The Giants locked down Andrew McCutchen in a three-player trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, but improving the outfield still remains at the forefront of their offseason agenda, especially when it comes to centerfield. Although McCutchen remains a viable centerfield option for the Giants, many believe he’d be better served playing in right. If that is indeed the case, the Giants may look to make another move, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted out the club’s list of top centerfield free agents, aside from Lorenzo Cain.
Sources say the #SFGiants rank the non-Lorenzo Cain free agent CF options as: 1) Jarrod Dyson; 2) Jon Jay; 3) Cameron Maybin. Dyson is valued for speed, defensive metrics and SB ability. Giants have expressed interest, but Dyson still talking to multiple clubs. Nothing imminent.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 16, 2018
On paper, Lorenzo Cain appears to be the ideal candidate for the Giants’ centerfield job. Throughout his eight years in the major leagues, Cain has put up strong offensive numbers — his best coming in 2015 when he was an All-Star and batted .307 with 16 home runs — and is renowned for his outfield defense.
Yet, should the Giants sign Cain, not only would he come with a luxury-tax breaking contract, but since he received a qualifying offer from the Kansas City Royals, he’d cost the organization draft picks and $1 million in international money.
Given how much it would cost the Giants to bring Cain to San Francisco, here’s a look at their top choices for centerfield free agents.
1) Jarrod Dyson: The 33-year-old centerfielder is coming off a solo season with the Seattle Mariners after seven years with the Kansas City Royals. After breaking out to a .278 batting average in 2016, Dyson stumbled through last season batting .251, but showed a slight power boost with five home runs. Previously, he averaged only one homer per season. What he lacks in power, Dyson makes up for in speed between the bases and in the outfield. He’s averaged 31 stolen bases over the last six years, and boasted 15 defensive runs saved last season. In terms of how much money he’d cost the Giants, Dyson has yet to receive anything higher than $2.8 million in any of his eight seasons in the league, but he’s an outfield commodity that several other teams are pursuing and that could increase his financial worth.
2) Jon Jay: The Giants became very familiar with the 32-year-old centerfielder during his time with the St. Louis Cardinals (2010-2015), San Diego Padres (2016) and Chicago Cubs (2017). Last season, he batted .296 in 141 games with the Cubs, but has not rediscovered the power he had in 2011 when he hit a career-high 10 home runs. Nonetheless, he’s been on an upward trend since batting .210 in 79 games in 2015. He’s played 20 games at AT&T Park, where he batted .243 with one home run and three extra-base hits. Jay has yet to put up a positive number of defensive runs saved since he had one in 2012 and last season, he finished with -4 DRS. Last offseason, Jay signed a one-year deal with the Cubs, worth $8 million.
3) Cameron Maybin: Last year, this 30-year-old centerfielder was selected off waivers by the Houston Astros and went on to become a World Series champion. The Giants saw Maybin when he spent four years in the NL West as a member of the San Diego Padres, where he signed a five-year contract in 2012 that was worth $25 million. Although the 11-year veteran is coming off a tough year at the plate — batting just .228 while hitting 10 home runs — he showed drastic defensive improvement last season with two defensive runs saved, when the previous two seasons he failed to save anymore than -11.