SF Giants: 10 Potentially Available Power Hitters Who Could Help the Giants
OK, so the Giants did not add any pop to a lineup that was seriously devoid of pop in 2011. Barry Bonds' Splash Hit lead of 32 home runs over the second-place contender is presumably one more year.
Nevertheless, opportunities to grab a power hitter or two start as soon as Opening Day. Every season, teams realize quickly that they have no chance. There's no coincidence that four of these names come from the AL East. They usually realize it first.
AT&T Park has never been friendly to power hitters. Either that or the Giants' front office has never been open to acquiring them. In either case, here are 10 guys who could potentially become available at some point during the season. Assuming there's no PED outbreak in the locker room this year, the Giants should be in the market.
I don't portend to even consider how these trades might take place or who the Giants might give up in return. I'm not paid to do that. As a fan, I make demands on who I want and expect someone else to take care of the details.
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What would have to happen: The Marlins start out slow out of the gate. Injuries catch up— as they tend to do— with Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes. Hanley continues to complain about moving to third base. Ozzie Guillen calls Hanley a "crybaby" in a Baseball Tonight interview. The Marlins only draw 20,000 fans per night to their new stadium and have to dump Hanley's salary somewhere else.
Fast forward: Hanley slides into Brandon Crawford's spot, hits .270 and becomes a god.
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What would have to happen: Pena follows the Pat Burrell narrative in Tampa Bay and starts off the season hitting .196. The Rays wonder why they paid one-sixth of their salary cap on a guy who hit .196 last year too. Pena gets run out of town and says he is contemplating retirement.
Fast forward: The Giants swoop up Pena and pay one-fourth of his salary. He hits .300 in September and DHs in the World Series.
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What would have to happen: Reynolds starts the season 3-of-25 with three HRs and 22 strikeouts. The always rebuilding Orioles find themselves 37 games out of first place and short on mediocre prospects. Reynolds publicly states that he wants to go to a winner. The Orioles trade him to the Giants for a Single-A prospect and a cha-cha bowl.
Fast forward: See Carlos Pena.
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What would have to happen: The White Sox fall completely out of the race early and the age-less Konerko, who has quietly averaged 30 HR per year since 1999, continues his torrid pace of the last few seasons. Konerko becomes a hot commodity and the Sox decide to build for the future by dealing him to a team suffering from a power outage.
Fast forward: Konerko becomes the Giants' best over-the-hill first baseman since Ryan Klesko, clogs the bases and struggles to bend over on defense. He also leads the team in home runs.
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What would have to happen: Ryan Braun's PED debacle becomes a distraction when he can't hit anything but singles in April. The Brewers' nose dive in 2012 after the departure of Prince Fielder. Milwaukee realizes they have no business being in the top half of MLB payrolls and choose to rid themselves of Hart instead of Rickie Weeks.
Fast forward: Hart overtakes Angel Pagan in center field and becomes the tallest leadoff man in Giants history.
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What would have to happen: Wells gets off to a hot start hitting behind Pujols, Trumbo and Morales. Nobody is willing make an offer when they remember Wells is somehow one of the top five highest paid players in baseball. That is, except the San Francisco Giants, who have an outfield with an OPS under .400.
Fast forward: Vernon Wells starts every game from June to September and satisfies Bruce Bochy's veteran fetish. The Giants have to trade Matt Cain to the Dodgers to pay Wells' salary.
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What would have to happen: The Blue Jays get impatient with Lind's .285 on base percentage. As protection for Jose Bautista, Lind leaves runners dead in scoring position and the Blue Jays slide Anthony Rizzo or Brett Lawrie into his spot. To reunite Lind with fellow Toronto flameout Aaron Hill, Lind gets dealt to the NL West.
Fast forward: This would be a disaster.
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What would have to happen: New Cubs GM Theo Epstein can't figure out why Alfonso Soriano is still on the Cubs. New coach Dale Sveum decides to bat Soriano in the leadoff spot circa New York Yankees 2002. Soriano hits a lot of shallow fly balls to shortstop. Epstein decides to put an end to this madness and Soriano hits the open market as an overpriced, free-swinging strikeout machine for sale.
Fast forward: Thinking that Soriano could be the second coming of Ellis Burks, Brian Sabean picks him up and Bruce Bochy immediately establishes him in right field. He pulls a hammy playing a ball off of Archway No. 3 and the experiment crashes and burns.
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What would have to happen: The Rays field 1,500 calls about Upton before June 1st. The most overrated trade rumor subject of the last two years continues to struggle at the plate. The Rays realize that someone is willing to actually trade something valuable for a .240/15 HR guy and give him up to the highest bidder.
Fast forward: Upton roams center field at AT&T, becoming a valuable defensive asset. However, he looks like 2011 Andres Torres at the plate and hits the road in free agency after the season to be overpaid elsewhere.
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What would have to happen: Adam Dunn realizes he is only 32 years old and wakes up from last year's bad dream. After another slow start, the Sox realize that Dunn just doesn't belong in the American League. With three very expensive years left on his contract, the Sox deal Dunn for anything they can get. That anything is Hector Sanchez and a player to be named later.
Fast forward: Dunn resurrects in San Francisco and quickly rises to second on the all-time Splash Hit list. Dunn also resurrects his nickname and the Giants' marketing department makes a killing selling "Big Donkey" hats to the masses.