After signing Carlos Correa to a massive 13-year, $350 million contract, the SF Giants have quietly built up a roster surplus. That roster surplus is right-handed-hitting infielders. They do not need to make a move tomorrow, but it is something they will need to address before the start of the season.
Will the SF Giants need to trade from unexpected roster surplus?
The good news is that the Giants are well-positioned to face off against left-handed pitching. This is a continuation of a trend from last season when Giants hitters combined to record a 106 wRC+ against southpaws.
This is a very solid mark, but the problem is, only 31.5 percent of their plate appearances came against left-handed pitching in 2022. As is common in baseball, there are far more right-handed pitchers than lefties.
As currently constructed, the Giants have an infield contingent that includes Carlos Correa, Brandon Crawford, Thairo Estrada, J.D. Davis, and Wilmer Flores. David Villar will be in the mix as well along with Tommy La Stella, Brett Wisely, and Isan Díaz. LaMonte Wade Jr. is expected to see time at first base as well next year.
From that mix, only Crawford, La Stella, Wade J.r, Wisely, and Díaz bat from the left side. Wisely and Díaz are largely unproven against major league pitching, whereas La Stella and Wade Jr. have battled injuries in recent seasons. That leaves Crawford as the only real, proven left-handed bat in the mix.
There is a little bit of an imbalance here and it is tough to see someone like Villar getting substantial playing time at the start of the season without an injury or two. Viller earned at-bats with a strong finish to last season, but he has two minor league options remaining, so the Giants will likely leverage that when creating the Opening Day roster.
It feels like the Giants will need to trade from that imbalance at some point. Flores should see a lot of time at first base, especially considering that he does not have extreme platoon splits. In an ideal world, I think San Francisco would prefer that he remains at first base, rather than having to move around the diamond.
Davis might become a potential trade candidate. With two years of team control remaining, he could hold some value on the trade market. That said, he has consistently been a good hitter throughout his six-year career, so it would be a tough move.
This is one of those situations that will sort itself out. However, it is something to monitor as the winter progresses. They likely need to add at least one more left-handed bat in the infield and one more right-handed bat in the outfield. They have a lot of options in both areas, so there are a lot of directions that the Giants can go.