of different ways the Giants could make the roster better. I would even consider Mark Trumbo, just because my wanton dingerlust knows no bounds at this point. And I wouldn’t worry about Parker and Williamson getting buried — you know injuries would find a way to get them at-bats.
Conclusion: The Giants should probably focus on left field after their bullpen search is over. The projections concur. A shiny and/or jolly fifth starter is a luxury, but one more hitter probably isn’t.
One who could hit dingers would be swell. We’ll see if the Giants agree.