San Francisco Giants: Three free-agent outfielders to avoid this offseason
Oh, how San Francisco Giants fans would love to avoid this one.
Yasiel Puig will be an intriguing candidate in free agency this year after another strong season between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians.
“But wait, didn’t someone just write that Puig could be a good free-agent target for the Giants?”
Yes, and Puig did finish with the same solid numbers this season (.276 BA, 24 HR, 19 SB) as he averaged with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017 and 2018 (.264 BA, 26 HR, 15 SB), so the production and consistency are there.
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And yes, he has a cannon for an arm, which would be beneficial in the spacious right field of Oracle Park.
This past season was Puig’s first experience in changing teams, and he did so twice. He is an emotional player — Giants fans have seen that more than once — and the emotions seem to have gotten the best of him when changing teams.
Puig was traded to the Reds last December. Even with months to adapt to new surroundings, team, and culture, Puig finished March and April hitting just .192/.226/.354.
The numbers improved — had hit .289 from June 1 through July 31 — and he had brought his season totals up to 22 home runs, 61 RBI, and 14 steals by the trade deadline. But less we forget, that was done while playing half of his games in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark.
Puig was then sent to the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline in the three-team deal that brought Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati.
He hit a respectable .253/.327/.404 with just two home runs after the trade. Decent numbers, but not what he had produced pre-trade, and not what the Indians were hoping for when they acquired him. He went without a home run in 97 plate appearances in the month of September.
There are a lot of questions to ask here.
How will his emotions impact him if he were to join the San Francisco Giants? What would the statistical result be?
More important still, what would the locker room be like if he were acquired and the team was to bring back Madison Bumgarner?
The San Francisco Giants may have found some mid- to long-term solutions in the outfield in 2019. If the team is going to target an outfielder this offseason, they should steer clear of Billy Hamilton, Carlos Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig.