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San Francisco Giants: Three free-agent outfielders to avoid this offseason

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 22: Billy Hamilton #9 of the Atlanta Braves singles in the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park on September 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 22: Billy Hamilton #9 of the Atlanta Braves singles in the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park on September 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JUNE 09: Carlos Gonzalez #2 of the Chicago Cubsbats against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on June 09, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JUNE 09: Carlos Gonzalez #2 of the Chicago Cubsbats against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on June 09, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez was on the San Francisco Giants radar last offseason.

Team president Farhan Zaidi and agent Scott Boras reportedly discussed a potential fit during spring training, though CarGo eventually wound up signing with the Cleveland Indians on a minor league deal.

Before you go licking your chops at the chance of getting a career .285/.343/.500 hitter who averages 20 home runs per season, there are some necessary reality checks.

First off, don’t expect the legs he once had — on the bases or in the outfield. The decline in speed here was nearly instantaneous. After four consecutive seasons of 20-plus steals from 2010 to 2013, he has totaled just 15 in the past six seasons.

But most people look to CarGo for his power anyway, so forget the speed.

Gonzalez has a whole decade’s worth of stats in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field with the Colorado Rockies. There’s going to be some obvious inflation within the extra-base statistical categories because of that, but we can still analyze the numbers.

Some pundits may point to career highlights of Gonzalez as proof of his worth, which include a 40-homer season, three seasons with a .300 average, four seasons of at least 90 RBI, three Gold Gloves, and a third-place finish in 2010 NL MVP voting.

The reality of the situation is that he’s simply no longer the hitter he once was during his prime.

At 34 years old, he’s coming off a season where he played just 45 games at the MLB level, hitting .200/.289/.283 with three doubles and three home runs in 166 plate appearances with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs.

He was released by the Cubs at the beginning of July and remained a free agent for the remainder of the season.

While his track record is impressive, it would be wise to steer clear of Carlos Gonzalez at this point in his career.

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