Giants

Why Giants signing Marcell Ozuna in MLB free agency would make sense

Why Giants signing Marcell Ozuna in MLB free agency would make sense

It seems like the Giants enter every offseason in search of a power-hitting outfielder. Could this be the winter when they finally land one?

While San Francisco has its own pending free agents to consider, the Giants surely will be looking for ways to upgrade their roster. MLB Trade Rumors predicts they'll sign outfielder Marcell Ozuna, which surely would be a step in the right direction.

Ozuna, 28, spent the last two seasons with the Cardinals, and is coming off a year in which he slashed .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs and 89 RBI over 130 games with St. Louis. He also was a two-time All-Star and won a Gold Glove over his five seasons with the Marlins. 

MLB Trade Rumors forecasts Ozuna to sign a three-year, $45 million contract with San Francisco. While his production dipped with the Cardinals, his Statcast numbers provide reason for optimism.

"Ozuna’s average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage were both in the 93rd percentile or better this year, suggesting that his current skill level will produce better results in the future," MLB Trade Rumors wrote. "Plus, he turns 29 this month, so he’s young enough to present some upside. Assuming Ozuna turns down his qualifying offer from the Cardinals, he’s expected to sign elsewhere. The Giants, Marlins, Reds, Padres, Indians, Tigers, and Royals could make sense."

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As mentioned, Ozuna was given a qualifying offer by the Cardinals, so if the Giants signed him, they would have to forfeit a draft pick to St. Louis. However, it would not be San Francisco's first-round selection, which comes in at No. 13 overall.

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Dusty Baker has been a part of professional baseball since 1967, and if and when the sport returns in 2020, he will have to kick a few habits he's probably been doing since he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

All players, managers and coaches will have to stop spitting, among other things.

In the name of health and safety during the age of the coronavirus pandemic, MLB sent a 67-page document to teams outlining what the players can no longer do.

For Baker, the former Giants manager and current Houston Astros skipper, he isn't sure how he's going to stop spitting.

“Now the biggest challenge is gonna be what my mom has been chastising me about my whole life — spitting,” Baker told The Athletic's Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville. “I am not kidding you. That’s the first thing my wife asked me. She goes, ‘How you gonna stop spitting?’ I don’t know.

“And my mom, I swear — she has been getting on me since I was 10 years old about spitting. Know what I mean? And I used to practice spitting. I’m the most accurate spitter in the world.”

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

If you've seen Baker anywhere near a baseball diamond, he always has a toothpick sticking out of his mouth. Those little pieces of wood have become synonymous with the 70-year-old.

Baker told Stark and Glanville that there was a time in his career where he called a toothpick company trying to get an endorsement. Yes, a toothpick endorsement.

“So they wrote me back,” Baker said. “Nice letter. And they said, ‘Thank you, Dusty. It’s a great idea. But we don’t need you to sell toothpicks.' ”

Only Dusty could try to get a toothpick endorsement.

[RELATED: Zac Efron's epic Dusty autograph story]

Whenever baseball returns, Baker will manage an Astros team coming off a turbulent offseason in which they were severely punished for a sign-stealing scandal. Former manager AJ Hinch was fired for his role, opening the door for Baker get the chance to lead his fifth MLB team to the playoffs.

If Baker gets back to the playoffs, he'll have to do it without his trusty toothpicks.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Hunter Pence was part of two World Series-winning teams with the Giants in 2012 and 2014. He rejoined San Francisco's roster in February after an impressive comeback season in 2019 that included All-Star honors with the Texas Rangers.

The 37-year-old outfielder joined 95.7 The Game on Friday and explained why he decided to return to San Francisco.

“Obviously I feel a deep connection with the Giants organization,” Pence said. “The city, and these years, you never know which one is gonna be your last. I think everyone thought two years ago was my last year, and I’ve been fortunate that I made some adjustments.

“I want to be a part of passing on a lot of the things that I’ve learned to the young people, and I wanna come and transition back into the winning ways.”

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Pence also noted that he’s appreciated getting a chance to work with the organization’s new leadership.

“It’s been really exciting to learn from Farhan, and the new metrics and I learned a lot of that with the Rangers. So I’m excited to share. I wanna pass all that on, I feel right at home, I’m in love with the city and the organization, and in love with everything with the Giants. It feels like home, it feels like family and it means a lot to be a Giant.”

Pence hopefully will be able to once again take the field in a Giants uniform soon.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]