The success of imports like Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yoenis Cespedes, and Yasiel Puig in the state of California has led to the Giants rethinking their approach to the international market this winter. Sources tell Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that the club's scouting department is going into hyperdrive with an eye on Japan's Masahiro Tanaka and Cuba's Jose Dariel Abreu.
“The risk and cost assessment has to be part of the equation,” Giants vice president Bobby Evans said. “As for the rewards, you do look at what some of these recent high-risk signings have done. It does give you a sense of `This is the potential.’ It does give you that desire to say, `Hey, can we get the next one?’”
Aside from seeing the success of Puig et al, the Giants recognize that this winter's free agent market will be relatively thin, making it necessary to explore other options. San Francisco also recognizes that they will have a good amount of cash to spend thanks to their share of the league's TV revenue. They'll do their due diligence on both Tanaka and Abreu, but Tanaka might be the better fit of the two given the club's emphasis on pitching and the potential marketing opportunities he brings.
Baggarly notes that the Giants may have been discouraged from going after international free agents after their bad experience with Cuban defector Osvaldo Fernandez in the late 1990s. However, they're now seeing that top foreign talents have been able to come to the major leagues and succeed right off the bat. Evans was also quick to note that the Giants always did their homework on players like Cespedes and Puig, along with every other international free agent. For example, sources said they went after Jose Iglesias in 2008 when he defected from Cuba.