It’s going to be a busy offseason for the San Francisco Giants with several key players hitting free agency and multiple holes to fill on the roster.
As the off-season begins for the San Francisco Giants, we here at Around the Foghorn will be examining some of the free-agent options the team might explore.
One of those options is former public enemy No. 1 in San Francisco: Yasiel Puig
Before you light me up in the comment section, hear me out.
While Puig might not look like a plausible fit at first glance, let’s remember that there was a time when it would have been equally laughable to suggest that Richard Sherman would one day wear a San Francisco 49ers uniform.
The state of the San Francisco Giants outfield heading into 2020 is stronger than it has been in quite some time. Mike Yastrzemski had a breakout year, Kevin Pillar was extremely productive after being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays, and Alex Dickerson showed flashes of brilliance with the bat when he was healthy.
Yastrzemski will definitely be on the 2020 team, and according to Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News, it is unlikely that the Giants will move on from Pillar this off-season.
That locks down center field and one of the corner spots, but the other corner spot is up in the air.
That is where someone like Puig could be a potential fit, and antics and previous villainy aside, he is a solid ballplayer.
While splitting the 2019 season between Cincinnati and Cleveland, he hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI.
It stands to reason that his numbers would dip a bit playing in Oracle Park for half of the year, but a similar level of production coupled with his defensive prowess would give the Giants a very strong outfield.
It’s also worth noting that he’s a career .299/.361/.477 hitter in 191 plate appearances at AT&T/Oracle Park, so he has not had any trouble producing in San Francisco while suiting up for the opposition.
Still, is he worth both the cost and the headaches over the course of a multi-year deal?
I really do not think he would be and it’s still hard to imagine San Francisco Giants fans rooting for a guy who was and is still so loathed. In the search for a corner outfielder, there are other free-agent options for the front office to consider.
Chicago Cubs slugger Nick Castellanos who would surely command more money than Puig, but he would come with far less baggage, and he’s a year younger coming off a more productive season.
Or what about a reunion with Hunter Pence? He won’t break the bank, but he’s probably best suited as a DH at this point in his career, and that could be one too many hits of nostalgia after manager Bruce Bochy’s sendoff.
The Giants could also opt for a revolving door of sorts in left field, which is essentially what they’ve had since Barry Bonds was still roaming the position. That would keep a clear path for top prospect Heliot Ramos, who reached Double-A in his age-19 season and could debut at some point in 2020.
Deep-seated passions aside, signing Yasiel Puig does make some level of sense for the San Francisco Giants. But when you factor in all of the baggage, it becomes clear that Farhan Zaidi will be better off searching elsewhere as he looks to bolster the outfield.