The offseason is right around the corner and the free-agent speculation is just beginning. Robert Murray of FanSided stoked the flame for SF Giants fans when he suggested that the Giants would land one of the big free agents while naming Trea Turner as a potential fit.
Ranking the top 4 shortstop free agents for the SF Giants
Of course, it bears mentioning that the Giants already have a shortstop in Brandon Crawford under contract. The longtime Giants shortstop is due $16 million in 2023 in the final year of a two-year extension, $32 million extension he signed in 2021.
Murray suggests that Turner, or any of the prospective shortstops, could slide to second base for one season and then switch back to shortstop once Crawford's contract expires. If the Giants do target one of the top free-agent shortstops, who would be the best fit?
1. Xander Bogaerts
There are a lot of good shortstops in baseball, and somehow, that has led to Xander Bogaerts being overshadowed. Perhaps, overshadow is not the correct term as he has been selected to four All-Star teams while receiving down-ballot MVP votes in the last four seasons.
He has been one of the best players over the last decade and it feels like he does not receive the appreciation he deserves. The Boston Red Sox certainly appreciate him as they locked him up to a six-year, $120 million pact in 2019. This deal includes an opt-out clause that the 10-year veteran will likely exercise in an effort to land one more payday in his career.
The right-handed bat is in the midst of another strong season as he has registered a .313/.382/.463 (133 OPS+) with 14 home runs, 68 RBI, and 83 runs while being worth 5.5 bWAR in 605 plate appearances. This includes an 8.9 percent walk rate against an 18.8 percent strikeout rate.
Bogaerts home run output is unusually low in 2022, but he has eclipsed 20 homers in three of the last five seasons. He can hit and hit with power.
The one knock on Bogaerts is his defense. The 29-year-old has been worth -53 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and -35 Outs Above Average (OAA) in his career at shortstop. A move off of the position is likely sooner rather than later. That said, he still provides significant overall value with the bat.
I like Bogaerts for a lot of reasons including his offensive upside as well as his age (29) and his durability. He has appeared in over 140 games in seven of the last eight full seasons. In terms of track record and predictability, he is likely the best option.