Last week, the Giants surprised many when they inked starter Johnny Cueto to a six-year, $130MM deal. Now that the rotation has been bolstered, GM Bobby Evans says that he’s moving on to addressing the team’s left field situation.
“I given our commitments in pitching, I think now is a good time to look at left field and versatility there has value for us,” Evans told MLB Network Radio (audio link). “We look at [Gregor] Blanco and, he’s been our starting left fielder in the World Series and our starting center fielder in the 2014 World Series so we don’t want to dismiss his ability to help us for a ton of at-bats and a ton of games but if we could put him more in a fourth outfield spot, we feel like we would be stronger.”
When discussing the possibility of further additions this winter, Evans pointed out that the team still has “flexibility” to spend, even after the significant contracts given to Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. The GM says that the Giants will be open to exploring both the free agent market and the trade market for ways to make the team better, but it doesn’t sound as though the bullpen will be among their top priorities.
“You always want to find a way to get better in the bullpen, [but] I think it’s the one area of the farm system that’s most ready to help us,” said Evans. “We saw that in [Hunter] Strickland and Josh Osich. Osich, in many ways, replaces Jeremy Affeldt in the fact that he can pitch to both lefties and righties and pitch in any point in the game. But, with that said, we’re at least going to keep our antennas up. It’s not where I want to spend my next dollar, necessarily, because we have depth in the minor leagues, but I recognize that you win with a good bullpen and we need to make sure we’re strong there.”
Ultimately, we shouldn’t expect to see the Giants make a run at a higher-priced free agent reliever such as Tyler Clippard. By the same token, after dropping big bucks on a pair of free agents already this winter, it’s safe to say that the Giants aren’t going to get involved on an expensive left fielder like Justin Upton, unless his market takes a surprising and drastic nosedive.