It’s pretty evident that the Giants will make attempts to re-sign Carlos Beltran. Brian Sabean said they would, well, eventually after they get through the Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum contractual issues. Andrew Baggerly reported it. Chris Haft reported it. Really, given the price tag paid for Carlos, not offering him a deal would be inexplicable. Now, whether Beltran takes the deal is a completely different topic – I certainly think he’ll have bidders that can out-price the Giants in the American League, using their ability to move him to DH, allowing them to throw an extra year or two on the deal. It’s going to be tough for the Giants to compete, but let’s say lighting strikes for the Giants and Beltran wants to remain in San Francisco – the Giants are going to find themselves in a bit of a roster crunch when it comes to the outfield, one that might end up harming fan favorite Brandon Belt.
Let’s start with center field, a position that Brian Sabean has expressed strong interest in upgrading. Actually, he more or less said the Giants have nobody in the current system that could man center for this upcoming season. Fantastic.
Free agent wise, there are a few outfielder rumors that continue to circle around the Giants – namely, Oakland’s Coco Crisp and Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore. Both players are a swift sea breeze away from a 25 day DL stint and while each are an upgrade over Andres Torres, you have to wonder just how much given the significant injury risk of both.
Another idea that has been floated around involves moving Nate Schierholtz to center, a prospect that grows on me daily given the current circumstances. Sure, I’d love to have Sizemore or Crisp on a small deal, but that’s not reality – paying either the money they feel they command, it’s a risk. Thankfully, with Gary Brown waiting in the wings, it wont be an Aaron Rowand size mistake financially if the Giants do make a move for a free agent outfielder, but with Schierholtz on the roster you almost want to spend the small amount of change the Giants have elsewhere.
Schierholtz, athletically, could man center, which would allow Beltran to play right as he desires and would keep Brandon Belt in the lineup, allowing him to play first or left depending on what they do with Aubrey Huff. Is it ideal? Far from it – but by bringing in a new center fielder, you’re essentially giving the corner spots to Schierholtz and Beltran, leaving Belt or Huff out. I don’t think we need the Magic 8-Ball to tell us who’s going to win the starting job at first between Huff and Belt with Bochy guiding the ship.
Am I advocating that Nate play center? Nope. Am I advocating that Beltran play right? Far from it. What I am advocating though is getting Brandon Belt in the lineup as an everyday starter, something that appears to be an issue if the Giants bring back Beltran and bring in a new center fielder.
What do you say Giant fans? How are you going to align the outfield?