Should the SF Giants take a flyer on a veteran outfielder who is currently on waivers?

Cleveland Guardians v Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Guardians v Chicago White Sox / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Veteran outfielder Ramón Laureano hit the waiver wire on Monday after being designated for assignment by the Cleveland Guardians. He has been a target of the SF Giants in the past, but should they take a flyer on the seven-year veteran?

Should the SF Giants take a flyer on a veteran outfielder who is currently on waivers?

The short answer is no. The Giants outfielder has been depleted due to injuries. This includes Jung Hoo Lee, Michael Conforto, and Austin Slater. Lee is out for the season, whereas Conforto and Slater are expected to return at some point.

These injuries have created opportunities for young players like Marco Luciano, Luis Matos, and Heliot Ramos. In particular, Ramos and Matos' role would be affected by the addition of another outfielder.

Plus, it bears mentioning that both players are thriving at the moment. Matos just completed a histroic two-game stretch in which he collected 11 RBI while taking home NL Player of the Week honors.

On the other hand, Ramos is getting his first extended look in the majors and it does not look like he wants to go back to Triple-A. He has a .780 OPS with one home run in 44 plate appearances while making some nice plays in the outfield. Perhaps, his numbers are inflated a bit due to a .407 babip, but he has been making plenty of hard contact as well.

So, there is no place for someone like Laureano. At one point, he would have been a nice addition to a Giants outfield that has struggled in recent seasons. Laureano has one of the best arms in the game and would be one of the Giants' best options in that category.

However, his numbers have dipped over the past few seasons. He has registered a .221/.306/.383 line (95 OPS+) with a 7.9 percent walk rate, 27.6 percent strikeout rate, and a .162 ISO since the start of 2020. That is solid production from a fourth outfielder, but that is just not a need for the Giants.

These numbers include an abysmal start in which the right-handed bat has posted a .494 OPS in 83 plate appearances with the Guardians. That is a tough stat line to tolerate even if the player offers above-average defense at a premium position. While Laureano has generally been a quality outfielder, he has seen more time in right field lately.

Laureano has a $5.15 million salary for 2024. That is not an exorbitant amount by baseball's standards, but if a team claims him, they would assume the remainder of that salary. That is yet another reason why the Giants would likely not make a move.

There is a good chance that Laureano clears waivers and elects free agency. Maybe, a minor league deal could make sense for San Francisco only so long as he does not block another outfielder. That said, Laureano is likely looking for more playing time that the Giants organization cannot offer.