San Francisco Giants: 4 Big Names That Could Be on the Move
The Hot Stove is still in simmer mode, but offseason activity is beginning to pick up around the majors. About the only movement in San Francisco so far has been the Giants' commitment to offering Hunter Pence arbitration.
But this should be a busy winter for the Giants, with nine free agents from this past season's 40-man roster, an arbitration-eligible closer coming off Tommy John Surgery, and a need for another power bat in the lineup.
Here is a look at four players from the 2012 World Series champions who could be on the move this offseason.
This is just speculation, but first baseman Brandon Belt represents San Francisco's best, young trading chip.
The Giants have been committed to developing Belt as their starting first baseman, and he has shown steady improvement. However, San Francisco's lineup could benefit from an extra power bat, particularly at first base or left field.
Belt is young enough that he could appeal to other organizations, though he has had enough at-bats to suggest he isn't much better offensively than former Dodgers first baseman James Loney.
Either way, as a left-hander with gap power, he would be more valuable playing in a park with friendlier right field dimensions than AT&T Park.
The Giants could package Belt with some minor leaguers, such as catcher Andrew Susac and one of their many pitching prospects, for either a right-handed power hitter or left-hander more capable than Belt of launching splash hits.
San Francisco declined to offer Angel Pagan a qualifying offer, so it might appear that retaining him is not a top priority. Then again, Pagan probably isn't worth the $13.3 million such an offer promises.
That said, the Giants have expressed interest in re-signing Angel Pagan. They will have some competition for the free agent, as Pagan should be rather popular on an open market with few impact outfielders.
After Josh Hamilton and Michael Bourn, the next best options are Nick Swisher, Ryan Ludwick, B.J. Upton and Pagan. Torii Hunter and Ichiro are available, but considering their advanced ages, they are risks.
Marco Scutaro hasn't exactly had a long tenure in San Francisco. But after batting .362 in 61 games with the Giants, followed by an MVP performance in the NLCS, the journeyman infielder has quickly become one of the team's most popular figures.
The Giants publicly expressed interest in re-signing the 37-year-old, and word is that Scutaro is reciprocating the interest. So he might not be on the move. Then again, he is a free agent coming off the best three-month stretch of his career.
A team in need of veteran leadership and a top-of-the-order hitter may be willing to overpay for his services.
Brian Wilson is a fan favorite, but San Francisco proved it could get by just fine without him. The Giants ended the postseason on a seven-game winning streak, including the last three games in which Sergio Romo recorded saves.
General Manager Brian Sabean said earlier in the year that Romo wasn't durable enough to close full-time. Even if he still believes that, the closer-by-committee approach that helped carry the Giants down the stretch—before Romo took over—did just fine.
Meanwhile, Wilson is arbitration-eligible and is likely due to make more than $8 million next season. That's a lot of money for a closer coming off Tommy John surgery.
It won't be a popular decision, but the Giants will be better off to let the Beard walk.
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