Thursday, October 5, 2017

Scouting the Offseason: Priorities

The Giants top brass held their annual end-of-season press conference discussing the just-ended season and what they plan to do about it.  I could not find  a full transcript of the conference so I'll be paraphrasing the takeaway quotes reported by the beat writers as well as some of their interpretations.

The top priority this offseason is improving outfield defense.  I agree this needs to be done as the Giants got out-BABIP'd this season and some of that is attributable to poor OF defense, 47 runs worth by one metric.

Larry Baer said that the Giants are willing to go over the Competitive Balance Tax threshold for the right player, but they prefer to stay under.  This means you can expect them to add about $15 M to the currently signed roster.  Although this may disappoint fans who are hoping for a Giancarlo Stanton trade or a JD Martinez signing, I don't have a problem with it.  The Giants won 3 championships without acquiring those types of players.  They can do it again and I am willing to wait a couple more seasons for it to happen.

In a likely corollary to Larry Baer's comments, Bobby Evans made it clear he wants to add players by trade rather than free agency.  The beats seem to think the primary target will be a defense oriented CF with Denard Span moving to LF and Hunter Pence's role a question mark.  Ron Wotus may have provided a window into the Giants thinking in a recent interview where he talked about how many runs a CF like Billy Hamilton could save.

Bruce Bochy is frustrated that he did not get longer looks at some of the Giants top prospects such as Christian Arroyo and Austin Slater due to injuries.  True to form, it does not sound like the Giants are ready to hand starting jobs to prospects next spring.  This may be a mistake in the long run.

My take on all of this is yes, the Giants need better OF defense, but they need more power too.  The game has changed dramatically in just 3 seasons since the last championship.  OF defense does not help you if the other teams are hitting half again as many HR's.  As I have said in the past, the two positions where they can add significant power are 3B and LF.  Moving Denard Span to LF may help the OF D, but it won't fix the power outage.


  1. The #2 pick in the draft likely gives the Giants a shot at a real prospect (long term, high school, or shorter term, college) in both the 1st round and the 2nd round. That part is exciting.

    My great fear is that the Giants miscalculate the depth of the problems with the major league roster. Management can cross their fingers and hope, or they do major surgery. If the Giants try the "reset" approach and miss, the recovery period could be a very long one.

  2. I'm a little concerned about Bochy saying that he wants to see more grit from the core players. Are these guys hungry enough after winning 3 WS?

    Agree on needing more power. They'll have to figure out if the players power potential out weighs their defensive defiencies if they have any. The lack of power killed them especially on the road.

    I just want to see them acquire some good players again, instead of all those dumpster dives they had last year. Hope Bobby Evans is up to the challenge.


  3. One concern is who's going to hit 3rd or 4th along with Buster. The lack of middle of the order presence really puts pressure on guys to keep the line moving, which granted has been their strategy through 3 World Series but that may be hard to rely on year after year. The only other way to survive the lack of thump in the lineup is to have dominant pitching which outside of Bumgarner doesn't seem like we have.

  4. Span can not be part of the outfield solution next year, even if he plays left field. As 4th outfielder, maybe but he should not be starting if the Giants want to contend. I think you almost have to keep Pence due to his salary and he was hitting the ball better near the end of the year but he should be the only hold over at this point. But if they can upgrade there too, they should.

    Billy Baseball

  5. I kinda doubt this "press the reset button" strategy is going to impress many Giants fans. All of the players that helped win the 3 world series are either gone or arguably in decline. To say that the last year and a half was a fluke and we just need to get more out of our core players is ridiculously optimistic and most Giants fans are going to be highly skeptical like me.

    Is it time to make a move like trading MadBum or Posey or both? They are both really expensive or will be to keep and they both seemingly have their best years behind them. Even if the Giants were able to get back to winning in the next 2-3 years, these guys would be making the most money on the team and I can't see them carrying this team to another championship at that point. Aren't these the types of contracts we are trying to avoid being stuck with, aging players with their best years behind them? They have trade value now and it would hurt as a fan but wouldn't it be the smart play?

    Matt Williams was my favorite player when I was a kid. I was really pissed off when they traded him but I got over it pretty quickly when I saw the Giants get back to winning the very next season. This team needs a change not more of the same. I am interested to see what they do and am open to anything aside from doing nothing and hoping last year was a fluke.

    1. Buster Posey is not going to be traded so there is not much point in even discussing. Between his contract and approaching move off catcher, I'm not sure how much he brings back anyway.

      Bumgarner's situation is a little more interesting. The Giants have 3 choices with MadBum: 1. Sign him to an extension within the next 18 months. I am sure most Giants fans want this, but he already has a ton of mileage on the arm and even now, his velocity shows signs of declining. Do they want another Matt Cain contract? 2. Exercise their options in 2018 and 2019. Get what they can out of him and let him hit free agency after 2019. Re-allocate the money they would have paid him. Most Giants fans are going to recoil at this but I think it is a viable option. 3. Trade him before he hits free agency. Still allows them to re-allocate the money.

    2. I worry that MadBum's value will decrease if he keeps showing signs of decline next year. I would target a team like the Cubs after they lose in the playoffs this year and offer them MadBum for Happ and Conteras. They are desperate for an ace and have offense to spare. Contreras and Happ can both play OF and eventually Contreras can push Posey out from behind the plate and Happ could either stay in the OF or step in at 3B.

      Pitching would be mediocre at best next year but they would have room to either add a SP after 2018 or take a shot at one of the premier FA's (Machado or Harper would be my preference). We would have a pretty formidable offense going into the 2019 season with Posey, Happ, Contreras, and Machado/Harper taking up the middle of the lineup. They would have to get creative/lucky with the starting pitching but at least the offense would be respectable.

  6. All the doom and gloom. I’d rather watch Buster fade as a Giant than in another uniform.

    Stanton doesn’t fit their states goal of wanting to get better defensively. I’m really hoping they don’t get Hamilton. He flat out can’t hit. Delino Deshields is more interesting to me.

    Let’s just hope Shaw and Duggar come out swinging in the AFL and stay hot through ST. If they could force the issue, it may save the Giants window.