The 2015 season has officially ended and we’re all looking forward to next season. A few days ago I covered the offseason questions surrounding the pitching staff of the Giants.
Today i’ll be covering the outfield.
Typically a MLB team carries 5 outfielders on their roster some take a risk and only carry 4 with a utility guy. So this post shouldn’t take up too much time.
This season the Giants welcomed Nori Aoki to the club as he signed a 1 year contract w/ a club option for 2016. Aoki played well for the Giants he added that speed element at the top of the lineup the Giants have been lacking. He finished with a .287 avg, 14 sb , and 5 hrs Aoki ended the season on the DL with a concussion. Aoki will be 34 years old in January and the question is if the Giants are willing to pay the $5.5 million club option for next season.
Angel Pagan was in and out of the lineup this season, but once he was in the lineup he produced well. Pagan turned it up late in the season to keep the Giants alive in the NL West. Pagan will be 35 years old in July and is under contract next season.
Hunter Pence had a season to forget as he missed time early in the season with a wrist injury and later on the season had an oblique injury that ended his season. We all know Hunter isn’t going anywhere as he is locked in as a Giant until 2018. A healthy Hunter Pence in 2016 would be beneficial for the Giants.
Marlon Byrd was acquired in the middle of the season and he provided old man strength. Byrd delivered clutch hit after clutch hit for the Giants. He did everything Bochy and Bobby Evans needed him to do. Byrd has an $8 million club option for next season and I really hope the Giants consider exercising the option.
Alejandro De Aza was also acquired before the deadline, but I don’t see him returning next season.
2 outfield prospects to keep an eye on this offseason entering spring training is Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker. These were called up in September and they were able to produce. Jarrett Parker turned it up during the last week of the season. He hit 3 homeruns in 1 games vs the A’s and 1 was a grand slam that proved to be the winning margin. Look for these 2 to contend for the final 4th or 5th outfielder spot on the roster
Free Agent Watch:
If the Giants decline the options on both Byrd and Aoki and they decide to hit the free agent market. There’s a few guys on the list I believe that could help the Giants win another ring in 2016.
Justin Upton can provide that power the Giants have been lacking for many years. The 28 yr old slugger hit 26 hrs and drove in 81 rbis this season for the San Diego Padres. Justin Upton won’t come cheap as he is one of the top outfield free agents in 2016.
Other guys the Giants might consider:
Ben Zobrist, Will Venable, and Alex Rios.
So we’ve got Pagan in center and Pence in right. That just leaves left field and the 2 bench positions. I’m going to go with the Giants exercising the option on Marlon Byrd and he starts in left field. Jarrett Parker earns a spot on the bench and Mac Williamson developing in the minors. The final spot I believe will go to a free agent pickup.
To succeed in 2016 the outfield needs to stay healthy. Especially Pagan and Pence as these 2 were key in past World Series runs.