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San Francisco Giants Rumors: Giants interested in Jason Heyward Trade?

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 11: Jason Heyward #22 of the Chicago Cubs hits a single in the fifth inning during game four of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on October 11, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 11: Jason Heyward #22 of the Chicago Cubs hits a single in the fifth inning during game four of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on October 11, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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San Francisco Giants
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 11: Jason Heyward #22 of the Chicago Cubs hits a single in the fifth inning during game four of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on October 11, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants were pretty awful in 2017, and that outfield unit was one of the worst in franchise history. Now that the offseason is here, and the hot-stove is set to simmer, rumors are flying. And the first one has to be Jason Heyward.

The San Francisco Giants are apparently interested in trading for Jason Heyward, according to Phil Rogers of MLB.com.

Rogers tweeted out this afternoon that the Giants are interested in making a deal for Heyward, offering up Jeff Samardzija and/or Mark Melancon for the Cubs outfielder.

Heyward would most definitely boost the Giants’ defensive woes in the outfield. Heyward has spent most of his time in right field during his career. In that part of the yard he has a career 117.2 UZR, and a 131 Defensive Runs Saved.

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Most likely he would feature in right, but he has played a little bit of centerfield over the last few years. In 400+ innings at the position he still has a positive UZR and DRS. While advanced stats aren’t always the ones the common fan looks at, I can guarantee you that this is something the Giants are looking at.

Heyward’s bat hasn’t been great the last two years, and I’m not sure exactly what to chalk that up to. So I went to baseballsavant.com to look at what might have been going on. While his spray chart didn’t do a whole lot of inspiring of what went wrong, looking at his launch angle did. I tweeted this out so I thought I’d share it.

As explained in the tweet, Heyward’s results and launch angle on the left is from 2015. The results on the right is 2016/2017. It almost seems that his approach to swinging changed a bit, instead of looking to square up the ball and drive it, he clearly tried to put the ball in the air a lot more. Let’s take a look at the some of his “contact types” from ’15/’16/’17

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Take a look at the number of times he hit under the ball in 2016 and 2017, compared to 2015. The numbers there would indicate more of what I said above. When he moved to Chicago, it looks like he was asked to, or at least taught to put the ball into the air instead of driving the ball, which is what made him such a good hitter in Atlanta and St. Louis.

Next: Building the perfect SFG team through free agency

The Lowdown

Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon are owed a combined 32.8 million dollars next year. Heyward is owed a total of 21 million next year. While I doubt the Giants want to part with both, this is a good way to clear up salary for another move somewhere along the line. Heyward’s contract also has a player opt out clause after the 2018 season as long as he gets at least 550 plate appearances.

If he were to exercise that, he can be a free agent at least one more time in his career. If he were to not exercise that, he would likely be a Giant for the rest of his career. If the Giants want to truly make this trade, there is no way the Giants can do this AND trade for Giancarlo Stanton unless they also plan on trading away Johnny Cueto. Then after that there would still be virtually no room to sign the pitchers necessary to replace Melancon and Samardzija.

So either way, it’s likely Heyward or Stanton. Heyward fits the Giants “speed and defense” add, but Stanton is also Stanton. If the Giants were somehow able to pull it all off and get decent pitching, then this wouldn’t be terrible. But I just don’t see how that happens.

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