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Giants: What if Left Field Platoon Doesn’t Work Out?

While the Andres Torres and Gregor Blanco unit hasn’t even been given a chance yet, pundits agree that this duo might pave the way for disaster.

Sep 27, 2012; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets center fielder Andres Torres (56) throws to second during the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PREWIRE

The Giants were blessed for a solid portion of this past season with Melky Cabrera, until he was suspended of course. Then, they rode Blanco for the majority of the second half, who provided stability defensively, but nothing out of the ordinary offensively.

With limited financial resources after keeping their championship team intact, the Giants brought in Torres to give Blanco some competition. But realistically, Torres may be just another replication of Blanco with a shade more power.

So, general manager Brian Sabean may be forced to come up with another move by the trade deadline.

Here are two possibilities:

Chris Young, Oakland Athletics 

If the A’s are in the thick of things in the American League come July, then Young may be off limits. Though with a surplus of outfielders, there’s nothing to say that Oakland won’t trade him anyway.

August 16, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young (24) is congratulated by third base coach Matt Williams (9) after hitting a solo home run off of St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jason Motte (not pictured) during the ninth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

General manager Billy Beane acquired Young just days after the A’s lost in the ALDS. Beane traded Cliff Pennington and a prospect (Yordy Cabrera) to the Diamondbacks for Young, and the Marlins then swapped Heath Bell for Cabrera.

This move certainly raised a few eyebrows from the A’s perspective. Even prior, their outfield triumvirate didn’t need much of a rejuvenation. It already consisted of three more than capable players in Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, and Yoenis Cespedes, and as it stands, this trio will conceivably hold down the fort again in 2013. Meaning, Young is the odd man out, for now that is.

The A’s could, however, squeeze Young into the starting lineup if Cespedes is used as a full-time DH, which is a plausible possibility. He was used in that spot in 26 games last season (103 at-bats). But that lofty total was also due to a few injures that prevented him from being mobile enough to play left field effectively. With an offseason of rest, though, Cespedes will likely be slated into left field with Seth Smith serving as the primary DH.

So, Young could be used as a trade chip come July. Maybe that’s what the A’s have been thinking all along, and refuse to unravel their plans. Either way, Young could provide some pop, and hits left-handed pitching very well. There’s no reason to think that San Francisco wouldn’t at least look at him if he becomes available.

Corey Hart, Milwaukee Brewers

Hart is one of the numerous outfielders who is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2013 season, and it looks as if he will get the opportunity to test the open waters, as talks of a potential contract extension have been ambivalent. The last peep goes back to mid-December when Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin remained “undecided” regarding the notion of extending Hart past 2013.

In retrospect, Milwaukee has considered trading Hart according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. In order to maximize on Hart’s value though, the Brewers would have to trade him—sometime in the next two weeks would be ideal— before the season begins. They could then put his leftover money towards revamping their shaky rotation by perhaps signing

This could offset the Giants.

September 18, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Corey Hart (1) reacts during the pre-game before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously trading him halfway though the season, or before the trade deadline in late July, wouldn’t do this plan any good. And July is probably when the Giants would be most open to making this type of upgrade, as they aren’t likely to jump on the bidding for Hart before they get a chance to see how the Blanco and Torres combination pans out.

Also worth consideration, the Brewers would likely demand a decent package in exchange for Hart if the Giants tried to trade for him now because the Giants would have a full season of Hart compared to roughly 60 games. That is, if the deal occurred at the deadline.

Circumstances aside, however, Hart could provide some inject some pop into the Giants’ lineup—sort of like the aforementioned Chris Young. Over the past three years he’s averaging nearly 30 home runs per season, and his slugging percentage over that span averages out to be a very respectable .514 (19th in MLB). Unlike a left-handed hitter, Hart wouldn’t be plagued by the spacious right field gap either.

In July, the likelihood of this happening will be much more clear.

 

Topics: Andres Torres, Chris Young, Corey Hart, Gregor Blanco, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants

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