This is a discussion I think has some real merit. We all know about the top tier guys available for left field. We've beat to death the names like Cespedes, Gordon, and Upton. This is not what we're discussing here. Pagan is most likely gone after his contract is up at the end of the season. So one theory is to get a player this year to fill LF, but who can also play CF if/when Pagan leaves after 2016 or gets hurt during the season. The free agent class next year is sparse to put it mildly. Let's assume for the sake of discussion that we are not still looking at the top LF names....and that we'd like a new CF to also bat leadoff to fully replace Pagan basically
Ok first, here's who I am calling the middle tier free agents for the outfield, and the numbers I'm posting are their CAREER numbers only as leadoff hitters. The reason behind this is, not only will Pagan need replacing in CF following this season, but the Giants will need a leadoff hitter as well, and truthfully next year's FA market for everything sucks. These 3 are in no particular order, and I will add a 4th name as something I thought about as a possible fit for a trade. Feel free to discuss other trade scenarios too, but here it is:
1. Denard Span. Age 31. Career .285 avg, .350obp, and .740 ops as a leadoff hitter. Coming off of hip surgery and is a Boras client. Poor defensive year last year with -10 defensive runs saved, but +19 DRS for his career so possibly injury related. Made $9m in 2015.
2. Gerardo Parra. Age 28. Career .283 avg, .334 obp, and .780 ops as a leadoff hitter. Can play all 3 OF positions, and CF is his "worst," but still only -1 DRS in 2015, and -3 in CF for his entire career with 0 being average. Made $6.25m in 2015.
3. Dexter Fowler. Age 28. Career .267 avg, .362 obp, and .790 ops as a leadoff hitter. Primarily CF only, and poor defensive numbers that some had contributed to a huge Coors Field outfield, but -12 DRS in Chicago last season, and -56 DRS for his career. AT&T outfield not much smaller than Coors. Fowler has a draft pick attached to him as well as the Cubs made him a qualifying offer, so it would additionally cost the Giants a draft pick. Fowler made $9.5m in 2015.
Here's my trade idea which would be #4. The Yankees don't want to take on more $$, hence their relative silence this offseason in the FA market, and they need pitching. The Giants put 8 arms on the 40 man roster to protect them from the rule 5 draft, yet still lost an arm to Toronto through rule 5. Long winded way of suggesting there's no shortage of pitching and they protected who they did for a reason. Maybe a trade ?? And maybe this?
4. Brett Gardner. Age 32. .266 avg, .344 obp, .761 ops career as a leadoff hitter. 0 DRS in CF in 2015 and +38 DRS for his career. Signed through 2018 for "Pagan-esque" type money. $12.5m this year, $13.5m next, and $12.5m in '18. Costs no draft pick obviously as it would be a trade.
To put in perspective, Pagan (with SF only) has been .282 avg, .328 obp, and .722 as a leadoff hitter and abysmal in OF with -40 DRS. And that's with barely being on the field. Hard to believe Fowler has been worse, but apparently has been.
Never ever heard the Gardner "rumor" as it was just a thought in my head, but thinking big pic/overall needs, if the Boras thing was to be overlooked or manageable, I'm thinking Span as a FA (he's supposed to be healthy) and Gardner as my trade prospect. Whoever they get, however, will be an obvious improvement. Both in age and production.