The SF Giants will have a handful of holes to fill this offseason, and several non-tender candidates could meet those needs.
In the days to come, we’ll be taking a look at several non-tender candidates who could be a fit for the SF Giants if they do, in fact, hit the open market.
First up, we need to identify the team’s areas of need this offseason.
In a perfect world, the front office would add the following to the roster before Opening Day arrives:
- Left-handed bat
- Starting pitching depth
- Veteran relievers
Texas Rangers Rangers Non-Tender Candidate: Danny Santana
Need he Fills: Left-handed bat
Throughout his seven-year career, Danny Santana has proven to be an inconsistent player. However, in some ways, he is the type of player the Giants front office targets.
In the batter’s box, the switch-hitter has demonstrated awesome power. However, he has struggled to control the strike zone.
Since he debuted in 2014, he has slashed a .260/.299/.418 line (90 OPS+) 42 home runs and 188 RBI while being worth 2.3 WAR. Furthermore, he has posted a rough 4.6 percent walk rate against a 25.8 percent strikeout rate.
He has had two strong seasons (130 OPS+ in 2014 and 112 OPS+ in 2019) mixed in with five subpar seasons, so he is not a reliable hitter. In 2019, he swatted 28 home runs and an .857 OPS in 511 plate appearances, but he followed that up with just one home run and a .511 OPS across 63 plate appearances in 2020.
Surprisingly, the underlying numbers tell a different story. Santana posted a solid average exit velocity of 90.9 MPH and a 14.7-degree launch angle last season, so he was making quality contact. With a .226 BABIP, it does seem like he just succumbed to some very poor luck in a small sample.
In my expert opinion, he would be a fine hitter if he found a way to do this more consistently:
In the field, he has experience all around the diamond. Though, given that he has been worth -15 DRS and -7.4 UZR at shortstop, experience does not necessarily correlate to competence. He is better suited for a corner outfield spot along with getting some work on the right side of the infield.
Given how he performed last year and the fact that the Rangers plan to cut payroll in 2021, Santana is definitely a non-tender candidate.
Since he can hit from either side of the plate and comes with some positional versatility, he would give the Giants modest flexibility.
However, he would need to be more of a depth option with a solid ceiling than a reliable reserve piece. The Giants need a left-handed bat, and he fits that description, but signing him to fill that need alone would be a risky move.
Still, if the Rangers decide to part ways with the switch-hitter, there are at-bats at second base and the corner outfield that are available for any player from the left side on this Giants roster. It would be well worth it for the Giants to take a flyer on Santana and see if the new hitting coaches can find a way to turn him into a more consistent hitter.