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SF Giants: A's outfielder "absolutely fits what Giants do"

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics / Jason O. Watson/GettyImages
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While much of the offseason discussion has revolved around re-signing Kris Bryant or signing Chris Taylor in free agency, the SF Giants will likely check in on another right-handed bat as well. Oakland A's outfielder Mark Canha will become a free agent for the first time in his career and he would check off a lot of boxes.

SF Giants: A's outfielder "absolutely fits what Giants do"

Giants beat writer Susan Slusser was on KNBR earlier this week and she was asked about the idea of signing Canha. She believes that Canha "absolutely fits what the Giants do... they (Giants) like guys who have great at-bats."

Canha certainly fits that description and he fits what the Giants need. The Giants struggled to get consistent production out of their outfield contingent in 2021. Mike Yastrzemski had a down year but remained a solid contributor, whereas Alex Dickerson did not hit righties as he has in the past.

On the other hand, Darin Ruf, LaMonte Wade Jr., Steven Duggar, and Austin Slater turned in good seasons in the roles that they filled. With Dickerson likely to become a free agent, the Giants might have an open spot to add one more outfielder.

Mark Canha makes a lot of sense for San Francisco. The Giants will be tied to Kris Bryant and Chris Taylor this offseason, but Canha would give them a good outfielder who has a good track record as an everyday player. It bears mentioning that the biggest difference between the three options just mentioned is that Canha is an outfielder and first baseman only, whereas Bryant and Taylor can play all over the field.

Canha was selected by the Miami Marlins in the seventh round of the 2010 draft out of the University of California - Berkeley. He was plucked away in the Rule 5 draft by the Colorado Rockies in 2014 but he was traded to the Oakland A's on that same day.

This turned out to be a shrewd addition for the A's. In seven seasons with Oakland, the San Jose native slashed .244/.344/.431 (114 OPS+) with 89 home runs, 294 RBI, and 346 runs scored. Canha struggled in his first couple of seasons with the A's as he registered a 92 OPS+ from 2015-2017. But, the A's remained patient and that was rewarded as Canha blossomed into an excellent player in the ensuing four seasons.

Canha has a history of handling left-handed pitching (.786 OPS) but he hits righties as well (.755 OPS) so he could be used in a platoon role or as an everyday player. To Susan Slusser's point, Canha does consistently produce good at-bats.

He has produced a .344 on-base percentage and he commands the strike zone well as he has posted a 10.2 percent walk rate against a 22 percent strikeout rate since debuting with the A's back in 2015. Plus, he does not fish outside of the strike zone often (28 percent O-swing %), so he has a good idea of the type of pitches he can do damage against and he does not deviate from that plan often.

These are the types of qualities that the Giants have been emphasizing in recent years and Canha would bring more of that to the table.

Depending on the defensive metrics used, Canha has produced mixed results with the glove. He has been worth -25 Defensive Runs Saved as an outfielder throughout his seven-year career, but he has recorded 0 Outs Above Average. He has either been way below-average or perfectly average depending on how you measure it.

Perhaps, he is at an age where defensive ability rapidly declines but the Giants' shifting strategy seems to put players in a position to make the play. Darin Ruf is an example of an outfielder who had a reputation as a below-average defender earlier in his career but he has become a competent outfielder over the past couple of seasons.

The Giants will likely be in the market for an outfielder or two, especially one who hits from the right side. They will enter next season with Austin Slater and Darin Ruf as the incumbent, right-handed-hitting outfielders, and adding one more would give them balance. Canha checks off a lot of boxes at a cost that the team can easily assume.

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