What do you get for the team that just acquired an expensive veteran over 30? Why, another expensive veteran over 30. Gotta catch them all. Jay Bruce’s agent was on KNBR on Wednesday, and he’s suggesting that the Giants are very, very much in the running.
Pair that tweet with this one ...
Sabean hints that Giants have another addition to make that will be just as big.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 20, 2017
... and we have a half-decent idea of what’s about to happen.
I would like to go on record again as suggesting that this would be a bad idea for the Giants. Bruce is a left-handed hitter with an OBP in the low .300s. His defense is acceptable in the good years, and he’ll be 31 next year. He won’t be cheap. This is terrifying.
At the same time, I would also like to sigh deeply and admit that this would make the Giants better next year, which is all I really care about. Bruce was worth three wins last year. All 17 outfielders the Giants used last year combined for negative-three wins, and that includes Brandon Belt, who wasn’t really an outfielder. If you take him out, the entire Giants outfield was worth negative-six wins*.
* which is bad
Bruce was what the Giants really, really wanted Jarrett Parker to be, in other words. And he would be a huge improvement over anything the team featured in the outfield last year. The contract would be for too many years and too much money, but it would probably help a fair amount. Maybe that’s what we should focus on.
I’m also working on a theory of how defensive value is distributed in relation to offensive value, with a working hypothesis that the daily at-bats from a solid hitter can help a bad lineup disproportionately compared to the harm that’s done from his irregular fielding chances. The only holdup with this theory is that I’m not smart or good with statistics and shouldn’t be coming up with theories. But it’s a temporary problem, and I’m working on it.
No, this is something of a contradiction, but it’s possible that Bruce can be an unfavorable contract and a net positive for the Giants in 2018, which has a chance to be the last time they’re competitive for a while. It’s also possible that I’m worrying too much about 2020, when we already know that’s going to be a nuclear meltdown. Get a party going and don’t worry so much about what’s going to happen when your parents get home, man.
There’s a chance that Sabean’s coy comment didn’t have to do with Bruce. It’s possible that the Giants are trading for either Adam Jones or Andrew McCutchen, both of whom are personal favorites of mine. Jones, in particular, would bring a lot of the same skills as Bruce, except he would play a solid-to-good defensive center field. Even though he’s a rental, and even though he would cost several prospects, it’s a more sensible deal for the long term.
On the other hand, I’m starting to care less and less about 2020, when Heliot Ramos will arrive to save us all. Bruce in 2018 actually makes me curious, even as I disagree with the logic behind it.
Oh, you ... you want me to do one of those fake lineup thingies WELL I’M NOT MADE OF STONE.
Panik - 2B
Pence - LF
Bruce - RF
Longoria - 3B
Posey - C
Belt - 1B
Crawford - SS
Duggar - CF
That’s a mess of left-handers from the bottom of the lineup all the way to the top, with only Pence there to make a manager think he can’t keep his LOOGY in for two danged innings. It’s a work in progress. Maybe there’s a way to get a right-handed center fielder to help with that. Dunno.
But I’m pretty sure this offseason is going to end with Bruce in right field. All the signs are there. It’s probably not a good idea, but there aren’t a ton of good ideas out there.