Should the SF Giants take a chance on a 2022 All-Star bat?

May 7, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. (2)
May 7, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. (2) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins have floundered ever since new president Peter Bendix took over.  After squeaking into a Wild Card berth last year, it doesn’t look like they’ll be enjoying a repeat performance after starting this season 10-29. Should the SF Giants take a chance on Marlins 2022 All-Star Jazz Chisholm Jr?

Should the SF Giants take a chance on a 2022 All-Star bat?

Bendix also just got done trading away their best hitter, Luis Arraez, to the Padres, unfortunately for the SF Giants. Well in advance of the trade deadline, the Marlins are open for business, and everything must go.  That’s why it might behoove the Giants to make a few phone calls about the availability of Chisholm Jr.

The trouble with Chisholm Jr. over his young career has typically been staying healthy, with turf toe costing him several months last year being his latest malady.  He has only played in over 100 games once in parts of five seasons, and even then, he set a career-high of just 124 back in 2021. 

The following season, it looked like he might have finally been taking the step forward into superstar status that his raw talent had been teasing.  He only made it 60 games into 2022, but was worth 2.6 WAR in that time per FanGraphs, which is pretty amazing to accomplish in two months’ worth of games.  He has an excellent blend of power and speed, and he plays the game with flair, something this Giants team lacks perhaps even more than talent.

This year, though Jazz’s overall slash line of .236/.314/.400 (103 wRC+) has been more solid than great, the two key areas he’s stood out are his ability to run hard and hit the ball hard.  He’s barreled 12.9% of his batted balls, which is the second-highest of his career and in the 86th percentile of all qualified hitters this year per Statcast. 

That’s helped him to swat five homers to this point, and his gap power would play extraordinarily well in Oracle Park thanks to the speed element that he brings.  His sprint speed of 28.4 feet/second is 71st in MLB, which is lower than Tyler Fitzgerald, Matt Chapman, and Jung-Hoo Lee, but he’s stolen what would be a team-leading 8 bags in 9 opportunities and is in the 99th percentile of Statcast’s baserunning run value.

If the Giants decide they’re serious about trying to acquire the veteran bat, they’ll have to figure out where they’ll want to play him.  He moved to center field before the 2023 season and has handled the switch well, but also has experience at both middle infield positions before that.  With Lee having center field locked up, Chisholm Jr. would be a big middle infield upgrade over current starter Nick Ahmed.  Between Chisholm Jr. and Thairo Estrada, Estrada is the superior defender of the two, so the Giants would have to decide whether they should move Estrada to short or keep their best defender at his best position and slot Chisholm Jr. in at short. 

I would personally land in the latter camp, as Chisholm Jr. would be flanked by two stellar defenders in Estrada and Chapman, which would take off a lot of pressure.  Make the routine plays, swipe some bags, and be entertaining – is that too much to ask?

Without even getting in too much about what the Marlins might want in return for their de facto face of the franchise, a trade for a 26-year-old with all the physical tools you could want is exactly the kind of upgrade the Giants should be considering, not just for this year but for years to come as well.  We’re not all Peter Bendix – some of us like to think about the long-term ramifications of the deals our team makes.