The Giants were terrible on offense this past season.
There are a few free agents who are pretty good hitters.
Therefore: Every bipedal human being that can pick up a baseball bat and swing it a few times will be linked to the Giants this upcoming offseason.
Nameless Yahoo MLB rumor-monger says:
The San Francisco Giants want to add a player with a big bat this off-season and the word is that the Boston Red Sox’s Jason Bay(notes) will be the prime target, according to the Boston Globe.
Jason Bay hit .267/.376/.519 for the Red Sox this year in 638 plate appearances. That works out to a .397 wOBA which is very good. The Giants need hitters. Jason Bay is a pretty good hitter. Make it happen, Sabes!
We know a few things about Bay since he’s logged over 3,800+ PA’s in his MLB career. He’s a good hitter — career wOBA of .384 — that’s been steady year-to-year outside of his 2007 with the Pirates. No one will be able to contest that he’s not a good hitter, at least for the moment. How he translates as a player into his early 30′s should be somewhat concerning when you consider his player-type. Bay profiles as your average ‘Old Player Skills’ — ie: a player who relies on walks and hitting for power. It’s a Bill James concept and in a nutshell, once a guy like Jason Bay starts hitting for less power or walking less, he’s not going to have any other skill to fall back on.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Despite a decline in skills, there’s a pretty good chance that Bay will be a good hitter in 2010. The Giants need good hitters. What’s the deal?
Jason Bay’s LF UZR scores from 2004-2009:
For all the good work that Bay does at the plate, he’s giving a large part of it back in the field. And, unfortunately for the Giants, there’s no DH in the National League. The Giants had the 3rd best OF defense by UZR in ’09. Only the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Devil Rays were better. When you consider that the M’s maybe had one of the best OF defenses in recent memory, a #3 place ranking is quite good. The Giants stellar OF defense is one part of the reason that the team had such a good season on the mound. Flyball inducers like Matt Cain — in an average year 45% of his balls in play are in the air — are greatly helped by a good OF defense.
When you consider Bay’s price tag — he’s probably the 2nd best hitter behind Matt Holliday to reach free agency — age, and defensive issues, he doesn’t fit the profile of what the Giants need right now. It’s true, the Giants drastically need to augment their offense but when you’re giving back almost a full-win per season by your fielding, it’s just not a good idea. Jason Bay hasn’t reached Adam Dunn’s level of fielding futility, yet, but I’m not sure I’d feel much more comfortable about giving Bay the same deal that Dunn got last year.