Jon Heyman reports that the Giants have been in contact with Josh Harrison. Harrison is available because the Pirates declined his $10 million option, and they did that because (A) the Pirates don’t like to spend and (B) he wasn’t very good last year. In 374 plate appearances, Harrison hit .250/.293/.363 for an 89 DRC+. This was also the first year that Harrison had been a below average defender at second base, but just barely at -2 DRS.
Harrison still has some appeal, though. Harrison can still be fine at second and third even if he’s in the decline stages. Even if he didn’t get an inning in the outfield last year, he has some experience playing in both corners. Looking at how the Dodgers are constructed, it’s obvious that Farhan Zaidi loves versatility. Having players that can play multiple positions helps protect against injury, something that exposed the Giants lack of depth last year. You know next year Joe Panik, Evan Longoria, and Austin Slater will all get trapped in an escape room for three weeks because they didn’t tell anyone where they were going, and having someone like Harrison would be great when that happens.
Harrison will be entering his age 31 season, but he’s also just one year removed from an All-Star appearance and a 2.4 WARP season. There are reasons to be concerned, but there are also reasons to think he could bounce back. GPT floated the idea of using Harrison in a platoon with Joe Panik.
Career vs. LHP: 107 wRC+— GPT (@giantsprospects) December 7, 2018
vs. RHP: 95 wRC+
Something like 1yr/4M for a platoon with Panik at 2B would be fine.
Panik, on the other hand, has an 87 wRC+ against lefties and a 107 wRC+ against righties. Protecting both hitters from platoon disadvantage ought to help both rebound. Considering Panik’s due for a rebound anyway (I hope), the Giants would be in to get a boost at second base next year. Last year, Giants second baseman ranked 27th in baseball with a 73 wRC+ and 25th in fWAR at 0.1.
When the Giants tendered Panik on a contract, there was a sense that the Giants weren’t going to upgrade at second. But when their second basemen were that bad collectively, it’s good to get some insurance especially since Kelby Tomlinson is a Diamondback now.
Heyman also reports that the Yankees and Astros are interested in Harrison as a budget-version of Marwin Gonzalez. The Yankees and Astros both won over 100 games last year, and if he’s good enough for them, he should be good enough for the Giants.
If the Giants could get Harrison on a one-year deal, he could provide a low-risk option that will help the Giants create contingencies for when half the team gets hand foot and mouth disease. He could even hit a bit, too. He might not be the most exciting free agent on the market, but you don’t have to squint too hard to see him fitting on this team.