The San Francisco Giants Should Sign Nick Markakis
The San Francisco Giants have signed their first significant free agent of the off-season with the return of starting pitcher Derek Holland.
When asked about what else the San Francisco Giants might do before the start of Spring Training, team president Farhan Zaidi mentioned adding to the outfield.
Zaidi realizes that the current group of outfielders lack experience, and while they have shown signs of being productive at the major league level, there is a clear need for players that have a track record.
Steven Duggar, the likely opening day starter in center field, is coming off a season ending injury in 2018. The rookie looked great in limited time last season, but the Giants will want a second option if he struggles.
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Options are huge for Zaidi, and it is clear with the outfielders he has brought in so far that he likes guys who can play all three outfield positions.
Drew Ferguson and Mike Gerber both can play left, center and right field, which gives the Giants flexibility.
That is not the case for fellow rookie Chris Shaw, who would be limited in the outfield to left field.
Austin Slater and Mac Williamson has shown some ability to play both corner outfield spots, with Slater playing some center field as well.
As the Giants continue to pursue free agent outfielders, most fans have aspirations of Bryce Harper coming to the Bay Area, or versatile outfielder/infielder Marwin Gonzalez wearing orange and black.
Another free agent outfielder that is available and would be a smart fit is former Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves right fielder Nick Markakis.
Markakis has played almost exclusively right field his entire career, but he has also been above average at a key stat that Zaidi covets: on base percentage. A career .358 OBP hitter, Markakis did even better in 2018, hitting .366. His .806 OPS, which combines on base percentage with slugging percentage, is also a number that should entice San Francisco.
While he only hit 14 home runs in 2018, Zaidi knows adding someone who has proven to be a consistent performer and a strong defender is critical to building a starting lineup in 2019.