San Francisco Giants: Who Will Play Left Field in 2016?

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CF Adam Eaton

Sep 3, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton (1) before the game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Eaton left the National League West a few years ago, as part of a three-team trade that sent Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks. Now, having been with the White Sox — a team that has not been going in the direction they wanted — his playing value has increased in recent years.

After a slow start to 2015, Eaton finished by putting up a strong season to accumulate 98 runs scored, 175 hits, 18 stolen bases, and 51 extra base hits from the lead off spot. In San Francisco, he would take over the lead off spot and put himself in lots of opportunities to score runs with Panik, Duffy, Posey, Pence, Belt, and Crawford behind him in the lineup.

While Eaton may be a centerfielder, he is capable of playing left field as well. But due to the health of Pagan and concerns about Blanco now, their platooning can be shifted to left field and Eaton would take over center on a regular basis.

The White Sox got to love Eaton’s production, but the emergence of Trayce Thompson, could push the team to move Eaton to a corner outfield spot or trade him. Only 26 years-old, he has a fairl team-friendly contract (5 years, $23.5 million currently) which would allow the available money the franchise has to go after a top-notch pitchers and other needs.

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Eaton alone tallied more home runs (14) than Aoki, Pagan, and Blanco combined (13). Speed is also an attribute Eaton would bring over to the club — something that Kelby Tomlinson reintroduced to the Giants — after a steady decline in the stolen base department in recent years.

Overall, Eaton’s defense is decent — nothing of the elite caliber — but his speed would allow him to cover a lot of ground in a ballpark where he once used to play every year as a visiting member of the Diamondbacks.

Eaton’s hard play, however, is something to note as he has been nicked up during his three years with the White Sox. In 2015, he finished with 153 games played, the best total yet of his young career.

As this move would not be a free agent signing, the Giants would have to give up prospects to acquire Eaton. Though, the price tag shouldn’t be too damaging to the farm system. The Giants are no strangers to trades as in 2012, they made multiple outfield moves to bring Pagan and Melky Cabrera to San Francisco.

A gaping hole in left field and uncertainity in center fielder, Eaton creates an opportunity to provide an every day outfielder that would allow skipper Bruce Bochy to not have to worry about subbing for him later in games to provide more defense.

Next: Jarrett Parker