Best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s: 37. Denard Span
By Joel Reuter
Despite his defensive shortcomings, Denard Span was a productive table-setter in his two seasons with the San Francisco Giants.
The San Francisco Giants signed Denard Span to a three-year, $31 million contract prior to the 2016 season to replace Nori Aoki.
At the time of the signing, he was a .287 career hitter with a .352 on-base percentage and 104 OPS+ in five seasons with the Minnesota Twins and three seasons with the Washington Nationals.
He was not far removed from hitting .302/.355/.416 while leading the NL with 184 hits and finishing 19th in NL MVP voting during the 2014 season.
A slight downturn in offensive production was to be expected with the move to spacious AT&T Park, and he remained a solid offensive player in his first two seasons in San Francisco:
- 2016: 637 PA, .266/.331/.381, 39 XBH (11 HR), 70 R, 12 SB
- 2017: 542 PA, .272/.329/.427, 48 XBH (12 HR), 73 R, 12 SB
While he was worth 3.5 offensive WAR during those two seasons, his overall value was dragged down by his inability to effectively cover the expansive center field of his home ballpark.
He posted -34 DRS during his time in San Francisco, and that left him as a roughly league-average player. Still, he was signed to provide an offensive spark, and that’s exactly what he did.
Ahead of the final season of his contract, Span was packaged with prospects Christian Arroyo, Matt Krook and Stephen Woods and shipped to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Evan Longoria.
He bounced back to post a 111 OPS+ while tallying 42 extra-base hits in 501 plate appearances while splitting the season between Tampa Bay and Seattle, which was good for 1.9 WAR.
The 35-year-old has not officially retired, but a lack of interest on the offseason free-agent market has left him without a job in 2019.
Check back here regularly as we count down the 50 best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s.