With a 40-man roster filled with busts and shallow talent depth, the Giants aren’t likely to call up any miracle players for the final month of the season (save Chris Shaw), so what could the team possible market to fans over the final 30 games of the season?
I propose the Giants create a home run chase. Right now, Andrew McCutchen leads the team with 15, but Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria are right behind him with 14 apiece. And then there’s Gorkys Hernandez and his 13, followed by Brandon Crawford with 12.
What if the Giants, NBC Sports Bay Area, KNBR, and the San Francisco Chronicle got together and decided that, beginning September 1st, there’d be a home run chase — the first player on the Giants’ roster to hit 20 home runs would have $20,000 donated to a cause of the player’s choosing?
This is a win-win. AT&T Park humiliates hitters and the Giants have punted on just the idea of having power hitters in their organization, so there’s almost no chance that any of the aforementioned orgs would have to donate the money... but what if?
It seems pretty certain that Andrew McCutchen is staying put. The Giants won’t get back a prospect for him, they won’t offer him a qualifying offer, and they’re unlikely to re-sign him when his potential salary figure could be allocated in other ways, but what if Andrew McCutchen’s 20th home run funds an after school program for an entire year? Or pays for a family’s child care?
The Giants have not a 20+ home run hitter since 2015, when Brandon Crawford hit 21. Prior to that, here’s the list of hitters with 20 or more home runs since 2008 (sorted by year):
2015 - Brandon Crawford (21)
2014 - Buster Posey (22), Hunter Pence (21)
2013 - Hunter Pence (27)
2012 - Buster Posey (24)
2011 - Pablo Sandoval (23)
2010 - Aubrey Huff (26), Juan Uribe (24)
2009 - Pablo Sandoval (25), Bengie Molina (20)
That’s it, folks. Just 10 instances of 20+ home runs in the past decade. For context, Red Yankees will have 6 and the Red Sox will have 4 in just the 2018 season alone.
Think of the pursuit. This is better than the Bay Bridge Trophy, because there’d be actual stakes. You’d want to tune in to see if McCutchen could do it. Clever marketing could subvert how pathetic the Giants power situation has been by saying that the team is turning a negative into a positive. Could hype up Andrew McCutchen in a walk year.
There aren’t enough reasons not to try something like this. It might be dumb enough to work. Start the home run chase! Who will be this year’s 20 Home Run Man?