As the playoff race rages on, the San Francisco Giants find themselves in a different race. Their offseason has begun, and the Giants are on the hunt for a big bat to boost their lineup.
There are a number of big-name free agent bats set to hit the market. Here are a few possible fits for San Francisco who could potentially add some much needed power to a lineup that finished second to last in home runs in 2013.
First and foremost, the Giants have a gaping hole in left field they failed to fill last offseason. The platoon of Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres simply didn't cut it, and minor league call-ups ultimately failed to fit the need as well.
Luckily, there are a slew of free agent outfielders (and a few non-outfielders) who could become available and at a price the Giants are willing to pay.
One of the bigger names this offseason is Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero. According to Jon Heyman (CBSSports.com), the Giants are among several teams interested in the infielder.
But why would the Giants seek a second baseman, albeit an intriguing one, when they have veteran Marco Scutaro locked in for another two years? Hmmm. Perhaps shift either Scutaro or Guerrero to third, move Pablo Sandoval to first and Brandon Belt (who may already be destined for this) move to left field?
Seems a little complicated.
Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu is a more attractive fit. According the Cuban Baseball Career Statistics, the slugger averaged nearly 31 home runs a season while in Cuba.
If Abreu is in fact part of the Giants' future, Belt will make the move to left field.
Still, there are free agent outfielders available. If the Giants lose the Abreu sweepstakes, they may want Belt to focus on his flourishing success at the plate and search for a natural outfielder.
The Giants already wisely snagged right-fielder Hunter Pence to a five-year, $90 million deal before he could even hit the market. They still need a corner bat to compliment the right fielder. Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Shin-Soo Choo top the list of premier-batting outfielders this offseason.
The question is, will the Giants be willing to pay the price for an established star, and are any of them truly a fit for their lineup?
Beltran already played with the Giants in 2011 as a trade deadline pickup. He and the team failed to make a playoff push, but Beltran posted good numbers in his short stay. Beltran batted .323 as a Giant, and although getting up there in age, the power is still present. In his past two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Beltran dinged 32 and 24 home runs, respectively.
His experience playing at At&T Park is another plus.
Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox center fielder and leadoff hitter, could be a potential spark-plug but at an exceedingly steep price. Ken Rosenthal predicted the center fielder could cash in on a massive contract:
The Giants are unlikely to match an offer that large, as history post-Barry Zito suggests. However, they will be major players in the free agent signings this coming offseason.