San Francisco’s reported agreement with third baseman Matt Chapman last night added an elite defender and quality hitter to a lineup that’s already added Jung Hoo Lee and Jorge Soler this winter as the Giants look to bolster their offense after posting a 93 wRC+ as a team last year, which was a bottom-ten figure in the majors. With that being said, the deal seemingly leaves another veteran bat without a clear home in J.D. Davis.
Davis, 31 next month, is set to hit free agency after the 2024 campaign and seems unlikely to find a regular role in San Francisco this season with Soler at DH, Chapman at the hot corner, and LaMonte Wade Jr. and Wilmer Flores expected to handle first base. That reality could spur the Giants to make a trade in the near future, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. The veteran infielder hit a roughly league average .248/.325/.413 in 144 games with the Giants last year, but had established himself as a well-above average bat in the four years prior to the 2023 campaign, slashing .276/.363/.457 with a 127 wRC+ during that time. That upside could make Davis an attractive target for a team lacking in certainty at the infield corners, such as the Cubs, Mariners, or Brewers, potentially allowing the club to shed his $6.9MM salary and free up additional payroll space for a possible pursuit of southpaw Blake Snell.
For Davis’s part, he told reporters (including Shayna Rubin of the San Francisco Chronicle) that the club’s decision to sign Chapman was “definitely surprising,” adding that he hadn’t communicated with the front office regarding the decision of his future to this point before referencing the club’s handling of veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford during his final year with the club and free agency this winter.
“I didn’t get a phone call, Brandon Crawford didn’t get a phone call,” Davis said, as relayed by Rubin. “It is what it is. It’s part of the business. I know every management is different in how they handle things and that’s just one of the characteristics you just have to live with.”
More from around San Francisco…
- While Crawford recently expressed disappointment regarding how his tenure in San Francisco ended, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that no such acrimony exists between the club and slugger Joc Pederson, who departed the club to sign with the Diamondbacks earlier this winter. While Pederson told Slusser that he retains a strong relationship with both president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and that the Giants even made him an offer this winter, though he added that Arizona “expressed more interest” and presented him with a stronger offer. Pederson spent the past two seasons playing for San Francisco, slashing a strong .255/.351/.470 in 255 games with the club across the two campaigns.
- Shortstop Nick Ahmed recently spoke to reported, including The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly, regarding his decision to sign with the Giants on a non-roster deal this spring. The two-time Gold Glove award winner had spent parts of ten seasons with the Diamondbacks prior to becoming a free agent for the first time in his career back in September, and the soon to be 34-year-old veteran indicated that while he had some conversations with the Cardinals this winter before they signed Crawford to a one-year deal last month. With that being said, Ahmed indicated that he was enticed to sign in San Francisco when Zaidi and manager Bob Melvin indicated to him that he would have the opportunity the everyday job at shortstop with the club this spring. A career .234/.288/.376 hitter, Ahmed has made up for a lack of offensive production throughout his career with elite defensive numbers and figures to battle with youngsters Marco Luciano and Casey Schmitt for the shortstop job throughout the final month of Spring Training.