The latest on the Giants’ search for outfield help…
- Cameron Maybin’s release has left the Giants in need of a right-handed hitting center fielder who can complement Steven Duggar. To this end, the club has “looked into Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar and Brandon Guyer,” Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Guyer was just released by the White Sox and has a long track record of success against lefty pitching, though he would be another imperfect fit as a center field option — Guyer has only 356 career innings as a center fielder, with a -1.4 UZR.150 and -4 Defensive Runs Saved in that relatively small sample size. Pillar is the much more accomplished defender, though not much of a hitter and also much more expensive than Guyer would be, as Pillar is set to earn $5.8MM this season. There’s also the question of what the Giants would have to give up to Toronto in a trade, though Schulman notes “it’s unclear whether the Blue Jays would entertain a deal.” San Francisco’s interest in Pillar dates back to earlier this offseason, though obviously no trade came together.
- The Giants and Rangers discussed a trade that would have sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Bay Area, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (subscription required), though “the talks failed to gain momentum and at this point are barely active.” Choo would’ve been something of a curious add for the Giants, given that he has moved into more of a DH role in recent seasons. Choo’s bat is still potent (.264/.377/.434 with 21 homers in 665 PA last season), and while his glovework was below-average (-5 DFS, -3.9 UZR/150 in 507 1/3 innings as a corner outfielder) in 2018, the Giants might have felt the tradeoff was worth it, even if Choo’s defense would have likely further fallen off in Oracle Park’s larger outfield. The Giants could also have possibly seen the trade as something of a bargain, since Rosenthal notes that the Rangers “would have included significant cash” to cover the $42MM remaining on Choo’s contract through 2020. The talks didn’t revolve around the idea of dealing Choo for one of the hefty contracts (i.e. Jeff Samardzjia, Mark Melancon) on the Giants’ payroll.
- Also from Rosenthal’s piece, he provided a sneak peek at an interview conducted with Bryce Harper that will air in full after Fox Sports 1’s broadcast of the Braves/Phillies game on March 30. Within the interview, Harper discussed his lengthy free agent process, including the tidbit that his final decision came down to the Phillies and the Giants. In weighing his options with his wife Kayla, Harper said the couple ultimately decided that Philadelphia was the best fit. “It was nothing against San Francisco. They’re a great organization. It’s a great city,” Harper said. “It just came down to what I felt. And by that point, it was Philly.” Harper also said that the difference between spacious Oracle Park and the more hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park “was never really a factor” in his choice of teams.