San Francisco Giants: Options for Left Field in 2015


Among the San Francisco Giants’ many needs this postseason, finding a starting left fielder is towards the top of their list.

For the past seven seasons now, the Giants have gone from season to season trying to figure out who their starting left fielder would be, and 2014 wasn’t any different, as Brian Sabean signed Michael Morse to a one-year contract last winter to temporary fill the role as the Giants’ starting left fielder. Morse is now a free agent.

With the best future outfield option in the Giants’ minor league system still at least one or two full seasons away from being major league ready (Daniel Carbonell), the Giants must sign a left fielder reliable enough to fill the left field role until the Giants can really make an assessment on whether Carbonell could be a starter in the near future.

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One of the biggest free agents on the market this postseason, Yasmani Tomas, is among the options for the Giants in left field. The Giants are among the many teams that have been linked to having interest in Tomas, along with having him work out for them a few times this postseason.

Tomas is a power hitter who hits for average as well. In Cuba, Tomas was averaging a home run for every four games, while maintaining a batting average around .300 for three seasons.

Tomas would fill that role of a power-hitting outfielder for years to come perfectly for the Giants. The problem is Tomas’ rumored asking price. Tomas is expected to be asking for a contract worth around $100 million. The Giants won’t have that kind of money available to them right now if they expect to re-sign Pablo Sandoval: the Giants number one postseason objective.

This leads to a few of the more likely players available sign to fill the left field role for the Giants next season: Morse, Colby Rasmus, Nate Schierholtz, Torii Hunter, Matt Kemp, and Alex Rios.

Morse (30 years old) could be a very likely re-sign for the Giants. Morse loved playing for the Giants, repetitively saying in interviews how he loved the city, the fans, and his teammates. Morse provided some offensive firepower for the Giants during the playoffs, getting a few key hits that led to Giants’ victories. Although Morse is considered a “defensive liability,” he still owns a career .991 fielding percentage in left field.

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  • If the Giants were to re-sign Morse, it would likely be a two or three-year contract. Bruce Bochy would also stick to replacing Morse in the late innings of games with someone like Gregor Blanco or Juan Perez.

    Rasmus (28 years old) is a power threat. The former first round draft pick (28th overall) of the St. Louis Cardinals has averaged around 20 home runs a season during his five years in the majors between the Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays. Rasmus would provide better defense then Morse. Rasmus has played mostly center field in his career, as he’s been both the Cardinals’ and Blue Jays’ starting center fielder.

    Former Giant Schierholtz (30 years old) could be another option for the Giants in left field. The Giants already are familiar with the Gold Glove caliber defense Schierholtz displays in the outfield. Schierholtz also has flashes where he shows what he can do with the bat, like in 2013 when he hit 21 home runs for the Chicago Cubs as their starting right fielder.

    Hunter (39 years old) has been linked to the Giants once so far this postseason as potential suitors. Hunter still is a legitimate threat with the bat, after hitting 17 home runs both in 2013 and 2014 and having a batting average of .304 in 2013 and .286 in 2014. Hunter is probably even more of a “defensive liability” in left field compared to Morse though.

    Between the two (Morse and Hunter), Morse would be the better option given the age of Hunter (39) compared to Morse (30), as they both have had very similar offensive numbers along with track records for injuries.

    Another report earlier in the week from Ken Rosenthal suggested that the Los Angeles Dodgers may be looking to trade Matt Kemp. The likelihood for the Giants to get Kemp is very, very low though given the fact that the Dodgers and Giants are rivals and in the same division. Giants fans know how scary Kemp can be when healthy though.

    Now this leads to the best option for the Giants in left field: Rios, a player the Giants have been interested in for a long time. Now would be that perfect time for Brian Sabean to pull the trigger on signing him.

    Rios is a solid player who could bring both good defense and great offense to the Giants. Rios can hit 15-20 home runs per season while maintaining a respectable batting average around .280. Rios also has the ability to steal 20+ bases in a season. At only 33 years old, the Giants could sign Rios to a three or four-year contract.