Denard Span to Giants: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2016

Washington Nationals' Denard Span (2) watches his home run off Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Pedro Strop during the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The San Francisco Giants announced Thursday they signed free-agent center fielder Denard Span. 

According to Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area, the deal is worth $31 million over three years.

Span's final season of his five-year, $16 million deal with the Washington Nationals was filled with injuries that limited him to just 61 games. However, the Giants noted Span passed his physical.

The Nationals struggled in his absence, as they missed the playoffs in a season they were expected by some to represent the National League in the World Series. 

Having led the NL with 184 hits in 2014, Span is a quintessential top-of-the-order batter who brings a great combination of speed and average. It made him an attractive target for teams in need of a spark at the top of their lineup. 

Entering free agency, though, Span was thankful for his time in Washington, D.C.

"I’ve enjoyed my three years here," Span said, per the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes. "I feel like coming here kind of resurrected my career. Coming from Minnesota, this trade was probably the best thing for me at the time. I’ve learned a lot here from the coaching staff and my teammates."

His agent was making his acquisition difficult, though. According to the New York Post's Mike Puma, Scott Boras was looking to get his client a three-year deal, which scared away the New York Mets, who didn't want to commit to more than one season with him. 

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Span also wasn't able to work out for teams until January, per Puma.

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan believes the 31-year-old will be a perfect fit in the Bay Area:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Denard Span is a classic Giants player: high character, extremely high contact, solid defensively, few weaknesses in all-around game.

The Giants certainly haven't been shy about spending money this offseason. Span joins Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija as their biggest free-agent acquisitions, and between the three, San Francisco is committing about $250 million.

A healthy Span is an upgrade over Angel Pagan, who prowled center in the majority of the Giants' games in 2015. Pagan has seen his performance decline since his breakout 2012 season, going from a .778 OPS four years ago to .635 last season. 

The Giants are betting on Span to stay healthy after his injury-plagued 2015. He still managed to hit a solid .301/.365/.431 and had played 300 games the previous two seasons combined, so there are reasons to believe he can get back to being a solid player. 

As long as Span stays on the field, he'll help San Francisco in its pursuit of a fourth World Series title in seven seasons.

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.