SF Giants: Approach to Filling Offseason Need Coming into Focus
When the offseason began, the SF Giants identified adding a versatile, left-handed bat as an offseason priority.
Given that the SF Giants did not have any left-handed bats behind Evan Longoria at third base and the combination of Donovan Solano and Wilmer Flores at second base, it was likely that they would target an infielder.
In the outfield, both Alex Dickerson and Mike Yastrzemski are firmly entrenched from the left side, so there is less of a need for a left-handed bat there.
As a team, the Giants registered a stout .838 OPS against left-handed hurlers, but a less-appealing .764 OPS against right-handed pitching. That .764 mark is not a bad benchmark, but there is room for improvement.
It makes sense that the Giants would target a left-handed bad, especially one with good platoon splits against righties.
Once we connected those dots, there were a few names on the free-agent market who fit that description such as Tommy La Stella, Didi Gregorius, Jurickson Profar, or Brad Miller.
Those names would certainly check the box for a left-handed bat. However, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is an outside-the-box thinker. He thrives on making the under-the-radar moves.
We are seeing Zaidi do this by making such moves as adding Jason Vosler, Jason Krizan, and Andy Sugilio. Of course, the Giants also brought back Drew Robinson on a minor league pact as well. All four are versatile, left-handed bats (switch-hitter in the case of Sugilio) who could carve out roles with the 2021 Giants.
In the case of Vosler, he could even carve out a significant role with the club.
However, besides being left-handed and having experience around the diamond, all four have shown solid platoon splits that the Giants could leverage:
- Vosler against RHP in 2019 (AAA): .300/.371/.563 line with 19 home runs and 55 RBI in 300 at-bats
- Krizan against RHP in 2019 (AA): .289/.364./.511 line with nine home runs and 46 RBI in 225 at-bats
- Sugilio against RHP in 2019 (A): .307/.344/.385 line with three home runs and 33 RBI in 371 at-bats
- Robinson against RHP in 2019 (AAA): .268/.404/.423 line with four home runs and 23 RBI in 142 at-bats
Each bat, at various minor league levels, has demonstrated favorably platoon splits against right-handed hurlers. In the case of Vosler, that is likely the role he will fill as a part of the 40-man roster.
However, the Giants clearly want depth in that area behind Vosler as well and that is why they have brought in so many players who address the same need.
While there are still several directions the Giants could pursue to fill that need for a left-handed bat, it seems that they are quietly going with the under-the-radar approach instead. They could still add a significant left-handed bat, but the strategy that the front office is pursuing right now is how they have operated since Zaidi took over.