The SF Giants are still in the hunt for a left-handed hitting outfielder, but if they pivot to a switch-hitter, there are several attractive targets as well.
With Alex Dickerson, Mike Yastrzemski, Austin Slater, Mauricio Dubon, and Darin Ruf coming in as the outfield incumbents next season, the SF Giants feel good about the outfield core, but there is still room to make an addition.
Adding a switch-hitter gives Giants manager Gabe Kapler a little more flexibility as they look to leverage the platoon splits even more. There are not many options available, but the ones that are can be reeled in on a reasonable contract.
Three Switch-Hitting Outfield Targets for the SF Giants
1. Robbie Grossman
Similar to Jurickson Profar, A’s outfielder Robbie Grossman is one of my favorite offseason targets this winter as he has the skill set that the Giants front office targets. The switch-hitter was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth round of the 2008 draft but bounced around the league before finding his footing with the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics.
In eight seasons, he has slashed .252/.350/.380 (101 OPS+) line with 50 home runs and 254 RBI. Those numbers do not necessarily jump off of the page, but he brings a patient and gritty approach to the plate. Since he debuted back in 2013, Grossman has posted a stellar 12.6 percent walk rate against a 20.9 percent strikeout rate.
As a team, the Giants posted an 8.6 percent walk rate in 2020, so there is still a lot of room for improvement, and adding a player like Grossman would help in achieving that end.
The 2020 season was a modest breakout year for the 31-year-old. In 192 plate appearances, Grossman registered a .241/.334/.482 line (130 OPS+) with eight home runs and 23 RBI. He displayed surprising power that came as he posted career highs in both exit velocity (89 MPH) and launch angle (15.2 degrees).
With the glove, Grossman has experience at all three outfield positions, but he is best suited as a corner outfielder. He has never been known for his glovework, but he has improved as his career has progressed. With the Athletics, he has been work 1 DRS and 4.1 UZR over the last two seasons, so he has shown he can be a peg above-average.
The question with Grossman is going to be his market. He is a versatile outfielder with a knack for drawing a walk. There is going to be demand, and he may want a starter’s workload. Can the Giants offer that with the five outfielders they currently have? That remains to be seen, but if the two can match up, then it could make the Giants outfield a strength.
Given that he does not have the most consistent track record, Grossman’s next contract will not break the bank. He may be seeking a multi-year deal, but the annual value will not likely exceed $5 million per season. That said, he would give the Giants a patient bat that may have a little extra power if he is in the right environment.