Should Giants explore signing nemesis Yasiel Puig in free agency?

Should Giants explore signing nemesis Yasiel Puig in free agency?

The Giants replaced franchise icon Bruce Bochy with Gabe Kapler as their new manager this offseason, and reportedly have "shown no inclination" in keeping Madison Bumgarner. 

Now imagine if they signed one of the most despised opposing players in franchise history. Glasses of IPA would be shattered, beanies would be burned, even Patagonia jackets might be on the wrong side of angry fans. 

The Athletic's Jim Bowden made one move for all 30 MLB teams at the Winter Meetings, and here's his wish for the Giants: Sign outfielder Yasiel Puig to a four-year, $48 million contract. 

Slow down, hold on to your garlic fries. Everything is going to be OK. There's no reason to spit out your Philz coffee. 

Bowden, who served as the Reds general manager from 1992 to 2003 and Expos/Nationals GM from 2005-08, links Puig to the Giants with his ties to Kapler and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Kapler was the Dodgers' director of player development for three of Puig's seasons in Los Angeles, while Zaidi was L.A.'s GM for five of those years.

Puig became an instant Giants nemesis with the 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. 

Zaidi and the rest of the front office aren't worried about the past, though. This is a new era of Giants baseball, where nostalgia -- and apparently PR -- aren't top priorities. In a bubble, Puig makes some sense for the Giants. 

The Giants badly need right-handed power hitters and already have been linked to free-agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Puig would give them a big boost offensively, one that fans have been clamoring to get for years. 

Puig, who turns 29 on Dec. 7, hit 24 homers, drove in 84 runs and had a .785 OPS between the Reds and 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).

It's safe to say this team could use a slugger. They also need a right-handed bat to complement left-handed outfielders Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson. The most intriguing part of Puig's game, however, is his ability to hit in San Francisco. 

Puig hit .417 with two homers in three games at Oracle Park in 2019. 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. 

Of Puig's 132 career home runs, 74 have been hit in NL West stadiums. 

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Take a deep breath. Now grab your Anchor Steam beer and carne asada burrito. Yes, Yasiel Puig on the Giants very well could make sense.

Giants notes: Reyes Moronta takes next step in rehab, joins player pool

Giants notes: Reyes Moronta takes next step in rehab, joins player pool

As the Giants continue to try out guys who might be part of their next good bullpen, they had a positive update on a right-hander who once seemed set to be the future closer. 

Reyes Moronta, out since last summer because of shoulder surgery, joined the alternate site in Sacramento on Friday. Moronta has not pitched since last Aug. 31 and was put on the 45-day injured list during the first camp, but manager Gabe Kapler said the staff believes Moronta has a chance to return in September. He will start a throwing program in Sacramento. 

"We're actively seeking out that possibility, we're actively pushing towards (him becoming) an option for us," Kapler said. "We think he has enough time, but of course we always put the health of our players first. We won't push him too hard or too fast."

Moronta joined the Sacramento camp along with Hunter Bishop, who tested positive for COVID-19 more than a month ago and recently passed the necessary tests to be part of the player pool as planned. Kapler exchanged texts with Bishop and said the 2019 first-round pick is extremely excited to finally be part of the player pool. Bishop isn't close to the big league level, but he should benefit from everyday work with the staff in Sacramento. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

--- The Giants added two more to that camp in a very "2020 baseball season" way. Steven Duggar and Andrew Triggs were taken off the taxi squad and sent back to Sacramento so they can get some reps in while the Giants play the Los Angeles Dodgers. They flew from Denver to Los Angeles with the club and then took separate cars up to Sacramento. 

"I think we can be a little bit more flexible there and think about the reps versus being right next door," Kapler said. "We still feel like it's a pretty easy ask to have somebody come from the Sacramento site once we're in Los Angeles."

The Giants hope, obviously, that they don't need reinforcements this week. But if they do need an outfielder like Duggar, that's a lot of time on I-5. Dereck Rodriguez, Andrew Suarez and Chris Herrmann remain on the traveling taxi squad. 

[RELATED: How Yaz has turned into Giants star after close call]

--- Drew Smyly (finger) saw a hand specialist and it went well, Kapler said. The Giants will reevaluate him at the end of this road trip, which goes through Wednesday. Sam Coonrod (lat) has started throwing with no issues 

--- Kapler said Jaylin Davis is making progress with his swing and "things are trending in the right direction there." Also in Sacramento, Joey Bart played an inning of first base in Thursday's simulated game. 

Giants vs. Dodgers live stream: How to watch MLB games online, on TV

Giants vs. Dodgers live stream: How to watch MLB games online, on TV

The Giants head to Los Angeles for the second time in the 2020 season and open up a three-game set against the rival Dodgers.

The Giants (6-8) are coming off a series loss to the Rockies, while the Dodgers (9-4) took two out of three from the San Diego Padres. The Giants and Dodgers split their four-game series when the two division rivals faced two weeks ago. 

Here's how you can watch the Giants play the Dodgers online (download the MyTeams app here!) and on TV:

Friday, Aug. 7

When: Giants Pregame Live at 6 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 6:40 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Stream: MyTeams app

Saturday, Aug. 8

When: Giants Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 6:10 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Stream: MyTeams app

Sunday, Aug. 9

When: Giants Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 1:10 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Stream: MyTeams app

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]