Nick Nelson

Offseason Lowdown

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Lowdown: San Fran Shuffle

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


With Monday's blockbuster trade for Andrew McCutchen, the San Francisco Giants acquired the star hitter they badly needed. But while he might become the new centerpiece of their offense, Cutch won't be at the center of their outfield.


Manager Bruce Bochy said on Tuesday he plans to shift Hunter Pence over to left field and install the new addition in right. It makes sense, because McCutchen's range is declining here on the other side of 30, but leaves them without a legit option in center. Last year's starter, Denard Span, went to Tampa in the Evan Longoria deal earlier this offseason.


To that end, San Francisco continues to maintain interest in free agent Lorenzo Cain, but it sounds like Jarrod Dyson is next on their list. He'd be an intriguing addition, especially with the Giants infusing some power via McCutchen and Longoria. Dyson is of course a speed demon, having averaged more than 30 steals over the past six seasons despite sporadic playing time. In 2017, Eduardo Nunez (now a free agent) led San Fran in steals with 18, while Span and Gorkys Hernandez were the only others to reach double digits (12 apiece).


It remains to be seen how everything will play out, but this much is already clear: the Giants are going to have a much, much more interesting offense this year after ranking at the bottom of the NL in OPS and third-to-last in runs scored.


Harrison Hinting at Trade Request


Now that McCutchen and Gerrit Cole have both been shipped out within the space of a few days, it comes as no surprise that Josh Harrison is giving indications he'd like to be next in line.


In a statement released Tuesday, the 30-year-old infielder said he would prefer to be traded if Pittsburgh does not expect to contend in 2018 and 2019. Harrison, the club's lone All Star last year, hasn't put up amazing numbers at the plate by any means but he is a versatile defender who logged a career-high 16 homers in 2017. He also brings solid speed, with 10-plus steals in each of the past four campaigns.


Harrison has one guaranteed season left on his contract, plus team options for 2019 and 2020, and they're all at a reasonable rate so he's an appealing piece for almost any contender. It all comes down to whether GM Neal Huntington can coax an offer that makes it worth his while. If nothing materializes this winter, a midseason trade will be on the table once the Pirates are inevitably out of the running by July.



Grandy Lands in Toronto


Curtis Granderson isn't close to the player he once was, but at age 36 he still did two things very well at the plate last year: hitting home runs (26) and drawing walks (71). This enabled him to post a respectable .775 OPS for the Mets and Dodgers despite a career-low .212 batting average.


Now, he's taking his power and patience north of the border.


The Blue Jays signed Granderson to a one-year, $5 million deal this week, and moving to a reputedly hitter-friendly park ought to benefit him. There's no reason to expect much of a rebound in batting average, and the Jays might shield him from lefties more than he's used to, but the outfielder has notched at least 20 homers and 59 RBI in each of the last 12 years, outside of an injury-shortened 2013.


Quick Hits: Christian Yelich's trade request has turned into more of a trade demand because his relationship with the Marlins is irretrievably broken, according to Jerry Crasnick ... The Nationals reached agreement on a two-year, $7 million deal with Howie Kendrick, who figures to function in a utility role but should see significant playing time ... Justin Morneau will officially announce his retirement on Wednesday at Target Field, which will become his new office as he's transitioning into a special assistant role with the Twins ... The Mets finalized their three-year, $39 million contract with Jay Bruce ... It might come as small solace for Pirates fans after the team shipped out its best pitcher and hitter, but Pittsburgh did manage to lock up standout reliever Felipe Rivero with a four-year extension ... Lefty Brian Duensing inked a two-year, $7 million pact to return to the Cubs ... Yadier Molina said on Monday he plans to retire after his current contract with St. Louis concludes in 2020 ... The Twins officially announced their two-year, $16.75 million deal with Addison Reed, who – at least initially – will work in a setup role ahead of closer Fernando Rodney ... Jimmy Nelson is expected to begin a throwing program on Friday, putting him ahead of schedule since he wasn't initially expected to start throwing until spring training ... Ichiro Suzuki's agent indicated that the 44-year-old outfielder, undoubtedly encountering a chilly market in free agency, may consider a return to Japan.



Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.
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