MLB rumors: Giants interested in signing Yasiel Puig in free agency

MLB rumors: Giants interested in signing Yasiel Puig in free agency

There's a saying in sports that goes like this: If you're projected to be bad, at least be fun. The Giants seem to be big fans of that idea. 

San Francisco already brought back Pablo Sandoval for the 2020 season, and NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic has learned that the Giants and Hunter Pence are discussing a reunion. The band is coming back together, so why not add one of the biggest rivals in franchise history? 

Now we're having fun. 

MLB Insider Robert Murray reported Friday that the Giants have interest in signing free-agent outfielder Yasiel Puig. 

Sure, Giants fans might have mixed emotions on this news but it makes a ton of sense. The Giants badly need right-handed power hitters and Puig would give them a big boost offensively, one that fans have been clamoring to get for years. 

Puig, 29, hit 24 homers, drove in 84 runs and had a .785 OPS between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians last season. He also had a 1.2 fWAR, and FanGraphs has him worth at least one win above replacement in every season of his seven-year career. 

Puig has hit at least 20 homers in three straight seasons and has averaged 19 long balls in his major league career. The Giants ranked 26th in all of baseball last season with only 167 homers as a team. They also ranked 28th in slugging percentage (.392) and runs scored (678).

Oh, and he can hit at Oracle Park. Puig hit .417 with two homers in three games playing in San Francisco last season. That wasn't an outlier, either. In 45 road games against the Giants, Puig is hitting .299 with five homers, 17 RBI and an .838 OPS. 

Puig became an instant Giants nemesis with the Los Angeles Dodgers immediately after debuting with San Francisco's rivals in 2013. He found himself in multiple scuffles with Bumgarner, and sparked a brawl in 2018 after fighting former Giants catcher Nick Hundley. 

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Both of those players are gone with MadBum on the Arizona Diamondbacks and Hundley working for MLB. In recent years, a lot of fun has left the ballpark in San Francisco, too. Let's bring some back. 

Remember kids, if you're projected to be bad, at least be fun. When you add entertainment, wins certainly could follow.

Giants' Johnny Cueto funnily recovers after nearly falling from shimmy

Giants' Johnny Cueto funnily recovers after nearly falling from shimmy

When you take the mound at Coors Field, you expect to deal with your surroundings. You know the thin air will turn some pop-ups into homers, and the massive outfield will turn bloop singles into stand-up doubles. The hard infield adds to the terror, too. 

What you don't expect is to fall off the mound, but Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto nearly did with his trademark shimmy Monday night against the Colorado Rockies. Cueto rocked back and forth with two outs in the fourth, but his right leg buckled.

The recovery was both hilarious and impressive.

"I have great balance and I was able to recuperate and I threw a strike," Cueto said after a 7-6 loss. "It's just the emotion of the game. That's what I like to do, have fun."

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Cueto has taken his shimmy to new heights this season, and he had a similarly wobbly moment in the season opener at Dodger Stadium. The most impressive part was the recovery.

If you watch Monday's video a few times, you'll see Cueto gets back into a completely normal position after the shimmy, delivering a curveball low and away. Chris Owings pounded it into the grass for an inning-ending grounder to third. 

"I think Johnny himself was giggling as he came off the mound," manager Gabe Kapler said. "Tonight is a tough one to swallow and deal with, but I think it's also okay to point out something that was kind of fun that happened. He loses his balance, collects himself, delivers a secondary pitch for a strike. It's just really impressive. There's not many people out there that can do that."

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Pregame decision, sloppy defense cost Gabe Kapler, Giants in 7-6 loss

Pregame decision, sloppy defense cost Gabe Kapler, Giants in 7-6 loss

It almost seemed like a mistake when the Giants' lineup card was posted.

Steven Duggar, the best defensive outfielder on the roster, was listed in left field. Alex Dickerson was the right fielder for just the second time in his big league career. 

It seemed like a mixup, but Gabe Kapler explained before Monday's game why it made sense. Left field at Coors Field has significantly more real estate than right, and the gap is much harder to play on that side of the field. Kapler said the staff had gone over the spray charts for Rockies hitters and decided it made more sense to put Duggar, who had two previous professional innings in left, there Monday. 

"It's a little bit unpredictable," Kapler said in the afternoon. "Sometimes you get that right and sometimes you don't."

A few hours later, it felt like the decision ended up being costly. Dickerson, who previously had only played right when Brandon Belt was the left fielder, had two misplays in the five-run sixth inning of a 7-6 loss to the Rockies. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

With the Giants up by a run, Ryan McMahon hit a one-out shot to right that Dickerson got a glove on as his feet hit the warning track. But he bobbled the ball and dropped it as McMahon raced into third. The Rockies took the lead later in the inning on a single to right that turned into a two-run play when Dickerson's throw back to the infield overshot the cutoff man. Pitcher Wandy Peralta and catcher Chadwick Tromp ended up converging on the ball near the dugout as the trail runner easily took a vacated plate. 

Kapler said a night like that does lead to second-guessing, but he added that "sometimes you set them up and you set them up the right way and it doesn't work out."

"In hindsight, you question was that the right call. Honestly I bet Dick makes that (catch) 19 out of 20 times," Kapler said. "The throw, I bet he makes almost every time. There's no question."

The Giants were confident in their process, but at this point it might be hard to be too confident in how those decisions will play out on the field. The defense has been a mess through 11 games, a bit of a surprise given the intensity of both camps. They lead the NL with 13 errors. Evan Longoria booted a grounder in the first inning that led to the first run off Johnny Cueto, who was later charged with two more on a Nolan Arenado homer. 

That blast, Arenado's first of the year, started the five-run outburst. The Rockies kept tacking on thanks to the defensive mistakes, and perhaps the pre-game decision. 

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Dickerson said the switch might have factored in "a little bit" on the angles he took and said something caught his eye on the throw, perhaps because he was in an unfamiliar spot. But Dickerson said there were no excuses, and those were plays that should have been made regardless of his lack of experience in right. 

"At the end of the day you're still an athlete," he said. "You've got to be able to go catch a ball like that. I just kind of had one of those innings where there were two big flukes that really cost us."