The SF Giants are still in the hunt for a left-handed-hitting infielder, but if they pivot to a switch-hitter instead, there are a handful of attractive targets.
With Evan Longoria and Donovan Solano as the SF Giants incumbents at third base and second base, respectively, they will want a left-handed bat off of the bench to spot start when they face a tough, right-handed hurler.
By signing infielder Jason Vosler to a major league pact, the Giants expect to see the left-handed bat give Longoria a breather, but it is clear that they could target a more proven bat. While Vosler is on the 40-man roster right now, the organization could try to sneak him through waivers to the minor leagues if they can find a more proven alternative. With the free-agent market moving slowly, the Giants might still be in the hunt for a quality, bench bat.
Three Switch-Hitting Infield Targets for the SF Giants
1. Jurickson Profar
Jurickson Profar might be one of my favorite offseason targets as he can do a little bit of everything on the baseball field. For years, the switch-hitter was ranked one of the top prospects in baseball. In fact, Baseball America, MLB.Com, and Baseball Prospectus all ranked him as the top prospect in baseball back in 2013.
Profar originally came up with the Texas Rangers as a 19-year-old in 2012, but after several subpar seasons, he failed to become more than a solid contributor. Traded to the Oakland Athletics before the 2019 season, Profar posted an unexceptional year in Oakland. Then they shipped him to Padres last winter.
Though he has failed to live up to that hype of a top prospect, he has proven that he can still be a productive and valuable role player. In seven seasons, Profar has slashed .238/.318/.397 (91 OPS+) with 59 home runs and 222 RBI. Furthermore, he carries the type of plate discipline that the Giants front office covets as he has registered a nine percent walk rate against a 16.4 percent strikeout rate.
Albeit in a small sample, the 2020 season was a modest breakout year for the 27-year-old. When the Padres acquired him, they envisioned that he would move all around the diamond while coming off of the bench. He did appear at six different positions in 2020, but he spent the bulk of his time in left field.
Across 202 plate appearances, Profar posted a .278/.343/.428 line (113 OPS+) with seven home runs and 25 RBI. Given that he has an inconsistent track record at the plate, teams are not going to pay top dollar for the switch-hitter. However, he should see plenty of interest on the market.
In the field, Profar can play just about anywhere. He does not necessarily grade out as an above-average glove at any one position, except for left field, but he does bring versatility to the table across the infield. Given that much of the Giants roster is relatively one-dimensional with the glove, they could use a lot more versatility, and adding a player like Profar would go a long way in achieving that end.
The question with Profar will be his market and playing time. As a 27-year-old coming off of a nice season, the switch-hitter will undoubtedly look for a place where he can start. Can the Giants offer him that? San Francisco is seeking complementary position players in free agency and Profar’s skillset might be more valuable than that.