The Giants have been on the lookout all offseason for outfielders, but they’ve been unwilling to pay for them, so it makes sense that they reached out to veteran left-handed hitting outfielder Matt Joyce following his release from Cleveland’s camp yesterday.
Joyce, 34, was with the A’s the past two seasons, and posted a .767 OPS over 224 games. He was much, much better in 2017 than 2018, though, slashing .243 / .335 / .473 (.808 OPS) with 25 home runs in 141 games. Last year was marred by back issues, leading to three trips to the injured list and a slash of .208 / .322 / .353 (.675) in just 83 games.
Still! He’s amassed 3900 plate appearances across 11 major league seasons and boasts a walk rate of 12.5%. That’d be the highest walk rate of any Giant since 2008, by the way. Brandon Belt is the current actual leader at 11.6% in 3,605 plate appearances. So, Joyce knows how to work a count.
Joyce had just 5 hits and 3 walks in 30 plate appearances with Cleveland this spring. That includes zero extra base hits and a very bad line of .185 / .267 / .185 (.452 OPS), but let’s just say he pops a couple of home runs over the weekend. Then what? Joyce has hit more home runs in his 11 major league seasons (138) than any Giant has over the past 11 seasons (Buster Posey has hit 133).
I’m posting this before the major league part of the deal is known, there’s a really good chance that he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, and he got cut from a Cleveland team that really, truly, desperately needs outfielders more than the outfielders do, so this post feels a little unwarranted, however, if something weird happens, Joyce provides a little bit more pop than the Giants are used to seeing and he has logged innings at all three outfield positions. It’s an interesting grab late in the game. One that previous regimes wouldn’t have made.