The San Francisco Giants are clearly heading in a different direction organizationally, but does that mean they shouldn’t consider one of the better remaining free agents?
There are still a few reputable free agents to be had before pitchers and catchers report in just a few days. One of those seems to make sense for the San Francisco Giants, although his presence may not be a warm one from fans.
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Puig finished last year with a .267/.327/.458 slash line, clubbed 24 home runs and drove in 84 runs. It was almost a replica of his prior two seasons with the Dodgers.
He has also been healthy which has not been a major commonality among this free-agent class.
As reported by Robert Murray, there appears to be interest from the Giants in signing Puig.
It absolutely makes sense. The Giants have been in dire need of a corner outfielder who also can hit the ball out of the park. Puig also has a plus arm which is a massive advantage if he has to run down a ball in triple’s alley or play off the arcades in right field.
All signs point to this being a low-risk signing if you give him a one or two year deal and the Giants have enough money to give him a reasonable but not ridiculously expensive contract.
There are a couple of problems with the possibility, however, and no it has nothing to do with the fanbase rejecting him.
The San Francisco Giants just signed Hunter Pence to a one-year deal and Billy Hamilton to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. That means roster competition given how good of year Pence had last season in Texas and the surprising contributions from Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson.
So you ideally have an outfield of Pence, Yaz, and Dickerson, and there are potential youth options in Austin Slater, Steven Duggar, Jaylin Davis, and Chris Shaw. The depth is starting to fill itself out.
Then there is the issue with the organizational direction.
Farhan Zaidi was brought on and has altered this new regime to buy into the analytical model. There is going to be a lot of platooning, match-ups and understanding data on the fly with play cards for the fielders.
As we already know about Puig, Puig just plays. He has famously ripped up outfield assignment cards when with the Dodgers. He has tried to be better about it with the Reds and take on more of a leadership role, but Puig is Puig and nothing can change who he is.
However, Zaidi did oversee Puig for several seasons in LA, and he has been known to go after his own guys with certain organizational decisions. Take manager Gabe Kapler for example.
It is another opportunity for Zaidi to show a little favoritism toward his guy and help to improve the roster at the same time. Puig is still relatively young too; this his age 29 season.
It would seem however that Zaidi has added all the pieces he wants to and a month of spring will help create the Major League roster with a mix of youth and veterans. Unfortunately, it probably won’t include ‘The Wild Horse’ no matter how much sense it would make.