Giants fans can dream of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado cranking balls out of AT&T Park. Maybe they shouldn't dream too big.
Brian Sabean seems to have his glass half empty when it comes to the idea of the Giants adding a huge power hitter in free agency. The Giants' executive vice president of baseball operations knows the reality of a star power bat signing in San Francisco.
“Well, it’s damn near impossible because on the free agent market a power hitter is not necessarily gonna want to come here,” Sabean said Thursday on KNBR. “Because they know the park factor. If you want to be more cryptic about it, the people who have success here have to be pull hitters. They have to be right-handed pull hitters or left-handed pull hitters. That’s very tough to find."
AT&T Park is pitcher friendly beyond the fog and San Francisco weather. The ballpark dimensions play no favors for hitters looking to launch balls over the wall. Looking down the lines, you would think otherwise.
The right-field foul pole is just 309 feet away, and the left-field line is 339 feet from home plate. However, straight left field is 364 feet and right field is 365 feet, with center field a typical 399 feet. The real home-run-killer is Triples Alley, where right-center field extends to a whopping 421 feet.
Those dimensions might not be enticing to Harper, a left-handed hitter who has 30 home runs this season -- or two more than the Giants' top two home run hitters have combined. Machado, currently a Giants rival with the Dodgers, has 29.
“In reality, you either have to develop them or you have to trade for them,” Sabean added. “Or it’s Plan B and you go with another style of offense, which is more based on line drives and doubles and being able to run the bases."
With 33 games left in the season, every player on the Giants is auditioning for a spot on the 2019 roster, and Sabean is taking notice to every at-bat.
"We’re open now to really anything we can do to uptick this offense, because this downturn we’ve had, started with the second half of ’16, has really just been unacceptable,” he said.