SAN FRANCISCO — The names continue to trickle in.
Francisco Liriano is a Pirate. Curtis Granderson is a Marlin. Wade Miley is an Astro.
Can you feel the excitement?
The slowest offseason in recent MLB history has shown no signs that a jolt is coming, and with a week until pitchers and catchers report, there are plenty of familiar names still out there. That means plenty of work remains for front offices, and this week one team source said the Giants are viewing the situation in a new way. They feel like they’re right in the middle of December, not the first week of February, and they continue to be patient as they seek improvements.
The Giants are still confident that they’ll add reinforcements, although they might have to wait until March for the right price. What’s still out there? A lot.
Here are five guys who could still help …
There are arguments against, especially since the Giants are rebuilding-without-saying-they’re-rebuilding. But Gonzalez is also just 29, so he could be around for the next contending Giants team. And while he’ll get a hefty deal, it won’t be one that sends the Giants back to luxury tax territory. If the team is serious about supplementing the current core, Gonzalez, a do-everything, right-handed hitter who could start in left field on Opening Day, is the fit.
If you’re still out there at this point, you’re either really expensive, too old for modern front offices, or have your warts as a baseball player. Dietrich isn’t a good fit defensively and the Giants probably feel a lot better about the gloves of the other versatile players they have assembled. Dietrich also hasn’t been a huge on-base guy in his career. But he hit 29 homers the past two seasons, which is nine more than all the outfielders on the Giants’ 40-man roster combined.
A switch-hitting outfielder, Grossman has OBP’d above .360 each of the last three seasons and would bring a bit more certainty to the outfield mix. He hasn’t shown much power, but the Giants have mostly shied away from power-first types with their outfield moves this offseason, anyway, focusing on guys who reach base. Grossman isn’t good defensively, but Steven Duggar in center could mitigate some of that.
The Giants have some intriguing young players vying for backup infield jobs, but Harrison would bring versatility and a right-handed bat at a time when Farhan Zaidi is looking for possible platoon pieces. He has a .279/.326/.437 career line against lefties and has been connected to the Giants at times this winter.
The Giants were connected to Gio Gonzalez this week, but Buchholz would be much more in line with what Zaidi has done in the past to build depth. With Rich Hill, the Dodgers basically took a “It’s fine if you get hurt, but we’ll take you any time you can make a start mentality,” and Buchholz could fit that after a bounce-back season with the Diamondbacks. This rotation doesn’t need another starter to provide 170 league-average innings. It needs upside, and Buchholz had a 2.01 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 16 appearances for the Diamondbacks last season. If he doesn’t work out, it’s fine. There’s plenty of rotation depth left.
BONUS: Bryce Harper
This list was not supposed to include big names, and Harper has not been a target this offseason. The Giants are taking a step back, looking for role players, trying to dump some salary, etc. etc.
And yet … Oracle just backed up the truck to put its logo all over the ballpark, and ownership is poised to strike a deal with Mark Davis of all people to let the Raiders tear up the grass at Third and King.
This offseason has been a nightmare from a PR perspective and for the team’s ticket-sellers, so the front office should keep an eye on Harper as this process drags out. It would throw a wrench into the big-picture plan, but the money is there -- it was there before all this, too -- and at some point, the Giants need to give their fans additional reasons to come to the ballpark in June.