As the SF Giants continue to look for a left-handed bat in the outfield, two targets have recently emerged to the surface. In a report by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the SF Giants are continuing to monitor the markets for former Minnesota Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario and former Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
SF Giants Targeting Eddie Rosario and Jackie Bradley Jr.
In a mild surprise, the Twins placed Rosario on waivers shortly before the deadline to tender contracts for arbitration-eligible players in November. He became a free agent after going unclaimed. With a projected arbitration salary between $8.6 million – $12.9 million, the Twins felt they could get better value elsewhere.
That said, Rosario put together a nice season as he slashed .257/.316/.476 (115 OPS+) with seven doubles, 13 home runs, and 42 RBI while being worth 1.1 WAR in 231 plate appearances. Interestingly, the 29-year-old has received MVP votes in each of the last two seasons.
In the field, Rosario has experience at all three outfield positions, but the defensive metrics (-3 DRS in RF, -2 DRS in CF) suggest that he is best suited for left field.
On the other hand, the Giants had previously expressed interest in Bradley, so it is no surprise that they continue to be connected to the longtime Red Sox center fielder. The 2020 campaign was a solid one for the left-handed bat as he registered a .283/.364/.450 line (118 OPS+) with 11 doubles, seven home runs, and 22 RBI while being worth 2.1 WAR in 217 plate appearances.
While the bat is a bonus, Bradley is known for his work in the outfield. The defensive metrics love his work in center field as he has been worth 53 DRS and 36.5 UZR since he debuted back in 2013. Of course, he also brought home the American League Gold Glove Award for center field in 2018, so his work has not gone unnoticed.
Bradley might offer some of the highest upside of any free-agent outfielder now that George Springer is off of the market. However, interested suitors might be concerned about an inconsistent bat that has registered an OPS+ north of 100 just once in the last four seasons.
The question with either option is fit. The SF Giants have a lot of outfield options with Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Mauricio Dubón, Darin Ruf, and Austin Slater. Dickerson and Slater bring some injury risk to the table, so the Giants need some outfield depth.
Rosario would quickly become one of the Giants’ most potent bats, but he is limited defensively. Adding Bradley makes a lot of sense since the Giants are thin on center field options behind Dubón and Steven Duggar. There are risks and rewards with either option.
After adding three starters, three relievers, and one position player to the major league roster, the SF Giants do not appear to be done. The front office said they were going to target a left-handed bat, and they continue to survey the market for potential upgrades. At the very least, either Eddie Rosario or Jackie Bradley would both bring intriguing qualities to the outfield mix.