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Are the San Francisco Giants Contenders with McCutchen and Bruce?

Jake Mastroianni
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts as he rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam home run in the second inning during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at PNC Park on September 26, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The grand slam home run was the first of McCutchen's career. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts as he rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam home run in the second inning during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at PNC Park on September 26, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The grand slam home run was the first of McCutchen's career. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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With reports that the San Francisco Giants could be pursuing Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce, we look at if that makes them contenders in 2018.

I know there are other possible outfield scenarios that are still an option. These two aren’t a package deal — you could get one and not the other — but I’m approaching this as if these are the two guys we get to play in the outfield.

If that ends up being the case, and those are the last two moves the Giants make for the lineup, is that enough to contend in 2018?

I think the middle of that lineup, which would also include Buster Posey and Evan Longroia, could be deadly. Those moves would certainly improve the offense, and in particular the power numbers, from last year.

The one area I would be worried about if these are the guys we get in the outfield is the defense. McCutchen would be an upgrade over Denard Span, but I would be an upgrade over Span.

I don’t think McCutchen is a great defensive center fielder and fits better in a corner outfield spot.

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Now maybe the Giants put him in a corner outfield spot and allow one of the youngsters to play center field. I think that would be a better scenario. But if the Giants are getting McCutchen with the idea of him being the every day center field, I think that’s an issue.

I think the same can be said for Bruce. He is a not a great defender, and he has no business playing right field at AT&T Park.

So while those two guys certainly improve this team offensively, I think it’s a lateral move at best defensively.

Still, I think McCutchen and Bruce would certainly make the Giants contenders for a Wild Card. I’m not ready to say that they can compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers even with them in the lineup.

Next: San Francisco Giants: Boring offseason a bust for baseball

The only way we compete with the Dodgers for the division is if Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija pitch like they’re capable of more consistently.

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