What if they get a big bat via trade or free agency?
The next thing would be if they really went after someone in the offense. There has to be a contingency plan for that! While everyone knows about the prospect of Giancarlo Stanton thanks to the apparent renewed, or strengthened interest in him, there are still other names that could be available. J.D. Martinez, Jay Bruce, and Lorenzo Cain are a few names that really pop out for outfielders in the upcoming free agent market.
All of those options would be expensive, but an immediate boost, especially if they wish to contend in in 2018. A Johnny Cueto opt out, or trade (trade seems more likely at the moment), would mean the Giants drop a cool $22 million off their payroll. One of Bruce/Martinez/Cain could easily fit under that. If the Giants work their salary a few other ways including getting rid of expensive but not as productive contracts (Pence and Span especially, since they combine for a cool $27.5 million for two guys who are clearly on their way out as everyday players), the Giants could easily still work out room for Giancarlo Stanton to come in via trade.
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This would be the dream scenario if they want to really try to contend in 2018:
- Left Field: Austin Slater
I still think he’s going to be the left fielder next year no matter what. I know there are other guys like Parker and Mac who have shown flashes, but he was consistently solid and provides good defense in left. Slater will be cheap as well, so frankly it’s worth it to keep him around, considering I think they add at least one bat, if not two in the outfield.
- Center Field: Lorenzo Cain
Cain hasn’t showed significant signs of slowing down defensively, and has had an incredibly productive year at 31 for the Kansas City Royals. He’d be miles better than any other center field option they have, best centerfielder on the market, I would love to see the Giants make a run at him. He’d be an easy candidate for a leadoff, or two hole type hitter.
- Right Field: Giancarlo Stanton
With Stanton in a recent interview talking about how much of a help Barry Bonds has been to him, throw in the Giants added interest, and potential moving parts, they could conceivably get a deal done for him. Yes it’s a significant contract to add on, but they really don’t have to pay Madison Bumgarner for a while, and if they can hold off on that until he absolutely has to get paid or he walks, the Luxury Tax threshold should be high enough that they can fit everyone at that level, reasonably. There really isn’t another slugger like Stanton in this league. His right handed power at AT&T will do pretty well, and if he can stay healthy, the Giants would finally get the big piece they need in the lineup.
Parker is a known quantity and can still provide decent enough defense, even if his bat isn’t going at times, to where he can be a viable fourth outfielder. That’s probably the peak of his ability anyways, so I’m sure the Giants see him there. The other thing they would need is someone who can play centerfield decently. While it might be jumping the gun on Duggar here since we haven’t seen much of him yet, we’re going to see a decent amount of him in the Arizona Fall League, so expect him to battle hard for a roster spot come Spring Training of 2018.
While those two scenarios are somewhat on the extreme end of things, I think they likely end up somewhere in the middle, which means it would look a lot like this:
- LF: Slater
- CF: Jackson (Austin)
- RF: Stanton
- 4th: Parker
- 5th: Duggar
Have anything to add? Feel free to drop in and let us know by commenting below!