Speculating on Next Year’s Giants (Part 2)

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…

Starting Outfield

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.


5 thoughts on “Speculating on Next Year’s Giants (Part 2)”

  1. I love Tomas’ swing mechanics. Kiley McDaniel has an excellent discussion about that in the Comments section of an article he wrote for Fangraphs entitled Scouting Yasmany Tomas dated 9/25/2014.

    I’m less sure about his pitch recognition skills and strike zone judgement and even less sure than that about is ability to stay in condition. Could the Giants be jumping from the frying pan into the fire between Pablo and Tomas on the conditioning issue?

    Gotta love the swing mechanics, though. If the Giants manage to land him, I’ll be happy.

  2. It’d be nice to “win” one of these bids. Its hard to win a bid, things get expensive in years and dollars. Tomas being young is a nice extra, there is a lot of risk there but a genuine right handed power bat that can also defend would be sweet. It’d also be nice to have a “homegrown” outfielder turn out.

    Hard to tell if the Giants have inside track on him, but it does bode well to have Jay Alou as the agent and the main showcase at their facility. I’d prefer Tomas and a bomb squad 3b situation hugely over re-signing Pablo and having more of the same ol’ in LF/CF.

    Can’t wait to hear your backup plan for CF. Angel Pagan is great when he’s healthy!

  3. Thanks for the comments guys! Tomas is the big fish this fall, and the rest of the league will be after him as well. Certainly not a given, but I think the Giants are tired of coming up second on these guys. I ran out of time this morning, but I’ve got a couple of unexciting alternative options for LF that I’ll discuss in the next post.

  4. I guess it depends on your perspective.

    I’m still not sold on Abreu. In his last two months, roughly, 5 HR in 182 AB, .330/.419/.462/.881 with .393 BABIP, not sustainable, .350 BABIP means below .800 OPS, and with his atrocious defense (-2.1 wins per BB-Ref), he might not even be at 2 WAR for the season, if the continues to hit as poorly as he did in the last two months or so. We could have dodged a bullet there if he don’t recover his performance. Odds are against that when it’s a .393 BABIP just to have OK power stats.

    Puig basically disappeared in the last two months of this season, .680 OPS, but at least he is not as bad defensively as Abreu, though he’s not above either. He has also been divisive in the clubhouse, from what I’ve seen.

    Tanaka had TJS in the middle of the season, probably will miss most of the next season (as well as a big chunk of this season). That’s more salary paid while he’s DLed than games played when he returns, and while TJS has been successful most of the time, there is no guarantee that it will work, some just don’t get back to where they were before.

    On top of that, most foreign free agents who got the big money tend to fizzle out, at least up until the last few years, where they do come out and do well at least initially, for all the shining happiness that happens over their signings. Lucky for these clubs that they appear to have had a great start to their careers, but I see enough clouds to not want the Giants to jump into anything without caution.

    That is, if this guy is good, you don’t need to bring up what other team’s experiences has been, he should be an easy sell without that being brought up. Don’t pay him all that just because we missed out on guys and here is the new flavor, lets overpay to get him. THat’s a good formula for signing a bust.

  5. As I noted in your other post, I would rather put Belt out in LF to start and get a lefty platoon guy at 1B who would share 1B with Posey. Plus, the Giants should plan on 2015 as transition year, with Susac ticketed for starting in 2016, while learning some more in AAA and preparing in 2015, Hanchez still backing up, and Posey picking a spot, either 1B or 3B, then the Giants can start looking to sign a free agent who can play the other position. I still think that 3B is the best solution for the Giants, as long as they think he can handle the hot corner and not get injured a lot. Basically, we need to have his bat in there all the time.

    I guess Ishikawa would not be the worse choice to be that platoon guy, that is what I was hoping for in 2011 when they brought up Belt in spring training. If he’s batting 7th, and we got guys worthy enough to hit higher, then he’s an asset offensively there, most 7th hitters don’t hit all that well either.

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