The San Francisco Giants are no longer viewed around the league as a team ripe for picking, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). In fact, it’s now more likely that the Giants will look to add to their club rather than subtract.
At 15-19 the Giants sit 9 games back from the Dodgers for the division, but they’re only 2 games out of a wild card spot. Powered by surprising production from the likes of Mike Yastrzemski (2.1 fWAR), Donovan Solano (0.8 fWAR), Kevin Gausman (0.9 fWAR), and Austin Slater (1.1 fWAR), the Giants have been a surprisingly potent offensive club. They’ve been competitive on a night-to-night basis, and less than two days away from the deadline, the Giants could still go either way depending on their play this weekend. As of right now, other clubs suspect they’ll be buyers.
The Giants certainly weren’t viewed as contenders entering the season, and most probably wouldn’t put them in that camp even after a surprisingly competitive start, but with an expanded playoff field, they are as viable a postseason contender as anyone outside of Pittsburgh in a crowded National League playoff race. If they do end up buying, it’s safe to assume the Giants will still have an eye towards contention in future seasons.
Earlier tonight the Giants were reported to have interest in Jackie Bradley Jr.. Bradley isn’t the ideal candidate because he’s a free agent after the season, but San Francisco has need enough in the grass that they could look to add multiple outfielders. With limited options coming from so few non-contenders, the Giants may also simply see value in competing this season and exploring the cost of an upgrade even for this season alone. Besides, a defensive outfielder who could slide Yastrzemski back to the corner would seem to benefit the club on the whole. Alex Dickerson has struggled in left field with a triple slash of .195/.284/.351, and since Hunter Pence was DFA’ed, they have no clear everyday option in right.
On the roster, Solano has played a little in left and Mauricio Dubon also added an outfielder’s glove to his locker this winter, but both are natural infielders. Chris Shaw and Jaylin Davis are another pair of potential outfielders in the pool, though Shaw is a more natural first baseman and neither have proven track records at the major league level. San Francisco did recently add Luis Alexander Basabe and Daniel Robertson to their player pool, but neither have joined the active roster as of yet. Even so, Basabe fits the second camp as an unproven entity, while Robertson fits the first as a natural infielder.
San Francisco could also look to add to their pitching corps, which has been less successful than the offense, broadly speaking. Most of the rotation outside of Logan Webb and Tyler Anderson are heading towards free agency – another reason most expected the Giants to sell – but they could use another rotation arm regardless. Tyler Beede, Jeff Samardzija, and Drew Smyly are all on the injured list at present, while Gausman and Johnny Cueto have injury histories and Trevor Cahill left his start early today with left hip discomfort, per Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com.