Bobby Evans tried to warn everyone, but y’all kept thinking Andrew McCutchen was just around the corner.
Giants don’t expect to spend on a veteran outfielder this winter. They believe they’ll go to spring training with Parker/Williamson in LF.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 6, 2016
Well, maybe not *you* all. You already saw the reports yesterday that the Giants went into the dreaded luxury tax zone when they signed Mark Melancon, meaning every dollar they spend from now on comes with a 50% fee. Are Dexter Fowler or Ian Desmond really worth $27 million per year, which is effectively what the Giants would be paying if they gave them $18 million per?
That’s not what Giants fans want to hear, and it’s hard to blame anyone for feeling this way. If the team is going to keep boasting about sellouts every single day and night, even when sections 333-336 are close to 100% empty from first pitch until final out, the fans deserve to see the Giants feel the same financial pinch they do after calculating just how much they spent for a few tickets, a few drinks, a few orders of garlic fries and parking.
This is baseball, so “it’s not my money” and “there is no cap” are both in play at all times. And while it’s going to be very easy for naysayers to scream “told you so” if Jarrett Parker hits .185 and strikes out 37% of the time and Mac Williamson fails to produce between DL stints, I don’t see the problem with giving them an actual chance for the first time. I actually kind of like the idea.
/this is where I duck to avoid “Jarrett the Ferret” hats angry fans are hurling in my general direction
Hear me out. Parker and Williamson have received a sprinkling of major league opportunities, but just a sprinkling. Both players found themselves buried (Parker especially) on Bruce Bochy’s bench while healthy last year.
“They’re not getting any younger and they deserve an opportunity,” Evans said. “But we also are not going to give them the jobs. They have to come out there and earn them and there will be competition and other options. There may be trade scenarios or other scenarios that allow us to bring in a guy that’s going to be hard to beat, but right now we just have to give them the opportunity if nothing develops. That’s really how I look at it.
“We’ve got to keep our doors open but an opportunity where they’re competing in the spring is a win for us. But ultimately they have to go out and prove it. Part of our organization being strong is giving young players a chance, and again when they get to be past 25 and 26 they’re not as young anymore, and these guys are getting older and they need that opportunity.”
The Giants don’t want to deal with another Adam Duvall situation, where one or both former prospects go somewhere else and hit dingers, leading to an avalanche of pissed off KNBR callers clogging up Marty Lurie’s switchboard. And this would seem like an almost-perfect left field power platoon except for one thing.
The sample sizes are small, but neither player looks like someone you’d want to depend on too heavily when facing the Dodgers’ cadre of lefties. Who knows, maybe one of them (Williamson would seem to be the safer bet) figures out how to hit major league lefties this year. This could also be where Gorkys Hernandez (righty Gregor Blanco) comes in. He hit .273/.333/.455 against left-handed pitching last year. The sample is even smaller, with just 33 plate appearances, but he’ll almost certainly make the roster since he’s already on the 40-man and looked pretty good at times last year. Crazier things have happened to this team than a guy like Hernandez becoming a key contributor. Like Blanco becoming a valuable part of two championship teams, for instance.
Alex Pavlovic mentioned a few other candidates in his story today — Austin Slater, Wynton Bernard (no relation to Marvin Benard, but we can probably expect Duane Kuiper to mix up the two if he makes the big league roster at any point) and a 28-year-old named Chris Marrero, a top-30 prospect in 2008 who hit 23 home runs last year in Pawtucket.
If the price is too high for McCutchen (and it almost certainly is), the Giants would probably be safer in the power department if they acquired J.D. Martinez. But now we’re running into the same concern — who would the Tigers want in return? Surely someone the Giants want to keep for themselves after parting with so many prospects in July. It’d be nice if the wealthy team on 3rd and King went crazy and spent huge money on a power-hitting left fielder, but the new CBA makes it harder to be a large market spender than before. Plus, it would also be nice, after last year, to have at least one under-30 guy in the outfield at all times. The Giants were looking a little ancient out there last year.