Three Left-Handed Hitting Infield Targets for the SF Giants
2. Jason Kipnis
For years, Jason Kipnis was a mainstay atop Cleveland’s lineup, but he is better suited for a reserve role going forward. The 33-year-old was originally drafted by the Indians in the second round of the 2009 draft but continues to be a productive player despite being on the wrong side of 30.
Since he debuted in 2011, the left-handed bat has slashed .260/.333/.416 (102 OPS+) with 126 home runs, 545 RBI, and 136 stolen bases while being worth 21.8 WAR. This comes with a solid 9.4 percent walk rate against a 19.1 percent strikeout rate.
Furthermore, Kipnis has done damage against right-handed pitchers in his career has he hs posted a .789 OPS. As a team, the SF Giants produced a .764 OPS against righties in 2020, so there is plenty of room for improvement.
Kipnis spent the 2020 season with the Chicago Cubs after playing the first nine seasons of his career with the Indians. Despite the reduced role, the second baseman adjusted well as he generated a .744 OPS (101 OPS) in 144 plate appearances. This includes a solid 13.3 percent walk rate and a .341 on-base percentage.
In the field, Kipnis only has experience at first base, second base, and center field. Generally, players who can handle the middle of the field can shift around the diamond as well. Without seeing him play another position, there is risk that he may not be able to adjust well. That said, he only started playing center field as a 30-year-old in 2017, so he may be able to pick new positions up well.
Since he made $1 million with the Cubs in 2020, it stands to reason that he will be in the market for a similar contract this year. As Spring Training inches closer, veterans may be antsy to sign a deal and that could be an opportune time for the Giants to sweep in.