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Tom Verducci names star player Giants should target to bolster lineup



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Over the last week, Tom Verducci made waves by tearing into the San Francisco Giants’ approach, and describing them as the league’s most boring playoff contender.

The assessment seemed warranted, and Verducci joined Murph & Mac on Tuesday to discuss that piece and where he thinks the Giants, who are all but out of the playoff picture, go from here.

He started off by pointing out that the Giants have failed to adapt to baseball’s rule changes this season. Their lack of athleticism is apparent:

You’re up against Blake Snell. Well, you’re not going to get two or three hits together against a pitcher like that. He may walk a couple here and there. But you better find ways to start runners, put the ball in play, create offense because you’re just not going to have that multi-hit rally.

And I just felt like the Giants are never in position to do something like that. Now, it’s a little bit better with some of the kids that they brought up, where they do have some options in terms of speed. I’m not sure if they’re all ready yet now to be everyday contributors to the Giants. But you can see it’s starting to turn a little bit.

But yeah, I think the Giants got caught here like some of these other teams — I’ll throw the White Sox in there as well — that didn’t anticipate what this effect would have in terms of the rule changes.

So where do they go from here?

Verducci thinks they need a serious bat in their lineup. Mid-level players and young prospects isn’t going to cut it:

I still think they need to — it’s not enough to me to rely on this group of young players. They’re promising. I like some of what I’ve seen. Luciano looks like he’s a player. Bailey as well.

But I still think you need some thump in the middle of that lineup. You’re going to need stars to bring people out to that ballpark. And it’s not just going to be a complete pivot, I don’t think. But I think the payroll is going to have to increase to get star players in. Signing the Mitch Hanigers of the world and hitting on a Lamonte Wade, it’s fine to finish off teams, but I still think that the middle of the order is gonna need some thump in it.

Thump. That’s clearly something the Giants lack.

So where do they get it? Shohei Ohtani is obviously right at the top of that list, even though his market is questionable given that he’ll only be a batter next season.

His agent said he should be able to pitch again in the 2024 season, which makes his worth tough to assess.

Either way, Verducci doesn’t see the Giants as favorites to sign him. He thinks they’ll be in the mix, but not the top team in for him.

He did posit another name, and one the Giants have seen plenty of over the last few days: Juan Soto. He thinks Soto, with one year left, will be up for grabs.

Do you want Juan Soto there, is that the kind of trade you’re talking about? Because I think the Padres will put him on the market. Doesn’t mean they’re motivated to trade him, but they’re going to reduce their payroll. And that’s a guy who’s a year away free agency.

I still think there’s a place for Juan Soto. I do think he’s tradable even as a rental-type player, But that’s the kind of deal I think you’re talking about. That’s the kind of hitter that I’m talking about for the Giants….

You’re gonna have to step up and make a bold move. So I would agree with that. Whether it’s trade or free agency, you know, there’s a big move out there

The Giants made a trade for Kris Bryant in 2021 at the deadline and had the infamous failed moves for Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa, but haven’t been able to get a big name in. Verducci thinks that has to change this offseason.

Listen to the full interview above. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.