What Are the San Francisco Giants Going to Do about Left Field?
The Oakland A’s rode in and stole the Giants’ thunder today, trading for Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar for John Jaso and two quality prospects. The Giants’ failure to land Zobrist inspired the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea to write an article regarding whom else the Giants might acquire to fill their left field hole.
Unfortunately, almost all of the players John Shea proposes are over the hill, way overpaid and don’t solve the Giants’ need for a right-handed power bat at the position. Yes, the Dodgers would trade Andre Ethier for a box of crackerjack to any team willing to assume $30 million of the remaining $56 million owed to Ethier for the next three seasons. But then you’d still be stuck paying $10 million a year for three years to a guy who thinks he should be playing everyday, even though he can’t hit lefties a lick. Also, Ethier isn’t going to hit many home runs in AT&T Park.
Of the players Shea mentions, the best bet would be Carlos Quentin simply because he’s a right-handed hitting slugger. However, he’s injury prone, and his 2014 performance was dreadful.
The best things to be said about Quentin is that he’s got only one year left on his contract at a relatively reasonable $8 million, and he could probably had for a single C-grade prospect if the Giants were willing to take on the full $8 million in salary.
A player who would have been a good low-cost bet for the Giants is John Mayberry, Jr. He’s a right-handed hitter with a career .857 OPS against left-handed pitching. His major league career to date hasn’t been successful as an everyday player because he can’t hit righties. The Blue Jays non-tendered Mayberry in early December but the Mets signed him at the end of the month for a $1.45 million guarantee and $500,000 in performance bonuses.
Jonny Gomes still looks like a good bet for the money it would take to sign him, but it’s unclear how much he’ll have left in the tank at age 34. Between Gomes and Quentin, I’d go with the latter if he could be had merely by taking on his salary. The Giants can certainly afford an $8 million gamble if they don’t have to give up a good prospect to get him.