I was wrong about the Padres signing Tim Lincecum. It seemed like an obvious fit, but they never seemed too interested in him. Fair enough. Predicting baseball, especially specific transactions, is hard.
This one, though. This one seems practically guaranteed. The Dodgers designated Carl Crawford for assignment over the weekend. They're responsible for the rest of his bloated contract, which means that when he clears waivers, he'll be available to any team for the major league minimum salary.
The Giants want another outfielder with Hunter Pence missing June and July, but they don't want to pay retail for that two-month outfielder. They need someone dinged up and cheap. So there you have it. His agent has probably already called the Giants, but only if the Giants didn't call him first.
You all agree this is going to happen, right?
It would definitely fit a pattern, at least. In 2010, the Giants picked Pat Burrell off the scrap heap. In 2011, it was Bill Hall. In 2012, it was Xavier Nady. In 2013, it was Jeff Francoeur. In 2014, they picked up Dan Uggla, and they won the World Series because of it. Maybe in spite of it, but we'll never really know. Last year didn't have a true scrap-heap addition, but Alejandro De Aza and Marlon Byrd came pretty close.
The Giants add a random veteran hitter every season. There's a random veteran hitter about to hit the market, and he plays a position of need. The potential upside would be Crawford helping and making the Dodgers look bad. The potential downside would be the Giants sending him down the Uggla hole in a month. They usually aren't bothered by that kind of potential downside.
There aren't any concrete rumors yet. And this isn't to say it's a good idea, mind you. Crawford has been one of the worst players in baseball this year, with a 29 OPS+ and -1 WAR. He can't throw, so right field is out, and his range is limited in left. His speed isn't what it was. It's hard to see him being more valuable than Jarrett Parker, given his current tools. It's kind of like trusting Uggla more than Joe Panik, only with the gap in talent maybe not being as extreme.
On the other hand, let's take a moment to remember just how awful Pat Burrell was with the Rays. He was even worse defensively than Crawford, and he was hitting .202/.292/.333 when they released him. He was almost as bad the season before, too. There was no reason to think he could help the Giants or any other National League team. He helped. Oh, how he helped.
The question is, he says, leaning in with horrible coffee breath and a look in his eye, do you believe in even-year nonsense, or do you not?
I'm fine with not testing it in this case, to be honest. Crawford seems like a poor fit, from his left-handedness to his limited-to-left defense. The dream of him getting an important September hit against the Dodgers is a beautiful dream, but it's about as likely as a former first base prospect leaving and returning years later to hit a pennant-winning home run after being miscast as an outfielder. That is, not bloody likely.
Still, it fits a familiar pattern. Crawford is a well-regarded personality, too, someone who would fit in well in the clubhouse. He's the proper heir to the Xavier Nady and Jeff Francoeur legacy.
And if the Giants turn Crawford into another Burrell? That will just make it even funnier and more obnoxious when they pick up Josh Hamilton for a successful stretch run in 2018. There isn't a lot of risk, and there isn't a lot of reward. But it is a player we've heard of, and he plays a position of need. This would be very, very Giants.
I'll just go pre-write the post now. The ending will read, "At least he isn't Jeff Francoeur, " and I'll work backward from there.