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San Francisco Giants: Who’s Left for Left Field?

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September 28, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pinch hitter Alejandro De Az (45) hits a sacrifice fly scoring right fielder Marlon Byr (6, not pictured) for game-winning run during the 12th inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. The Giants defeated the Dodgers 3-2 in 12 innings. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Old Friends Marlon Byrd & Alejandro De Aza

Both Byrd and De Aza were acquired in August as waiver trades, and both contributed to the team down the stretch in their own ways. Byrd, who turned 38 years old after his deal, became a thumper in the middle of the Giants’ lineup, providing pop and run production that was sorely lacking with Hunter Pence on the shelf. De Aza became a defensive specialist, filling in as one of the many left fielders that Bruce Bochy ran out during the final month of the year. He also provided some offense as well, including a walk-off sacrifice fly (that scored Byrd) to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is always good for a point in a Giants’ player’s favor.

De Aza is the younger option, at 31 years old (turning 32 just after the season opens), and will likely come at a slightly cheaper rate than Byrd. His superior speed and defense could make De Aza the more attractive option for the Giants, but Byrd is no slouch in the field either. Byrd’s range and throwing arm aren’t on De Aza’s level, but he played a very nice right field over the final month-and-a-half of the 2015 season.

Byrd also comes as a bigger offensive threat, and after his acquisition on August 20th, he led the Giants with 18 extra-base hits and 31 runs batted in in 39 games. Things didn’t end on a high note for Byrd and the Giants, as he was quasi-benched over the final week of the season, causing him to fall just short of the necessary amount of plate appearances for his $8 million option to vest into a guaranteed option. Despite the Giants’ reported interest in a reunion (granted, it was reported way back in September), there may be some underlying hard feelings.

Both Byrd and De Aza present intriguing options to fill a void in left field, but Byrd’s age and De Aza’s lack of true impact make both players yet another stopgap. A single-season contract would allot the team’s young outfielders, Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, some time to continue their growth before being given an everyday job.

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