In my mind the last piece the 2017 San Francisco Giants need is a right-handed power hitting outfielder. Right now, the team’s likely third through fifth outfielders are Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker and Gyorkis Hernandez. All are reasonably young and talented, but none has significant major league experience, something the Giants typically value highly.
The team has signed Michael Morse and Justin Ruggiano, both of whom you will note are right-handed hitters, to minor league deals, but neither looks like a particularly realistic shot to make the team out of Spring Training.
I scanned mlbtraderumors.com’s free agent tracker yesterday, and Ryan Raburn and Rickie Weeks look like the best two right-handed hitting outfielders still available. Both could be signed to minor league deals for 2017, or in Weeks’ case a relatively inexpensive major league deal, it well appears.
Of the two, I like Weeks better, because he’s two years younger, has more power, has had a much better career, and all in all had a better 2016 season with the bat than Raburn did. Fangraphs says that Weeks’ outfield defense is brutally bad, but Weeks has played only 55 games in his lengthy major league career in the outfield, all of them in the last two seasons. Weeks still appears to run fairly well, and I would have to think that he’d get better as an outfielder as he gets more experience after a long major league career through age 31 spent exclusively at 2B.
Another player I like is Jabari Blash, who was just designated for assignment by the Padres. He isn’t going to hit for average, but he’s blasted an astounding 45 home runs in 646 AAA plate appearances, about one full season at that level. He’ll only be 27 in 2017, and his on-base percentages are high too.
The main knock on Blash is that he’s got no more major league experience than Williamson, Parker or Hernandez. However, on the subject of finding the next Brandon Moss, Blash has to be right at the top of the list.