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San Francisco Giants: Rumors of interest in Zack Greinke, Justin Upton, Chris Davis, and others

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When the San Francisco Giants held their end-of-the-year press conference in October they publicly displayed their desire to target starting pitching, but recent reports suggest that they may be after something bigger. In fact, San Francisco is reported to be not only interested in top-tier starting pitchers, but also in perennial All Stars sluggers.

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  • According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, San Francisco has been associated with free agents Zack Greinke, Justin Upton, Jeff Samardzija, and Chris Davis. All four of these players have either been Cy Young or MVP finalists.

    Sherman also noted that one rival National League GM said, “I would keep an eye on them. I expect them to be aggressive.”

    To add to the hype, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports announced that word is going out that the Giants “love Grienke”, and that “Greinke, Samardzija, Mike Leake and others are on their pitching radar … Yoenis Cespedes is thought to be a consideration. The Giants may be primed for a big winter as they gear up for another even year.”

    Aug 19, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

    With Heyman, Sherman, and other reports saying that San Francisco has the financial ability to spend big in free agency, all indications are that GM Bobby Evans may have something up his sleeve. San Francisco is estimated to have over $50 million coming off the books this off-season and another $50 million after the 2016 season, setting them up for a huge financial advantage. The previous expected free agency outlook of hoping to sign a top-tier starting pitcher and be content does not seem to be the case any longer.

    The former number-one overall pick Upton has been discussed by the Giants front-office for years (with the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres), but, obviously, they have never seemed to want to pull the trigger.

    Although Upton would put a staple in an aching San Francisco outfield, the 3-time All Star has displayed his displeasure of playing at AT&T Park before:

    As for Greinke, San Francisco has been eyeing him since day one, as insiders reported as soon as he opted out of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that San Francisco will make him their primary target this winter. As Buster Olney of ESPN put it, “there is a ton of industry speculation” involving a “serious run” by San Francisco for the 2015 Cy Young finalist.

    For a guy who can provide between 30 and 50 home runs any given year, it might be worth it to give up some defense for a power threat like Davis.

    With that being said, KNBR-680 radio quoted GM Bobby Evans in response to Greinke’s desire for a contract upward of $200 million saying, “I’m not gonna eliminate anybody at this point. But that’s a tall order, that’s a huge price to pay.”

    For a guy like Samardzija, he is expected to be either a back-up option if the Giants miss out on re-signing Mike Leake or they could in fact end up signing them both if they miss out on David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, and Greinke. Although Samardzija has publicly said he would prefer to stay in Chicago, he is familiar with the Bay Area as he pitched for the Oakland Athletics in a postseason run just last season.

    Perhaps the most surprising potential Giants target is 2-time home run champion Chris “Crush” Davis. Sure, he has been a perennial power threat, but for a team without a designated hitter and that has a Gold Glove finalist first baseman in Brandon Belt, where is the logic here?

    Well, Belt has played over 50 games in the outfield in his career and has proven that he can cover some ground in left field. As another option, Davis himself has played 71 games in the outfield in his eight-year career. In fact, Davis’s agent Scott Boras said this in an ESPN article by Jerry Crasnick:

    “Chris Davis grades out as the top free agent because he’s the top outfielder, the top first baseman and the top DH,” Boras said. “He’s all of those. He’s three in one.”

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    For a guy who can provide between 30 and 50 home runs any given year, it might be worth it to give up some defense for a power threat like Davis.

    Lastly, it is still unknown and private to what Home Run derby champion and MVP candidate Yoenis Cespedes is expected to do this off-season. Although San Francisco has been linked to his name in recent reports, Cespedes’s laziness was exposed during his World Series run with the New York Mets and he is expected to be asking north of $100 million.

    Whatever San Francisco decides to do, it is now confirmed that they have bigger plans than expected and they have the money to sign big time free agents.

    Next: Free Agent Dark Horses

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