One way or another, the San Francisco Giants are going to have a busy offseason. Whether it is through domestic or international Free Agents, or trades, the Giants need to make some sort of move to shore up both their starting rotation, and there offense and I don’t want to hear a word about Yusmiero Petit either. TWO STARTS PEOPLE! TWO! All signs point to the Giants resigning both Lincecum and Pence to multiyear deals, but even if that is the case they still have a lot of money freed up this offseason to make a splash.
I’ve written previously that the Giants should make a major play for Yankees Second Baseman Robinson Cano, as I don’t see either the Yankees or Dodgers making a play for the 30 year old power hitter, as the Dodgers are preparing to offer Clayton Kershaw an historic contract extension, of over 200 Million, and could reach 225 Mil by the end of the season. I still think they should, but I realize that bringing in a guy like Cano is a longshot, and longshot would be an optimistic term for that move. However, someone who would make a little more sense, as he will come cheaper since he’s already had his big payday is Cano’s teammate, Yankees Right Fielder Curtis Granderson. Granderson has only played in 36 games this season, due to a long DL stint after breaking his hand while getting hit by a pitch (it’s weird how many guys have gotten freak injuries like this one after getting beaned this year, Freeman, Vogelsong, Granderson, Hayward, etc). In those 36 games Granderson has hit .277/.387OBP/.437SLG/824OPS with 4 HR 9RBI 7SB and 34Ks and here is a little treat for you SABR folks: His BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) is .354 . Granderson can still hit for power and will only be 33 in March. While Granderson is currently a Right Fielder for the Yankees, he’d be able to make a smooth transition to Left Field at AT&T, would take some pressure off of Posey to provide all of the power to this offense, and would be a nice addition in the middle to bottom of the order for this team. He would also provide some versatility in this lineup, as he can hit anywhere in the order and still produce.
According to some reports the Giants are interested in the two biggest names on the international market in 26 year old Cuban First Baseman Jose Daniel Abreu, and 24 year old Japanese Starting Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
The Giants have been ramping up their international scouting department lately, and seem like they are going to be major players for either Abreu or Tanaka (no relation to IF/OF Kensuke Tanaka in AAA). Abreu has achieved legend status in Cuba, and scouts, say that Abreu has the most power out of Puig, Cespedes, and Cubs prospect Jorge Soler and all of the other Cuban defectors, however, not as talented defensively or as a pure hitter like Puig and Cespedes are (Note: I ALMOST wrote Polished here instead of talented, and then I remembered that we were talking about Yasiel Puig, and the word polished has no business being associated with his game.)
While the Giants have been reluctant to sign international free agents due to some past bad experiences with Pitcher Osvaldo Fernandez, and Japanese outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo, they now realize that the international players, such as those from Japan and Cuba, and much more talented now than they ever were. While there are still some busts, like former Red Sox, Indians and now Mets Starting Pitcher Daisuke Matsusaka, the chances that a team gets rewarded for their risk is now much greater than it ever was.
The Giants will as Brian Sabean likes to say, “Kick the tires” on Abreu, but I don’t think he makes much sense for them. He will be expensive, and he plays first base which is currently occupied by Brandon Belt, and will in two years from now be occupied by Buster Posey. Abreu isn’t a polished hitter and will strike out a lot. He has really good power, which is a glaring need for the Giants, but I don’t see them taking this route to get it. He’s going to command more money than Cespedes and Puig, and could run his tab up to 50-60 Million. Head of scouting Bobby Evans and the Giants will certainly do their due diligence on this guy, but I don’t see them landing him.
A guy who makes far more sense for San Francisco, but will be more expensive, is Tanaka. Tanaka comes with a mid 90’s fastball with absolutely wicked movement, and pinpoint control, he has a slider like breaking ball that dips and dives through the strike zone, and a curveball (I think it’s a curveball) that he can mix speeds with. The problem with Tanaka is that he is going to be expensive. His team in Japan, the Rakkuten Eagles, is going to command a large posting fee exceeding that of the 51 Million Dollars that Texas gave to Yu Darvishes team in Japan, and that was just for the rights to negotiate a contract with him. Tanaka lines up with the teams pitching and defense philosophy, and could really do a nice job in shoring up the rotation for years to come. If Tanaka can produce anything close to Darvishes production in Texas than it is a great signing. I’ve added some video on Tanaka sure to make your jaw drop.
Moves are going to be made, and this is going to be a different team next year. The most important thing for the Giants is to get healthy, rest their arms, keep developing the stud pitchers in San Jose, and make a couple mid-level to larger signings this offseason. I’m remaining optomistic about contending next year, and in years to come.