The top position players on the market include Shohei Ohtani, Matt Chapman, and Cody Bellinger. The SF Giants have been connected to all three one way or the other, but who is available if they miss out on the top options?
Who is available if the SF Giants miss out on the top position players in free agency?
There is quite a bit of a drop off between the top three position players in free agency and the rest of the group. So, if the Giants plan on upgrading the lineup, there best bet will be to nab one of the top players.
Of course. Chapman and Bellinger both pose some level of risk. Chapman's defense and speed are both above-average qualities, but it is concerning that his bat has declined in recent years compared to the start of his career. On the other hand, Bellinger is looking to score a nice payday after an excellent 2023 campaign, but he had a pair of rough seasons leading into this one.
Ohtani is the best bet, but he will be recruited by every big-market club in baseball. The Giants need to have contingency plans. The infield group is relatively set. While no one is a star in the infield, the Giants have a bunch of solid contributors.
It seems unlikely that some like Jeimer Candelario would make a lot of sense given that he is a corner infielder. However, he has a track record of offensive production and the Giants need more of that. It would be like putting a square peg in a round hole.
The outfield definitely needs to be upgraded and the Giants are in the market for a pure center fielder. This probably rules out corner outfielders like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernández. Both options would improve a lineup that struggled to the tune of a 93 wRC+ in 2023.
The Giants have enough corner outfielders with Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger. They are hoping for a rebound from one or both, but the outfield mix is pretty crowded as currently constructed. They just do not have the room to add another corner outfielder without trading from the group.
On a different note, Jung Hoo Lee could be a fallback option if the Giants miss out on Bellinger. He has a reputation as a solid defensive outfielder. If the Giants do pursue more of a glove-first outfielder, there are a few options, including Michael Taylor, Kevin Kiermaier, or Harrison Bader. None of the three would help the lineup much, but they would all be a stopgap for an outfield that has graded out as one of the worst defensive groups over the past couple of years.
It is not likely that the Giants look to add a notable name behind the dish. More than likely, they will target a backup option with Patrick Bailey entering next season as the starter. However, adding Mitch Garver in a timeshare at catcher and DH could make some sense. It would not be a perfect fit, but one that adds an underrated bat to the lineup.
It is a pitcher-heavy market this winter. There are a few position players who could be notable upgrades to the roster. Unfortunately for the Giants, those players will be in high demand in a thin market for offense. If the Giants miss out on those three, they would really have to get creative in improving the roster. They could certainly do it, but a lot would have to go right.