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SF Giants: Fan-Favorite Third Baseman Hits Free Agency

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 07: Willy Adames #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with Matt Duffy #5 after they both scored on a double by Austin Meadows #17 (not pictured) against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in Game Three of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 07, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 07: Willy Adames #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with Matt Duffy #5 after they both scored on a double by Austin Meadows #17 (not pictured) against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in Game Three of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 07, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Matt Duffy
Former SF Giants third baseman Matt Duffy (5) singles in game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Tropicana Field during his time with the Rays. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

A wave of players hit free agency on Monday including former SF Giants fan-favorite third baseman Matt Duffy.

Matt Duffy finished the season with the New York Yankees at their alternate training site, but the former SF Giants third baseman became a free agent on Monday alongside a slew of players on minor-league contracts. Of course, the mere mention of Duffy’s name brings raw emotions for many Giants fans. Not because of anything he did, but because of how he left the team.

Duffy debuted with the Giants in 2014, and after winning a World Series ring that season, he immediately became a popular and productive player.

In three seasons with the Giants, the right-handed bat slashed a .281/.326/.399 line (98 OPS+) with 16 home runs and 106 RBI. Of course, this included an impressive 2015 season where he registered a .762 OPS in 612 plate appearances while being worth 3.9 WAR and finished in second place for the National League Rookie of the year award:

However, in an injury riddled season, the slick-fielding third baseman was abruptly traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in a package that brought left-handed hurler Matt Moore back to San Francisco.

Given Duffy’s popularity, this was a difficult pill for SF Giants fans to swallow. Moore faced a tough, uphill battle to win over the fanbase. To his credit, he had some very positive moments to help the Giants down the stretch in 2016.

However, his tenure would be short-lived as the Giants traded Moore to the Texas Rangers in the 2018 offseason. In parts of two seasons, the southpaw posted a 5.12 ERA while struggling to find consistency with the Orange and Black.

Similarly, Duffy’s tenure with the Rays did not go as expected. In parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old produced a .284/.351/.357 line (97 OPS+) in 809 plate appearances while missing substantial time due to injuries.

Duffy entered free agency last offseason after the Rays designated him for assignment. The veteran infielder caught on with the Texas Rangers on a minor-league pact but was released. Following this, he served as a depth infielder with the Yankees while working out at their alternative training site.

The Long Beach State University product now enters free agency for the second consecutive season. Given his solid glove and ability to hit for a good batting average, Duffy should have no problem finding a home for 2021.

Farhan Zaidi would earn some goodwill with the fanbase by bringing back the fan-favorite. To this point, the Giants even “checked in” on Duffy before he signed on with the Yankees in July.

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Either way, Duffy should have plenty of suitors this offseason as he prepares for his second foray into free agency. For now, SF Giants fans can continue to hope that he might find a reunion with the SF Giants.

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