The San Francisco Giants made one of their bigger moves of the offseason this week, reportedly signing infielder Tommy La Stella to a three-year deal.
Infield market keeps on churning: Second baseman Tommy La Stella and the San Francisco Giants are finalizing a contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Once completed, the deal is expected to be for three years. @PavlovicNBCS first said the sides were nearing a deal.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 27, 2021
It’s not hard to see why the Giants were interested. La Stella brings a left-handed bat to the infield, and it’s a pretty darn good left handed bat. Over the last two years, he hit .289/.356/.471, good for a .827 OPS, with 21 home runs in 549 plate appearances. That was worth 3.2 fWAR and 2.8 rWAR, which any team will happily take over less than a season’s worth of at bats.
Most impressive — and most Giantsy — is his plate discipline, as he walked 47 times in those two years ... while striking out just 40 times. More walks than strikeouts? It’s the Farhan Zaidi specialty.
The La Stella move, while undeniably good, does shake up the infield vision a little bit. At the start of the offseason, the Giants signed corner infielder Jason Vosler to a Major League contract, despite the fact that he has never played in the Majors. They talked about how he would play a significant role this season.
Now they’ve added another left-handed infield bat, and suddenly the list of infielders is getting long: La Stella and Vosler, along with Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Wilmer Flores, Donovan Solano and, to a certain extent, Mauricio Dubón. All for what figures to be a 26-man roster.
It’s hard to see them keeping all of those players. Assuming a 26-man roster, keeping all eight of those players would mean only carrying four outfielders — that includes Dubón — or carrying fewer than 13 pitchers, which doesn’t seem very Giantsy (though might not be the worst idea). Maybe Vosler is forgotten about. Maybe one of Flores or Solano is traded. Options are good.
Regardless, the vision for the infield — and the team — seems to be shifting a little bit. A multi-year deal for a 2019 All-Star — along with the reports that outfield reinforcements are on the way — suggests the team is willing to entertain the thought of trying to win some games in 2021.