San Francisco Giants starting lineup: This collection of hitters could easily improve on the club’s 2019 offensive numbers.
C Buster Posey: $22.2 million
Posey produced a career-low 84 OPS+ with just seven home runs and 38 RBI in 2019. He’s signed for two more years, so he’s not going anywhere, though the impending arrival of Joey Bart could eventually push him to first base. Can he bounce back?
1B Chris Shaw: $560,000
Shaw showed some real signs of growth in 2019, responding well to an initial assignment to Double-A and raising his walk rate from 5.0 to 7.9 percent while hitting .294/.360/.559 with 28 home runs and 94 RBI. It’s make-or-break time for the 26-year-old, and giving him a starting gig would be a nice show of confidence. If he flops, there are plenty of Luke Voit and Christian Walker types just waiting for a chance at the Triple-A level the front office could target in a low-cost trade.
2B Mauricio Dubon: $560,000
Dubon hit .279/.312/.442 with five doubles and four home runs in 28 games with the Giants after he was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers at the trade deadline. The 25-year-old may ultimately be more floor than ceiling, but he flashed enough potential on both sides of the ball to earn an extended look.
SS Brandon Crawford: $15.2 million
For better or worse, the Giants are stuck with the final two years and $30.4 million on Crawford’s contract. He’ll start the season as the everyday shortstop, but he could quickly lose playing time to Donovan Solano if he turns in another offensive clunker. An OPS+ of 75 simply doesn’t cut it in today’s game, regardless of defensive ability.
3B Evan Longoria: $15 million
Longoria quietly had a pretty good season in 2019, posting a 102 OPS+ with 20 home runs. He was on fire before suffering a foot injury, or his numbers might have looked even better. He’s not the player he once was, but after a 2.4 WAR season, he’s by no means a weak link.
LF Mike Yastrzemski: $560,000
What more could you ask of a player who was acquired in an under-the-radar swap of minor leaguers? Yaz posted a 123 OPS+ with 22 doubles and 21 home runs as a 27-year-old rookie, and while his age raises some questions about how long he’ll be a key contributor, he’s earned a starting gig in 2020.
CF Cameron Maybin: $5 million (projected signing)
A two-year, $10 million deal seems reasonable for Maybin after his resurgent season with the New York Yankees. The 32-year-old hit .285/.364/.494 with 17 doubles and a career-high 11 home runs in 82 games this past season. Other teams might be willing to offer a bit more money, but the Giants would offer an opportunity to be an everyday player.
RF Alex Dickerson: $1.2 million
He’ll likely need a platoon partner, and the Giants would be wise to have a contingency plan in place given his injury history, but Dickerson earned a starting spot when he carried the offense in July. The 29-year-old hit .290/.341/.529 for a 131 OPS+ in 171 plate appearances with the Giants in 2019.
Where did they go?
Notably absent from this list are first baseman Brandon Belt and center fielder Kevin Pillar. We’ll get to Belt a bit later, as I’ve cooked up a trade idea that sends him to the Kansas City Royals. As for Pillar, he’s simply not worth his projected $9.7 million arbitration salary. His counting numbers were nice, but a sub-.300 on-base percentage just doesn’t cut it, especially at that price.