Farhan Zaidi, Giants Say They'll Explore Moving Fences in at Oracle Park

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 16, 2019

FILE - This June 15, 2016, file photo shows AT&T Park from an overhead view as the San Francisco Giants play the Milwaukee Brewers during a baseball game in San Francisco. The Oakland Raiders are in talks with the Giants about playing their home games next season at Oracle Park, formerly known as AT&T Park. A person with knowledge of the negotiations said Sunday night, Feb. 3, 2019, the two sides are in discussions, but no deal has been reached. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because nothing has been finalized. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

As one of the few Major League Baseball franchises that hasn't benefited from the recent surge in home runs, the San Francisco Giants could help themselves by making their ballpark smaller. 

Per The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly and Eno SarrisGiants​ president Farhan​ Zaidi and other members of the organization are exploring moving the fences in at Oracle Park. 

Zaidi pointed out the team is "a long way" from changing the park's dimensions:

"Objectively, how would it impact the type of game played in our park? We'd want to look at how it would affect us organizationally now and going forward. But at this point, for practical issues like the bullpens or broader long-range philosophical or strategic issues about where the game is going, I think we're at least opening up the discussion on it.

"I've always felt that having some idiosyncrasies to your home ballpark should play to your benefit because you have the opportunity to build your roster to take advantage of it. You have the ability to draft and develop players in a way that their style of play is conducive to winning in that environment."

Baggarly and Sarris noted Giants acting CEO Rob Dean has wanted the team to look into shortening the fences in the wake of the concussion left fielder Mac Williamson suffered last year after tripping over a bullpen mound in foul territory during a game against the Washington Nationals

In addition to protecting players from injury, there are baseball reasons for the Giants to make their park smaller. They haven't finished higher than 27th in homers in a season since 2014. 

San Francisco's weak power output occurred concurrently with more homers hit per game across MLB. The sport's mark of 1.31 homers per game this season would represent the most all-time. Only the Detroit Tigers (seven) have hit fewer home runs than the Giants (10) in 2019. 

Oracle Park features one of the most spacious outfields among all MLB parks. A home run to right-center field requires a player to hit the ball 421 feet to the wall and high enough to clear the 25-foot brick arcade. 

That park design aided the Giants in becoming one of the most successful sports franchises of the decade with three World Series titles since 2010, but they have finished under .500 in each of the past three seasons.

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