This off-season will be an opportunity for the San Francisco Giants to rebuild and contend in the NL West next season, and it may only take the Giants being able to spend money over the winter.
The Giants have been famous for having a strong farm system in prior years, bringing up prospects such as Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt; and more recently third baseman Christian Arroyo.
Although the Giants have had a good farm system, the recent collapse that started in the second half of the 2016 season is a huge indication that San Francisco needs to start making bigger splashes in the off-season. Last winter the Giants signed star closer Mark Melancon to a four-year $62MM deal, but 2017 has been an injury-filled year for the 31-year-old which has put pressure on the homegrown bullpen. San Francisco has been rumored to be involved in trade talks with slugger Giancarlo Stanton and also showing interest in Japanese star Shohei Otani. With the Kansas City Royals core players being eligible for free agency at the end of the season, the Giants should not discount signing first baseman Eric Hosmer this winter.
Since the Sherman/Jeter ownership group bought out the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria back in August, the new ownership group has decided to go into rebuild mode with their new team; starting with putting Stanton on the trade block. The Giants have shown the most interest in the star slugger but the Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Philadelphia Phillies have shown interest as well. The terms of this potential trade for Stanton is what is most important to San Francisco.
Stanton is in year three of a 13 year $325 MM deal. With ten years left on his monster contract, the Giants are hoping for a deal that includes Miami providing cash considerations to help pay for Stanton’s contract. If the Marlins start to ask for prospects, the Giants might lose out on the Stanton sweepstakes. With a depleted farm system, The Giants may not be willing to let go key players of their organization. The best -not reasonable-pieces to be packaged in a deal for Stanton would be gold glover Panik, Chris Stratton, Arroyo, and Tyler Beede. If Miami can help the Giants pay for Stanton’s gigantic contract, the star slugger could be suiting up for the orange and black in the city by the bay.
Otani is the most anticipated international player to potentially come over to the states this winter, and the Giants have reportedly been interested in the Japanese two-way player. As a hitter, Otani has been raking for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, slashing .337/.403/.553 with 31 RBI in 60 games in 2017. Additionally, last season he posted .322/.418/.588 with 22 dingers and 67 RBI’s in 106 games.
Otani also throws gas on the mound, topping out at 101 MPH which is a Nippon Professional Baseball record. Although Otani holds a 4.96 ERA this season, Otani has flirted with 200 strikeouts in 2015, posting 197 strikeouts and a 2.25 ERA in that same season. Otani’s 2016 campaign saw Otani pitch a career-best 1.84 ERA with 174 strikeouts. The new collective bargaining agreement only allows the Giants to give Otani $300,000, but the Giants can sell Otani on San Francisco because of its recent winning culture, and the loyal fans that come into the stadium.
Known by the Giants faithful as the baby giraffe, Brandon Belt just turned 29 years old; which in baseball terms means he’s nearing the end of the peak of his career. Belt has lacked home run power for the corner infield spot, and has never reached 20 home runs in a single season. His recent concussion issues have kept him from seeing regular time on the field. Since being hit by a curveball on August 4th against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Belt has been dealing with lingering concussion symptoms and was then shut down for the rest of the season.
San Francisco could get a big upgrade at first base from soon to be free agent Eric Hosmer this winter. Hosmer is finishing up what could be his last season with the Royals slashing .320/.386/.498, including 24 home runs and 92 RBI. AT&T is not known for being a homer-friendly ballpark, but home run king and hall of fame hopeful, Barry Bonds shrunk AT&T by constantly hitting baseballs through the San Francisco fog into McCovey Cove.
It would be hero’s work for Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans to collect all three players in the 2018 off-season, but the Giants have options to rebuild and contend in 2018. It will just take a willingness to spend money over the winter.
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