As Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings come to a close in Las Vegas, new San Francisco Giants VP of Baseball ops, Farhan Zaidi, is keeping his cards close to the vest. Perhaps, the best way to proceed is not to speculate, but simply take a look at the current roster as it is and then analyze how it needs to be filled out.
At catcher the San Francisco Giants have their franchise player Buster Posey attempting to come back from a hip surgery which will most likely not be fully healed until after the season begins. They also have the promising Aramis Garcia on the roster with Pablo Sandoval, who played the position early in his career and has shown himself willing to do anything to help the team, also available. They clearly need to add an experienced major league catcher who is, ideally, a left hand batter.
Around the infield they have established starters, with expensive hard to move contracts: Evan Longoria at third, Brandon Crawford at short, and Brandon Belt at first, along with the just resigned Joe Panik, coming off a poor season yet still with an upside, manning second base.
First base should be an interesting position because Buster Posey will most likely need to play there a lot early in the year as he recovers leaving Brandon Belt, who is perhaps the Giants best hitter, essentially without a position.
The speedy Alan Hansen serves as the backup middle infielder with Pablo Sandoval backing up both third and first. As the starters seem set the glaring need here is for a backup short stop who is, ideally, a right-handed batter. Abiatal Avelino may be able to fill this role yet middle infield depth is certainly a priority.
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The outfield is clearly the thinnest of all of the position groups with young Steven Duggar in center field being the only person penciled in to start yet being a question mark himself because of his youth and recovery from a shoulder injury.
The defensively least challenging outfield position of left field seems the sure-fire destination of the displaced Brandon Belt, with Mac Williamson– also coming off injury, being another possible candidate along with Chris Shaw and even speedy infielder Alan Hansen.
The real abyss here is in the very challenging to play right field of AT&T Park. Austin Slater is listed on the official depth chart here, and can play all three outfield positions well defensively, yet has not shown as of yet in his young career the hitting ability needed from a corner outfielder.
New acquisitions Drew Ferguson and Mike Gerber appear to also be capable defensively yet unproven as a hitters. Thus adding a proven major league right fielder is really the Giants most critical need among position players. And, a right fielder at AT&T Park needs to have a good arm, good speed, and the ability to hit for power.
Therefore, I would look for the Giants to target a left-handed batting catcher, a right-handed batting middle infielder, and, most important of all, a right fielder who can throw, hit for power, and play fine defense in order to fill out their position player ranks.
Next time we will take a look at the pitching staff and its needs.