We looked at the 2015 Opening Day infield in Part 1. Now we’ll look at the outfield, complete with a major new addition roaming around Bonds’ old patch of sod…
RF Hunter Pence (R) – Not much to say here. Pence was one of Sabean’s greatest deadline deals with the Giants, and his contract is looking like the bargain of the 2013 offseason (Jose Abreu might have something to say about that, but we’ll get to him a little later). Pence needs to pick it up offensively if the Giants want to do anything in October, but generally speaking, he’s one of the best RF in baseball at the moment.
CF Angel Pagan (S) – Will Pagan ever stay healthy for a full season again? The team’s record when he plays vs when he’s out is incredible, and if they go one-and-done next week, Pagan’s absence will be a key factor. I expect him out there next April, but the organization needs a backup plan. Fortunately, I think they’ve got one in the making that we’ll discuss later.
LF Yasmani Tomas (R) – FA (8 yr-$95M) Here it is folks, here’s the splash you’re looking for. I believe most of the people who stop by this blog frequently are already up to speed on Tomas, but if you aren’t, here’s the study guide version: he’s the most recent Cuban defector, a 6-1, 240 pound outfielder with supposed 70-grade right-handed power. He wasn’t a superstar in Cuba, and there’s questions about his ability to make consistent contact. If you recall, there were similar questions about Jose Abreu last winter. Would he even hit .240? Would he be able to do anything but DH? Folks, the Giants were reportedly beaten out for Abreu because the White Sox offered one more year on the contract. How exactly would that .314/.379/.574 line and 35 big flies look in the Giants lineup right now?
If you’re staying current on the Cuban signees situation, Rusney Castillo is already making impact plays in Boston, and he signed less than two months ago! The guy literally hit a ball out of Fenway Park last night… like into the stadium parking lot. The Giants went right down to the wire on Castillo as well, but again just missed. The player they did sign, Daniel Carbonell, has already shown that he might just be a diamond in the rough, and I’m sure Sabean and staff will be watching Carbonell closely in fall instructs and the AFL next month.
What does all this mean for the Giants and Tomas? It means it’s time to step up and make something happen. Enough dabbling around in the waters. When you have the opportunity to land a 23 year old player with a chance to hit 20+ homers a year, you don’t get stingy with the checkbook. I think the Abreu and Castillo bidding wars have proven that, and the Giants are ready to go large for Tomas. If it takes 8 years and $100M, I still make the final bid. No, he’s not a proven commodity, and the Giants have historically shied away from such players. But I will pose this question to you: Do you think the Dodgers, White Sox and Red Sox are feeling bad about the respective long-term contracts they signed for Puig, Abreu and Castillo? Do you think the Yankees are kicking themselves for spending so much coin on Masahiro Tanaka? I don’t think so either. So, if I’m the man in charge, I thank Pablo Sandoval for everything he’s done for the organization, and I take my money to Cuba.
Gut feeling on this one, but I think the Giants are in the right place and the right time with Tomas.
In Part 3 of this series, I’ll take a look at the bench predictions for next year.