The Giants, like many others, shifted their offseason focus from free agency to the trade market. The team completed the most trades of any team and in doing so they added a couple superstars and gave up what most would consider a minimal amount of prospects.
Last season, the Giants finished with the least amount of home runs in the league at 128. With the MLB trending heavily in the power department this was a major deficiency for the last place Giants. This problem was one of many that needed to be solved this offseason and as mentioned above, they did so through the trade market.
First, the Giants looked to the rebuilding Rays to acquire third baseman, Evan Longoria. In Longoria, the Giants will get about 20 home runs a year and a gold glove level defender. Longoria’s 3.6 WAR in 2017 would have ranked second among all Giants players only behind the great Buster Posey. The addition of Longoria was a step in the right direction for a team that could not get worse and the Giants did not stop there.
About three weeks after acquiring Longoria the Giants grabbed Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates. McCutchen, like Longoria, will provide another 20-30 home runs a year and will also bring his leadership and well-known likeability to the locker room. But, with McCutchen, the Giants will get a defender on a rapid decline ever since his gold glove days of 2012. McCutchen is rated below league average in center field and his deficiency there may explain the Giants’ addition of Austin Jackson just a week later.
While his bat is good for about 350 at-bats, Austin Jackson is a premier defender in center field. He was all over highlight reels last season when he went flying over the bullpen wall in Fenway to rob Hanley Ramirez of a home run to center. Jackson will provide that defensive boost needed to help the declining McCutchen.
The Giants also added reliever Tony Watson and catcher Nick Hundley by way of free agency. Both of the two should help the Giants in their own ways with Watson providing much-needed bullpen help.