Free agent preview: San Francisco Giants

The Giants trudged along this year in the NL West, getting continually overshadowed by the Dodgers trading for every name player with a pulse and spending money by the truckload. But when the dust settled, the Giants were the division champions, and after a tough month of October, the World Champions. But San Francisco has some key members of the 2012 championship team ready to hit free agency, and they need to make some moves to keep the 2012 team intact for 2013.

Needs
For as fantastic as Gregor Blanco was in the second half for the Giants playing every day, the team needs a left fielder with Melky Cabrera's contract expiring and the team seemingly having no desire to bring the once-suspended breakout player back. Similarly, center fielder Angel Pagan is also hitting free agency, and the Giants are looking at a second hole to fill in the outfield. NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro is a free agent at second base, as is the man he replaced at second, Ryan Theriot. Reliever Jeremy Affeldt is another guy hitting the market, meaning that the Giants offseason wish list is essentially a pair of outfielders, a second baseman, and a reliever or two (maybe).

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Possible Options
I think that bringing back Scutaro and Pagan will be the priorities for the Giants after the contributions both had on the 2012 team. However, both players will likely be coveted by many teams this offseason. Pagan is in the second tier among free agent center fielders this offseason, but would probably be the cheapest out of all of the players in the top two tiers, including Josh Hamilton, BJ Upton, Michael Bourn, and Shane Victorino. Any of those players would also be a fit with the Giants, but with $20 million going to each of three players in 2013, I'm not sure that San Francisco is going to want to spend a ton of money, especially with Buster Posey falling into his arbitration years and still needing a long-term deal. For the left field position the Giants have open, I think Torii Hunter could be a good fit as a defensive-minded veteran that still has a lot left in the tank and would be a huge contrast to the defensively-inept Hunter Pence in right field. At second base, it's really Scutaro or bust, though if he signs elsewhere for more money, Kelly Johnson could get a phone call as a reclamation project. As for the bullpen, hell, who knows. Brian Wilson should be back from Tommy John surgery next season, and his addition would essentially be a free agent signing for the Giants. If they want someone else though, assuming Affeldt can't come to terms, former Blue Jay Casey Janssen would be great in Affeldt's old role, especially as someone who pitched in the AL East and performed extremely well.

Trade Options
The Giants really don't have any veterans with crippling contracts to auction off, though I'm sure you could make a case for Barry Zito in the last guaranteed year of his contract. I also don't think the team will walk away from Tim Lincecum quite yet, perhaps using him as a super-reliever this year instead of putting him in the rotation and running the risk of him having another disappointing season. I also don't think it makes much sense for the Giants to try to deal the disappointing Pence, creating another hole in the process and running the risk of getting a weak return for him.

Trade Targets
I think they'll pretty much stand pat on trades, especially after trading top catching prospect Tommy Joseph to bring Pence in over the summer. If the Giants do want to get frisky, they've got pitcher Kyle Crick and outfielder Gary Brown that are desired by a few teams, and could probably pick up a nice player with a package centered around either player. But I don't think any of the possible options on the trade market would be worth dealing either of those players, and aside from them, the Giants wouldn't be able to put something together for a superstar. If they're going to trade, it'll be minor upgrades in the bench or the bullpen for players not worthy of a top ten prospect.

About Joe Lucia

Joe is the managing editor of The Outside Corner and a contributing author at Awful Announcing. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is stuck somewhere between tolerating and hating Pittsburgh and Philadelphia sports.

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