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Kuiper identifies free-agent hitter he'd like Giants to target

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The Giants entered the offseason with a clear No. 1 need, which they mostly took care of when they signed three starting pitchers in the days before a lockout. They still have a glaring hole on their roster, though. 

With Buster Posey enjoying life as a dad and Kris Bryant and Donovan Solano out on the open market, the roster is in need of another dangerous right-handed bat or two. On this week's Giants Talk Podcast, broadcaster Duane Kuiper identified his top choice for that role. Like many Giants fans, he would love to see Nick Castellanos wearing orange and black.

"He's probably not going to get as much as Bryant only because he's not as good defensively and he can't move around like Kris Bryant can. And he doesn't have the track record that Kris Bryant has but his track record is pretty good," Kuiper said. "If you're going to have the DH, then you can afford to possibly pay him. We know the history of Farhan, he's not going to go five, six or seven years, but if you've got confidence in a guy like Castellanos that he's young and he's healthy, maybe you take a chance and say, alright, this is the guy that -- at least -- we have a DH for the next three, four or five years, if you have to go that high. 

 

"The guy can hit. He is a professional hitter, and he's got a little bit of an attitude, which ain't that bad, especially if he's in a Giants uniform. I think that's how I would try to fill that spot if I could."

Castellanos wouldn't come cheap after opting out of the final two years and $34 million on his Reds contract. Like Bryant, he's a Scott Boras client, and he reportedly was seeking a seven- or eight-year deal before the lockout shut down free agency. That's a long shot for the 29-year-old, but he certainly has some bargaining power after the 2021 season. 

Castellanos was an All-Star for the first time and finished 12th in NL MVP voting after hitting 34 homers and posting a .939 OPS for the Reds. He mashed both lefties and righties, but there are certainly reasons to be concerned about a long-term deal. Castellanos is a poor defender in right and would be best suited for the DH spot in his thirties, and he also hit much, much better at his hitter-friendly home ballpark (1.109 OPS) than on the road (.772) this past season. 

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Whether it's Castellanos, Bryant or someone else, the Giants certainly need to add a right-handed bat to the mix. Posey, Bryant and Solano were three of their key hitters against lefties, with Posey, in particular, doing a ton of damage. He had a 1.051 OPS against lefties and the Giants will now try to replace some of that production with two right-handed hitters in Joey Bart and Curt Casali. Evan Longoria, Darin Ruf and Austin Slater will all return, but Longoria just turned 36 and Ruf turns 36 next season. 

Aside from Carlos Correa, a shortstop who is expected to get more than $300 million, the best remaining right-handed hitter on the market is Bryant, someone the Giants haven't seemed particularly confident in retaining. After that, it's Trevor Story (another shortstop), Castellanos and Seiya Suzuki, a star from Japan who was posted before the lockout. Kuiper said he thinks the Giants will find an intriguing way to fill the need.

"I think they're going to sign a significant hitter, I do, and it's going to be a right-handed hitter," he said. "I don't know if they'll have to go out of the country to do that. That's a possibility. Maybe Kris Bryant isn't off the books yet? But that's part of this whole lockout. We would get a better idea now of what's going on (in a normal offseason) and now we have no idea as to what's going on." 

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