Rumor: SF Giants interested in outfielder from division rival

Championship Series - Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Five
Championship Series - Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Five / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

The SF Giants continue to cast a wide net to bolster the lineup as a new rumor connects them to a division rival. Juan Toribio of MLB.Com reports that the Giants are one of at least six teams to kick the tires on outfielder Chris Taylor.

Rumor: SF Giants interested in outfielder from division rival

The Giants have checked in on a couple of right-handed-hitting outfielders including Mark Canha and Nick Castellanos. It makes sense that Taylor would be added to the search at some point. Given how often that San Francisco has been connected to an outfielder this offseason, it feels like they will land at least one notable position player.

The Giants do not necessarily need to improve the lineup as many of the key roles are already solidified but adding a player like Taylor would give them a unique advantage. The 31-year-old can do just about everything on the baseball field including moving seamlessly from the infield to the outfield.

There are not many players who are competent at six different positions and the Giants have become an organization that favors versatility. Of course, his value extends beyond just his glove.

The right-handed bat struggled to stick with the Seattle Mariners before breaking out with the Dodgers following a midseason trade in 2016. Since that trade, Taylor has become a key cog for the Dodgers, especially against left-handed pitching.

In eight seasons, the utility man has registered a .261/.337/.443 line (109 OPS+) with a 9.3 percent walk rate against a 27.5 percent strikeout rate. The 2021 season was one of his best as he posted a .782 OPS with 20 home runs, 73 RBI, 92 runs scored while being worth 2.6 WAR across 582 plate appearances. This includes a National League All-Star nod.

As a team, the Giants did not get enough consistent production from the outfield contingent, including from their left fielders who combined to post a .689 OPS in 2021. There are a lot of at-bats for a right-handed-hitting outfielder as the Giants are likely to begin next season with a trio of left-handed bats including Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Steven Duggar.

Darin Ruf and, to a lesser extent, Austin Slater are projected to see playing time from the right side in the outfield. There is plenty of room for another right-handed bat. Plus, Taylor has seen extensive time at shortstop and second base, which could help manage the workload for Brandon Crawford and Tommy La Stella, respectively.

Taylor is expected to draw a lot of interest in the free-agent market. That said, some teams might be unwilling to sign the eight-year veteran given that he rejected a qualifying offer. If he signs with a team other than the Dodgers, then that team will lose a draft pick as a result.

That fact does not seem to be a deterrent for the Giants as they are checking in on a variety of players including those who rejected qualifying offers. Taylor makes a lot of sense for the Giants, but he has the type of skill set that makes sense for a lot of teams. The 31-year-old is in an envious position as he should score a lucrative, multi-year deal in free agency.