The Giants can be eliminated from the postseason this weekend, so it’s time to look ahead to the future and speculate how they can screw up 2019 and beyond. Let’s predict the most likely and most Giants-y signing at every position. These are guys that may or may not help the Giants win in the future, but the Giants certainly have their types. The Giants won’t sign all of these guys, but they’ll sign at least one. Unless Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean get fired or something, but that would require the Giants undergoing a dramatic change, and that’s never going to happen.
Anyway, here they are. The free agents at every position most likely to become Giants.
After Derek Holland signs with the Yankees this offseason, the Giants will be looking for another bad starter who had an encouraging second half. Enter Lance Lynn. Lynn will be the stopgap while Johnny Cueto recovers from Tommy John and Jeff Samardzija recovers from strain every muscle on the upper part of his body. His ERA will be around 5.00, and he’ll block Shaun Anderson.
With the exception of Mark Melancon, the Giants have done pretty well acquiring relief pitchers. Justin Wilson will be relatively inexpensive and he’s a solid option. I know it isn’t very funny or exciting, but the Giants can’t screw up everything.
In May of 2019, it will be recommended Justin Wilson undergo Tommy John surgery.
Even in a somewhat joking scenario, it’s hard to imagine the Giants signing a free-agent first baseman. They would have to trade Brandon Belt, be confident Buster Posey can catch next year, AND not re-sign Pablo Sandoval which they are absolutely going to do. Even if the Giants had a need at first, the first baseman market is pretty brutal. The best free agent first baseman is probably Lucas Duda and lots of teams could stand to upgrade at first—oh no, the Giants are going to trade Brandon Belt. Even with the salary the demand will never be higher.
In that case, the Giants are going to sign Joe Mauer to continue their quest of winning the 2011 World Series.
Looks like Brian Dozier is available. Right-handed power hitter past his prime? Hell yeah, that’s a Giants signing.
DJ LeMaiheu deserves an honorable mention as an average-dependent, solid defender who will wilt outside of Coors Field.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Giants don’t re-sign Pablo Sandoval to play back-up to Evan Longoria, but if they don’t they’ll get Trevor Plouffe? I don’t know. The options at third are either good and therefore too expensive with Evan Longoria already on the team (Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Eduardo Escobar, Mark Reynolds) or they’re Trevor Plouffe.
Shortstop is another position the Giants don’t have a strong need to fill. Brandon Crawford is still a league average starter even in the most pessimistic of predictions, and the shortstop market this year is rough. Outside of Manny Machado, the best option is probably Freddy Galvis.
Alcides Escobar ought to be cheap. Escobar has been one of the worst position players in the majors this year, so the Giants will sign him to a minor league contract. Sure, whatever, we’ll think. Couldn’t hurt.
Escobar will get 300 plate appearances and have a lower OPS than Lance Lynn.
The Giants need a crusty vet to start over Austin Slater. That’s their most obvious hole coming into the offseason. And would you look at that, Curtis Granderson will be available. Granderson will be 38 next year, but his .813 OPS this year would have been first on the Giants. The Giants need someone who is just a bit better than Slater on paper even if he’s not better in practice. Granderson fits that mold perfectly.
An oft-injured center fielder who will be 31 in his first year with the team and has already shown signs of decline? You bet the Giants are going to be eyeing AJ Pollock. The Giants are probably kicking themselves for not going after Lorenzo Cain harder last offseason. They wanted to make the move, but they didn’t want to get burned by another long-term deal to an aging center fielder. They told themselves they wouldn’t fall for it again, and now Lorenzo Cain leads NL in fWAR. They’ll sign Pollock to a five-year deal and he’ll miss Opening Day after getting attacked by a swarm of bees in spring training, he’ll miss 6-8 weeks after tearing a hamstring, and he’ll break a clavicle colliding with a wall to miss the remainder of the year.
After missing out on Bryce Harper, the Giants will sign Jon Jay to a one-year deal. His OPS will be exactly .700.
The Giants love their bat-first back-up catchers that can’t actually hit. Matt Wieters is the Charizard to Hector Sanchez’s Charmander and Nick Hundley’s Charmeleon. Now, the Giants won’t sign Wieters with the intent of him playing a major role in 2019, but Aramis Garcia will have to be the starter after Buster Posey’s hip isn’t the same. Wieters will start 50 games and lead the team in dingers. He’ll hit 12.
There you have it. At least one of these guys will definitely wear a Giants uniform in 2019. Unless, of course, the Giants undergo a philosophical evolution, but when have they ever done that?