San Francisco Giants: Early 2016 Roster Chatter

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`Sep 4, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan (16) hits an RBI single during the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Coming over from the Mets before the 2012 season, Pagan’s value surely did increase after an MVP-like caliber season thanks to a small move by Brian Sabean. Pagan sparked the top of the Giants’ lineup with his all-out hustle and speed. And by getting himself into scoring position, he assisted the run producers.

After his break-out 2012 and helping bring San Francisco another title — the second in three years — the front office rewarded Pagan for his play. But that did not last long.

2013 was the start of his seemingly continual health problems which has led to a questionable future for Pagan. For a guy who worked his tail off and hustled on all plays, whether they appeared dead or not, it is difficult for many, to see the injuries get the best of him.

Blanco had no choice but to come in for the injured Pagan, and appears that he may dethrone the centerfielder. Once a pupil and relief effort to Pagan, the apprentice may soon surpass the master to the benefit of the team’s future. Pagan’s leadership is an excellent quality, but his play is no longer supporting it. The end of Pagan as an everyday player or a Giants member is a distinct possibility.

Splitting center field duties is but one solution the team could look at this offseason, with Blanco now likely becoming the every day center fielder. If the Giants decide that neither Blanco or Pagan are suitable to be the everyday starter in center though, they could turn to the minor leagues and lean on their prospect Daniel Carbonell or convert Kelby Tomlinson into a center fielder.

Tomlinson was brought up when the Panik injury occurred and he took the fan base by storm, giving the team shocking production in the time of need. His speed, and most importantly his goggles, electrified a fan base that needed to see hope and prove the Giants were still going to fight.

Carbonell is a prospect the Giants signed out of Cuba and are patiently waiting for him to develop. Gary Brown, the Giants former first round pick, was expected to be the future, but his bat never came around and his journey around the league continues. This paves the way for Carbonell who finished off a poor start to the minor league season in impressive fashion.

Most likely, he is going to earn an invite to Spring Training again and this year, Carbonell is going to challenge for that starting spot. If the Giants do not find an answer for their center field woes within, here are some free agent options they could turn to:

Dexter Fowler

Will Venable

Rajai Davis

Austin Jackson

Many believed that Fowler would be an ideal fit for a Giants outfield that was plagued by depth once again. In Colorado, he was an extra base machine and stole bases for a high octane offense that couldn’t stay healthy. Fowler’s success relies on others who can bring him in, but has had a career year with the Chicago Cubs after the Astros surprisingly traded him before the 2015 season began.

New manager, Joe Maddon, found him a home at the top of his lineup, where he is on pace to cross home plate over 100 times.

Being a free agent, his value has increased and a return to the Cubs seems likely. But if a team needs a lead off hitter, they may try to outbid Theo Epstein and the Cubs’ front office. Familiar with the NL West, Fowler seems equipped to handle the outfield at AT&T Park and he provides a patient lead off hitter.

But a potential high price tag for a lead off hitter could scare away the Giants and have them turning to other, more affordable, players or whoever is in their system.

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  • Venable was talked about at the waivers trade deadline, but the Texas Rangers got to him before the Giants. Plus, a Padres team who felt they were still able to fight and contend in the NL West after the non-waiver deadline. Trading within division was not going to happen. With fresh legs thanks to his limited play, Venable would have provided the Giants speed and extra base assistance at the top of the lineup.

    Pagan is one of the oldest center fielders in baseball today, with Davis right there with him. Both are 34 years old and their best days seem to be behind them for the most part — though Davis has enjoyed better health.

    Davis played for San Francisco for a short time in the past, but he was never the type of player he is today. Davis doesn’t provide a whole lot other than defense and steals, but hey isn’t that what you want in a speedy center fielder? With limited to no power, Davis was turning in home runs for triples and stolen bases. Stolen bases have been significantly down for the Giants the last few years, and they could use more of a boost.

    Jackson is an interesting case as he found his way out of Seattle, but it appeared that the Mariners, knowing he would be a free agent, just got what they could for him. With the Detroit Tigers, Jackson put up excellent numbers as he had a powerful supporting cast that was able to drive him in.

    But that would not have happened if it weren’t for his ability to get on base. He has the ability to score over 100 times and steal more than 20 bases, thought that ability seemed to vanish while he was in Seattle. With his value down and added to the Cubs for the rest of the season, Jackson could be affordable and help the Giants in the order ahead of Panik, Matt Duffy, Buster Posey, and Pence.

    If re-signing Pagan is not an option and they feel the free agent pool is weak, Sabean could always go the route he took in 2012 and trade for an outfielder, such as Adam Eaton. Already in a logjam in Arizona, the Diamondbacks traded Eaton to the White Sox a couple of years ago, where he has thrived. Injuries are his only enemy as he has struggled to stay on the field for the White Sox for an entire season.

    There is another logjam in Chicago though, as Trayce Thompson has emerged, and Melky Cabrera could be moved to center. It could give the Giants the opportunity to pick up a valuable asset.

    PREDICTION: Gregor Blanco/Angel Pagan platoon 

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