Hunting for the Next Best Piece: A San Francisco Giants Saga
By Nick Vezmar
For the second year in a row, the San Francisco Giants entertained a big name and fell short. This time instead of a trade veto, they simply got outbid.
Whether Bryce Harper actually wanted to play here, and whether the front office was aggressive enough, none of us will really ever know. What we do know is the San Francisco Giants ultimately offered Harper a big deal, but it was apparently not good enough to beat out Philly’s offer. You can blame taxes, the large outfield, or aliens…but it simply did not work out.
Instead of moping around and talking about what could’ve been, the Giants need to shift back into focus on the free agent market. The aim is to bolster parts of their roster that still have big question marks. The Giants still do not have a bona fide veteran outfield presence, outside of Gerardo Parra, that could start a good chunk games if the young guys are still not ready to take over. The rotation is also lacking a little spice, so adding another starter certainly can’t hurt.
One of the biggest names left on the free agent market currently is Dallas Keuchel. Although he has not been linked to any rumors involving the Giants, he can be a good asset for the rotation. Although given Zaidi’s track record, he may go after a re-tread like Gio Gonzalez. Which is not a bad addition, but he is a couple years older than Keuchel. Some of his better seasons came with the A’s, so perhaps a change of scenery to the West Coast could be a positive.
Clay Buchholz was picked up by the Blue Jays after the Harper news broke Thursday, so that eliminates him from the list. You never know, Zaidi might even consider bringing someone like Brandon McCarthy back on his squad, or maybe not. There really aren’t many other big names to choose from the pile of free agent starters. Edwin Jackson and James Shields might still be serviceable but really aren’t too much better than what the Giants have currently, whether it be veterans or younger guys.
The same can be said for free agent outfielders. The Giants missed out on Marwin Gonzalez while they were courting Harper, an unnecessary risk in my opinion, when I thought they should’ve just pulled the plug on the Harper deal last week. However, you can’t go back in time and try to fix everything. Since the Giants lost out on Harper and Marwin, they need to look for either Adam Jones or Carlos Gonzalez.
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Now I know what you’re thinking. “Nick, we cannot take a step backwards and sign some aged has beens in the outfield.” If you’re not thinking that, then kudos to you for being on my side. Carlos Gonzalez may no longer be the All-Star Gold Glove capable outfielder, but he’s healthy and it’s clear he still has some baseball left in him, and he knows the NL West. The same can be pretty much said for Adam Jones, whose power numbers dipped but hitting has remained pretty constant.
Remeber the last time the Giants signed 33 year old outfielders? They came in the form of Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. Both of them had solid years with the Giants, of course the following seasons weren’t all that great. Still, we cannot be prejudiced into thinking that older skilled players are going to hurt the team. I know Zaidi wants to go younger and stronger, but the Giants need that insurance card.
Last season and the season before the Giants experienced all kinds of injuries and setbacks in the outfield, so what’s adding one more veteran outfielder as a fallback? What if the kids don’t make it out of Spring Training with any form of relative success? What if Gonzalez or Jones has a career year in a Giants uniform? I know it seems like I’m scraping the barrel, but you can likely a good deal for either CarGo or Jones, much like you got one for Parra
Again, the idea here is to bolster some question mark spots. No, we’re not going to make a playoff run by adding two or three free agents. No, Carlos Gonzalez and Adam Jones aren’t the answer to losing out on Harper.
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The idea is to develop players they have, and see what they have in the veterans they’ve obtained. If they can sign them cheap, and they perform well, we might be talking about trading for more prospects to help the farm in the future. Either way, the Giants clock ran out the clock on Harper, it’s best they not do it with the rest of the free agent market.