The Giants are still looking for two or even three new outfield additions to their roster, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Twitter link). At the same time, indications are that the organization isn’t going to be driving the market, in part due to the club’s anticipated position in relation to the luxury tax line.
As things stand, the San Francisco roster is largely devoid of established MLB outfielders. Among the assets on hand, youngster Steven Duggar seems primed for a full chance, Mac Williamson could still get another shot, and Chris Shaw is a potentially interesting prospect, but it’d be tough to enter the season planning to rely on existing options.
With veterans still populating most of the rest of the roster, there’s an argument to be made that the Giants ought to go ahead and spend some coin. The outlook may not be all that promising, but the club already paid for two starters (Derek Holland and Drew Pomeranz) and figures to be stuck in a middle ground of sorts regardless — unless, that is, it starts swinging trades over the next few weeks.
Veterans such as Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, and especially Will Smith would all be of varying levels of interest to other teams. Of course, if the plan was to strip down the roster, the process likely would have been kick-started earlier in the still-fresh tenure of president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.
Even if a trade or two ends up going down, it seems to make sense for the Giants at least to fill out the outfield unit with some plausible names. Just what kind of players they’ll target, and how much they’ll spend, really isn’t clear. If Holland and Pomeranz are a guide, then perhaps they’ll target some blend of stability and upside, with a willingness to spend a bit to put a solid product on the field. Olney suggests, though, that the club may not have much financial room to work with if it hopes to remain beneath the collective bargaining tax line of $206MM. It seems the organization is still well shy of that line, even after accounting for some of the factors noted yesterday by Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter), though it could be that the public assessments are missing something.
Regardless of the math, it appears that the club is mostly inclined to wait out the market for appealing value propositions. Fortunately for Zaidi and company, there’s still an extensive slate of players available via free agency. And while the outfield segment of the trade market has never appeared to be particularly robust, it’s not hard to envision some reasonably interesting younger players becoming available as teams scurry to make their final roster arrangements in advance of camp and then the regular season.