San Francisco Giants: Early 2016 Roster Chatter

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Aug 23, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Nori Aoki (23) attempts to bunt for a hit against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Left field has been a questionable position for the Giants since winning their first title in 2010. Andres Torres, Cody Ross, Michael Morse, Gregor Blanco, Aoki, and Juan Perez have all taken turns out there.  Not that there has been no production, there has not been a reliable everyday player which has hurt them in terms of offensive and defensive consistency.

Pence has been the only guarantee in the outfield for every day duty as was Pagan before 2013 when he became injury plagued. Aoki looked to be a bargain as a last minute signing before Spring Training on a one year deal and showed his on-base capabilities at the top of an improved Giants offense. Then, a broken foot and a concussion have appeared to take more out of him than expected.

Returning from both injuries, Aoki never appeared to be the same, impacting his offseason value and potential return to the Giants.

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When Pagan returned from knee tendinitis, Blanco had been taking on left field duties and has been a nice fill in once again as he too was one of the Giants having a break out year.

Once the World Series is complete, the Giants will have an opening that needs to be filled. Who is going to be that option?

Let’s look in-house first. Blanco has proved he can play every day with his defense and improved patience at the plate. Perez is another option, if Pagan does not return and a shift for Blanco to center field seems deemed a fit. Perez had a good minor league season and did what he needed to do in limited action up in the big leagues given to him by Bruce Bochy .

Some minor league options who need a good spring to be considered for the left field spot are Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker.

Williamson’s season for the Sacramento River Cats, was his first after returning from Tommy John surgery, and Parker is a former college standout at the University of Virginia. It has been a slow process for both, but the River Cats got a boost with their play this year.

If the Giants front office feels neither are ready, here are some free agent options the Giants could consider:

Yoenis Cespedes

Colby Rasmus

Gerardo Parra

Alejandro De Aza

Cespedes and Justin Upton are going to get paid this offseason. But Cespedes is the better player. Putting on a show after a deadline move that will be remembered for a while, Cespedes may be playing to get the New York Mets their first title since 1986 — and he could be playing his way to a hefty contract by bringing himself a lot of attention.

The Giants have not had a slugger in left field since the great, Barry Bonds, and maybe it is time they bring one back.

Not to disregard the power and play of Pence, but Cespedes has a defined role as a slugger and excellent defensive arm. There really is no explanation for the fact that he’s been moved frequently over the last couple of years, but New York seems to have brought out the best in Cespedes.

Parra was a talked about at both trade deadlines, but a deal never seemed imminent or at least, one didn’t go through. Parra has been a top of the order guy for Arizona, Milwaukee, and Baltimore. One would assume Baltimore would love to have him back, rather than lose him in free agency like they lost Nick Markakis this past year.

Rasmus is a powerful hitter who strives for extra base hits, but comes with a lot of plate approach woes — mainly his high rate of strikeouts — and injury concerns. Once a promising St. Louis Cardinals prospect, he never panned out and found his way to the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros. Being a cheap option, the Giants could look to offer him a one or-two-year deal and hope he can stay on the field.

De Aza was brought over from the Boston Red Sox at the waivers deadline, but has seen limited action. Bochy has not found favorable matchups for the newly acquired outfielder. Odds are, they will let him walk in the offseason.

Brycer Harper, quite a long-shot as a trade scenario, would be interesting. San Francisco isn’t known to make many big splashes — the last being Barry Zito — but Zito never performed at the level he played at in Oakland.

Harper turns 23 in October, and also faces the brink of elimination from the playoffs in 2015 — on top of a shaky atmosphere in Washington.

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Harper is their franchise and an intense player, and they are going to have to pay him, or let him walk. The best case scenario would be to trade him and get what they can in return, and the Giants could give Washington a haul of farm system prospects.

While many cringe at the surprise departure of Keury Mella in the Leake trade with the Cincinnati Reds, a Harper trade would need likely require a haul that included Tyler Beede, Williamson, Ty Blach, and probably much more — raising doubt that fans and the front office would allow for it to happen.

Harper plays well in San Francisco and likes the city, but when he’s a free agent, the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, and the Boston Red Sox are all going to be knocking on his door — and another Albert Pujols type deal may be in the works.

The Giants will likely shy away from parting with so many prospects or having to spend big on the young superstars in today’s game.


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