Giants haunted by free agent they could have signed in blowout loss to D’backs

PHOENIX — The Giants had vacancies at both corner outfield positions this offseason and under new leadership in the front office, they had the freedom and financial flexibility to fill those spots as they pleased.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi swung for the fences (and missed) with Bryce Harper, took a chance on Rule 5 draft choice Drew Ferguson and attempted to add depth with cost-effective minor league free agents in Gerardo Parra and Cameron Maybin.

One outfielder the Giants didn’t pursue? Free agent Adam Jones, who delivered three hits including a run-scoring double that helped break open the Diamondbacks 7-0 win over the Giants on Friday.

Jones yanked a 1-1 fastball off Giants starter Jeff Samardzija into the left field corner in the bottom of the sixth to extend Arizona’s lead to 2-0 and move David Peralta up to third base. Peralta, who homered to open the scoring in the fourth inning, later came home on an infield single hit by D’backs second baseman Ketel Marte.

Jones’ double came on one of only a handful of mistakes Samardzija made on Friday as the right-hander allowed just one run in his first five innings before Arizona added two more in the sixth.

Jones, a 14-year major league veteran, remained on the free agent market through the middle of spring training before Arizona signed him to a one-year deal with a base salary of $3 million. Jones’ nine home runs and .850 OPS are better than the marks posted by each of the Giants’ everyday starters, but Zaidi and the rest of the front office did have a rationale for pursuing alternatives.

With a roster in need of an overhaul, the Giants were more focused on acquiring players who could help the club achieve its goal of building toward the future. A player of Harper’s caliber would have been a lineup fixture for the next decade while a speculative acquisition like Ferguson could have developed into a cost-efficient regular over time. The Giants felt they might be able to catch lightning in a bottle with veterans like Parra and Maybin, but because both agreed to minor league deals, the front office could easily cut ties with both players if more inexperienced players deserved auditions.

By the end of spring training, Maybin was off the roster. After a month of subpar at-bats, Parra was too.

The Giants clearly felt Jones was not the type of player they could sign to a one-year deal and part with overnight, particularly because Jones would have been welcomed with open arms by a clubhouse that campaigned for the front office to sign him.

Given Jones’ stats through more than a quarter of the season, the Giants would have had no choice but to hang onto him, further delaying auditions for future outfield jobs that have already begun.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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