Why the SF Giants may not be a fit for a power-hitting first baseman

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics
Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

If the Toronto Blue Jays decide to sell at the trade deadline, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will become among the more popular names available. While he would add more power to just about every lineup, there just may not be a fit for him on the SF Giants.

Why the SF Giants may not be a fit for a power-hitting first baseman

Last week, we looked at why the Blue Jays might not even be a viable trade partner. It takes two to make a deal, and the Blue Jays are not quite at the point where a fire sale makes sense.

They have a 33-35 overall record while sitting in fourth place in a tough AL East divison. Plus, they have reached the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. There is recent history to suggest that they can turn it around.

Guerrero Jr. has one more year of team control after this season, so if the Blue Jays do include him in trade talks, his value will not be any higher than it is right now.

That said, the Giants just may not have a spot for him on the roster as weird as it may seem. They have hit 65 home runs in 2024, which is the 11th-worst mark in baseball. They could certainly use more power, but current roster construction may get in the way of adding a player like Guerrero Jr.

The Giants already have LaMonte Wade Jr. and Wilmer Flores penciled in at first base. Wade Jr. was the starter before landing on the injured list, but he was slashing .333/470/.426 (167 wRC+) with two home runs and 17 RBI in 166 plate appearances.

Guerrero Jr. has posted similarly strong numbers with a .781 OPS and seven home runs in 296 plate appearances. While the right-handed bat has more power upside, Wade Jr. is arguably better in terms of run creation. It is fair to say that the Giants do not have a need at first base.

When Wade Jr. does return, it shifts Flores back into a utility role. The veteran infielder will see time at first base, second base, third base, and DH. However, at-bats have become sporadic despite being one year removed from hitting 23 home runs.

Perhaps, the Giants could shift Wade Jr. to DH. However, the club has committed to Jorge Soler for the foreseeable future. The power-hitting DH is off to a slow start with a .643 OPS and seven home runs in 225 plate appearances. He inked a three-year deal in the offseason, so he is going to be on the roster for better or worse.

The Giants cannot just trade for Guerrero Jr. and shift Soler to the bench. There would be no role for him and the roster is pretty much at the limit in terms of defensively-limited position players. Sending Soler to the bench would be a bitter pill for the front office to swallow after committing $42 million to him in the offseason.

Unfortunately, this is not Fantasy Football. You cannot just release a struggling running back when a better option arises. Contracts are a real factor as well. This is where the Giants are at.

They have two spots in the lineup with first base and DH and they already have more options than at-bats. Adding Guerrero Jr. would be like trying to fit a square peg through a round hole.

On paper, he would be a boost to just about every lineup, including the Giants. That said, they have already have coverage at the positions Guerrero Jr. could play. While first base and DH are not necessarily areas that the Giants could upgrade, adding up the middle should be on the table.