San Francisco Giants: Projecting the 2018 Outfield Group
By Daniel Sperry
The Giants Make No Moves to Bring Someone In
The first plan is if they make no significant moves from outside the organization to bring someone in. That’s via trade, free agency, or international signings. We do have to be prepared for that. Why? Well, while the free agent class for this offseason is pretty impressive, the 2019 list is absolutely stacked. The Giants may just wait to make their play until then. So who could they possibly be interested in during that window that would make them not attempt to upgrade that miserable outfield core right now? Here’s a glimpse:
- Bryce Harper
- Daniel Murphy
- Adam Jones
- Andrew McCutchen
- Greg Holland
- Andrew Miller
- Brian Dozier
- Patrick Corbin
- Drew Pomeranz
- Cody Allen
- Dallas Keuchel
- Michael Brantley
That’s just to name a few.
The Giants could easily just wait out some of the ridiculous contracts that they have under their belt, and then clear a lot of room and re-tool mainly for 2019 and beyond. According to Spotrac.com the Giants would have about $146 million on their roster for 2019 with just current contracts they have.
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Matt Moore and Madison Bumgarner both have club options for that year. The way things are going, you can assume Bumgarner is there, and Matt Moore is not. You also have Johnny Cueto and Mark Melancon who both will have player options at that point.
So it could be even less. Throw into account the fact that the luxury tax threshold will jump up to $206 million by then, the Giants will have plenty of room. If they choose to make their play in the 2019 window and not worry so much about competing in 2018, and look for development, I could see this as your Giants’ 2018 outfield:
- Left Field: Austin Slater
Slater was very good in his minimal time at the big league level. He’s been showing he has what it takes at each level, and certainly will be a part of the big league picture in 2018. I think he ends up as the starting left fielder and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him stay there.
- Center Field: Steven Duggar
This depends entirely on how he does in the Arizona Fall League and in Spring Training. But at his best, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a solid shot at the center field position. He’s the best true centerfield prospect they have in the organization right now. Denard Span will play in left for the most part, if he’s even around in 2018, so Duggar gets the nod for me, especially if he shows he’s ready for it.
- Right Field: Hunter Pence
Pence will stick around if they see 2018 as a development/rebuild year. It’s possible he phases out as an everyday player, especially if someone like Chris Shaw, Mac Williamson, or Jarrett Parker can wrestle the job away from him. He has been pretty awful this year, so it’s also conceivable that the Giants may be looking to move on from him after this season. If that’s the case, then obviously they have something else planned.
- Fourth Outfielder: Jarrett Parker
Seems logical. He can play both left and right, can somewhat play centerfield, and has solid pop. I expect him to stick around, but maybe not as an everyday player.
- Fifth Outfielder: Gorkys Hernandez
HE’S NOT THAT BAD. He was awful to start the season, but somehow worked his average up to .268. I wouldn’t want him in a bigger role than fifth outfielder though.