The trade deadline is only a few hours away and the SF Giants are still surveying the market for a corner outfield bat. Miami Marlins outfielder Adam Duvall is one of the many trade targets remaining and Giants fans have often theorized about the slugger returning to San Francisco. That said, he would not be a good fit for the club.
SF Giants: One popular outfield target who is not a good fit
Since being traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with pitching prospect Keury Mella in exchange for reliable righty Mike Leake in 2015, Duvall has proven to be one of the better power bats in the game. The 32-year-old came up as a corner infield prospect but turned into a premier corner outfielder upon joining the Reds.
The trade that sent him to Cincinnati is one of the more unfavorable moves made by the front office over the last decade. Since then, Duvall has made stops with the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins.
The right-handed bat inked a one-year, $3.25 million contract with Miami in the offseason and that is a move that could pay modest dividends. Duvall has turned in a strong season at the plate, registering a .229/.227/.478 line (102 OPS+) with 41 runs, 68 RBI, and 22 home runs while being worth 1.9 WAR across 339 plate appearances.
This includes a 6.2 percent walk rate against a 31 percent strikeout rate. The lack of plate discipline is one of the reasons why he would not be a good fit for the Giants. After all, San Francisco has been one of the most disciplined lineups in baseball, posting a 10.1 percent walk rate in 2021.
The other reason is leverage. Traditionally, Duvall has not demonstrated extreme platoon splits (.755 OPS against RHP, .775 OPS against LHP) in his eight-year career. The 2021 campaign has been a slightly different story as Duvall has hit better against right-handed pitching (.805 OPS) than he has against southpaws (.619 OPS).
The Giants have a need for a bat who can handle left-handed pitching, and while Duvall has typically done well against lefties, he does not give them the platoon advantage they desire. The Giants roster has been built on interchangeable pieces that manager Gabe Kapler can use and replace in the middle of the game when a favorable situation arises.
Duvall does not necessarily bring that advantage to the table. Rather, he hits well against both-handed pitchers and that is not a bad trait. It is just a trait that the Giants do not normally target.
When you consider a roster full of players such as LaMonte Wade Jr., Darin Ruf, Austin Slater, and Tommy La Stella, these are players who give the Giants a distinct platoon advantage. Duvall’s skill set does not fit that role.
On the bright side, if the SF Giants decided to swing a trade for him, the cost would be minimal. It would be a fun story for Adam Duvall to return to the team that selected him in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. However, it was a different front office back then and the current regime seeks a type of versatility and flexibility that Duvall does not provide.