The Giants don't need another outfielder, really. Kyle Blanks is in camp. Jarrett Parker and/or Mac Williamson could start the season in the majors. But they're still in search of the Platonic ideal of a fifth outfielder, ideally one who could be the right-handed complement to Gregor Blanco. So Andrew Baggarly's report that the Giants are interested in former Tigers and Indians outfielder Ryan Raburn makes sense. Kind of.
Raburn will be 35, and he's coming off a strong season for the Indians, in which he hit .301/.393/.543 with eight home runs. He's a career .264/.339/.487 hitter against lefties, and his career OPS+ is 103 over 10 seasons. This all seems to add up to a player the Giants should have interest in, except there are two caveats: First, he's sub-Burrell defensively, and he can't play center, even in a pinch. And if you think that sub-Burrell is hyperbole, it most certainly is not.
Second, when he's bad, he's unspeakably awful. Like, whoa, check out what his awful looks like:
Adjusted OPS, by year
All of those seasons were 200 plate appearances or more, too, so it's not like we're talking about a 29 OPS+ in a week's worth of games. He was actively awful the entire season. He was as bad as Dan Uggla on the Giants, but there was a lot more of it. Then the next year, he was amazing. Then the year after that, he was actively awful the entire season. Then the next year, he was amazing.
He's great in the odd years, see. Will he disappear if he joins an even-year Giants team? Will the Giants disappear? Will both of them explode? What kind of science experiment are the Giants going to put us through?
I'm still in the tank for Blanks, as his only major flaw as a professional is that he can't stay healthy, which is something that would concern me more if the Giants didn't have Williamson in reserve. Still, Raburn makes sense. Kind of.
Oh, and he's tied for the all-time MLB record for ERA, too. He has a 0.00 ERA over 1⅔ innings, which puts him on pace for a 0.00 ERA over his next 400 innings. Seems like a pretty solid investment when you put it like that.