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Giants miss out on awfully intriguing free-agent outfielder

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of nontendered players who have caught the Giants’ eye. Among the outfielders who were let go by their teams Dec. 2, none was as intriguing or came as a better fit than David Dahl.

It wasn’t to be.

The big bat was quickly taken off the board, Dahl agreeing to a one-year contract with the Rangers on Friday in the $3 million neighborhood, according to various reports.

The Giants could use a lefty bat, and Dahl is a lefty. They would love someone to partner with Mauricio Dubon in center who allows Mike Yastrzemski to be a strict right fielder, and Dahl was probably the best (if imperfect) fit among the outfielders set free; he’s mostly been a left fielder but played 17 (of his 24) games in center a season ago. The other interesting and available outfield bats, nontendered or not, tend to be less-flexible corner options, with the exception of Jackie Bradley Jr.

Dahl was an All-Star in 2019, when he slashed .302/.353/.524 with 15 home runs and seemed on a star trajectory before injuries sidetracked his rise and 2020. The injury concerns, though, were not the primary reason Colorado let him walk rather than pay the 26-year-old the $2 or $3 million arbitration number, as the Rockies are warning their fans they have no money to spend.

A bat as dangerous and young as his should have been desired by 29 other teams, but it’s possible he found the spot that will best showcase his talents for a year from now, when he’ll hit free agency again. If he stays healthy, he can play every day for the Rangers and rebuild value after his injury-marred ’20, after which he underwent shoulder surgery.

The Giants will continue searching, bringing back Alex Dickerson and righties Darin Ruf or Austin Slater as a possible left-field platoon, All-MLB Second-Teamer Mike Yastrzemski in right and Dubon in center. The other 40-man options are the forgotten Jaylin Davis, Steven Duggar and Luis Basabe, and the need is clearly in center.

Apart from Bradley, though, who should have a strong market after a strong season, and the superstar money that George Springer will get, there is little outside help that would cost money and not prospects.

Which helped make Dahl, even with his injury risk and fringe center-field fit, all the more attractive. The virtual Winter Meetings have ended, but the Giants still have work to do.

Veteran lefty Jerry Blevins, who spent spring training 1.0 with the Giants last season before being waived, signed with the Mets, according to USA Today.


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