How the SF Giants can get more at-bats for right-handed veteran slugger

Here are a few ways the SF Giants can get more at-bats for one of their best hitters.

San Francisco Giants Photo Day
San Francisco Giants Photo Day / Zac BonDurant/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages
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The SF Giants are faced with a similar dilemma this season: how will they get Wilmer Flores enough at-bats? This is a problem they have faced before, but here are a few ways that the team can be creative to ensure Flores has enough playing time to contribute.

How the SF Giants can get more at-bats for right-handed veteran slugger

Last season, Flores carried the Giants offense for much of the second half. It was quite a turnaround from the first half where he struggled to get consistent playing time due to J.D. Davis' emergence at third base and LaMonte Wade Jr. at first base.

By the end of the year, he slashed .284/.355/.509 with 23 home runs and 60 RBI. Those were pretty impressive numbers on a 2023 Giants team that struggled offensively.

Now, with the team making additions in several positions that Flores saw a lot of time in last season, it will be a challenge for manager Bob Melvin to ensure that Flores gets his at-bats. Matt Chapman was signed to be the everyday third baseman. Jorge Soler was signed to be the everyday designated hitter. Both players, if healthy, are going to play a lot irrespective of the opposing pitcher.

Flores figures to see a lot of time at first base against left-handed pitching since LaMonte Wade Jr. is much better against right-handed pitching. Outside of that, it become less clear where Flores will get his at-bats outside of rest days for other players.

There are two potential options to get Flores more playing time. Even though he is defensively limited, putting Flores at second base and moving Thairo Estrada to shortstop could be a solution at times. This could especially be true if whoever the starting shortstop is for the Giants, at this point likely either Nick Ahmed or Marco Luciano, struggles to start the year. It is not an ideal solution, but one that gets Flores' bat in the lineup.

Estrada is a much better defender at second than short and Flores is a much better defender at first rather than second, but if the offense starts off the year slow that could be a necessary move to get things kick started while sacrificing a little defense.

Another option would be to have Soler play in the outfield more. This is not an ideal solution since Soler is not a great defender, but it could provide the best lineup for the Giants. If you move Soler to one of the corner outfield spots on occasion and allow Flores to be the DH, that could get all of your best hitters in the lineup at once. One way or the other, Soler is going to see some time in the outfield over the course of a 162-game season.

Melvin will likely experiment with these configurations throughout the year to figure out what makes the most sense. One thing seems for sure, though: Floreswill get his at-bats. Every year it seems like he is the odd man out and every year injuries and poor performance from others lead the Giants to lean on Flores more heavily. It would come as no surprise if that is what happens again this season.