The Giants head into the offseason in search of ways to bolster a team that has produced just one winning record in the past seven seasons. San Francisco flirted with Wild Card contention for much of the 2023 campaign, but a 9-19 finish to the season dashed any hopes of returning to the playoffs. Not only that, but the team’s late collapse doomed manager Gabe Kapler, who was dismissed after four years on the job and replaced by future Hall of Fame skipper Bob Melvin.
The Giants’ hiring of Melvin dovetailed with an extension for president of baseball ops Farhan Zaidi, both of whom are now signed through 2026. Zaidi kicked off his winter with a fair bit of transparency, candidly acknowledging in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea that his team is “going to be in the starting pitching market” and that he’ll also be on the lookout for ways to augment his outfield alignment. Specifically, Zaidi hopes to improve his outfield’s glovework. “We’ll look to add a little bit more speed, a little bit more range to the outfield,” Zaidi tells Shea.
At least as far as the outfield upgrades are concerned, the trade market will present more options than free agency. Cody Bellinger is the top outfielder (and top non-Shohei Ohtani) free agent of the offseason, and the former Dodgers star is quite familiar to Zaidi, who served as the general manager in Los Angeles before being hired away by the division-rival Giants. That said, Scott Boras will surely be seeking a massive contract for Bellinger on the heels of a resurgent season, and given the dearth of quality hitters on the market, competition for him could be steep.
Other outfield options with plus gloves include Kevin Kiermaier, Harrison Bader and Michael A. Taylor (to name a few). Kiermaier and Bader come with plenty of injury concern, however, and all three have inconsistent offensive track records (at best). Perhaps for those reasons, Zaidi at least alluded to the possibility of operating on the trade market — noting that younger (and thus more athletic players) tend to come via that market rather than free agency. KBO star Jung Hoo Lee, who’ll be posted by the Kiwoom Heroes this winter, could bring some of that youth and athleticism to the table, as he’s just 25 years of age. However, his season ended early with an ankle injury, and MLB evaluators are split on the extent of his defensive value in the outfield.
The Giants’ current outfield alignment figures to…