Upton sets barometer for Giants' negotiations with Pagan

951987.jpg

Upton sets barometer for Giants' negotiations with Pagan

The Giants remain in touch with the agents for Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan, and it remains likely that Scutaro will re-sign for two years or perhaps two with an option. He has been a free agent before and knows all the steps in this dance.

Pagan is a 30-year-old free agent for the first time, and he knows this is his one shot at a massive money grab. Hes staying patient and letting the outfield market shape itself.

It began to coalesce Wednesday, with B.J. Upton showing the most first-step quickness among free-agent center fielders. He reportedly agreed to a five-year contract with the Atlanta Braves that will guarantee him at least 70 million.

Upton was considered the second best free-agent center fielder on the market, behind Michael Bourn. The Braves obviously preferred Upton on their terms over whatever Bourn is demanding, especially since theyll have to sacrifice a first-round draft pick to Tampa Bay as compensation.

This is good and bad for the Giants. On one hand, the Braves were interested in Pagan. So one of his bigger suitors has a full shopping cart. (Although they still want a left fielder who could hit leadoff.) On the other hand, Upton got a fifth year. If he had signed a four-year deal, maybe Pagans market gets capped at three.

Just my gut: I think the Giants would be willing to give Pagan three years but not four.

So the wait continues.

Just remember: If the Giants fail to re-sign Pagan, theyll need to find both a leadoff hitter and an outfielder. Shane Victorino is out there, and so is Ichiro Suzuki. But neither of them are so terrific in the on-base percentage department.

As for top outfield prospect Gary Brown, he likely wont be ready anytime soon. He still has to make some big adjustments to compete against higher level pitching following a tough year at Double-A Richmond.

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

While the Giants aggressively pursue a new closer, they haven't been aggressive for a new left fielder.

Angel Pagan is a free agent and isn't likely to come back. That leaves talented, but unproven youngsters Mac Williams and Jarrett Parker.

And for GM Bobby Evans, who is always looking for ways to improve the roster, it appears he is content going into the 2017 with Williamson and Parker filling the void in left field.

"Our mindset has been to keep an open mind in any way we can improve the club offensively. But that said, I feel like we've got a starting lineup today that we don't have to adjust or improve upon. I'd always like to find ways to improve it. I think there are some big market options, but we've got two young guys that we want to get a good evaluation on, and you can't really do that until they get major league at-bats. That's Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker and both of them are really in-waiting for an opportunity to get everyday playing time and show what they can do," Evans told ESPN's Buster Olney on Friday.

But Evans is keeping an open mind regarding acquiring a left fielder.

"That said, I also have to make sure that if we have an opportunity to improve or solidify our lineup in some way, I want to take advantage of it. But I can't lose sight of the benefit of developing our own guys and giving them a chance and not locking ourselves into keeping them from playing time in the next two to three years" Evans said.

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

As the Winter Meetings get set to begin in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the Giants still haven't crossed off the top item on their offseason wish list.

The closer role remains vacant.

Names like Mark Melancon and Greg Holland have been linked to the Giants over the last few weeks, but nothing has materialized.

On Friday, GM Bobby Evans provided an update while speaking with ESPN's Buster Olney.

"There's been a lot of signings and a number of trades. In many ways, more done prior to the winter meetings than in the last couple of years. We still are in process, relative to trade options, relative to free agent options, to be clear who's pitching the ninth inning for us. So we feel we have the makings of a good bullpen, we just need to be clear who's pitching the ninth. And we'd like to solidify that through the trade market or free agent market. It's progressing. We're a month into this process, so we have a lot more information. But ultimately, until we have a closer, we're still in the search mode.

There's a nice balance between both. It's just that, they both have costs. Relative to a trade, sometimes you're giving up, in some cases, one or more of your top prospects and other prospects below that. In the way of free agency, it's obviously an expenditure for a certain number of years that is elavated more on the supply and demand side. That said, there are some middle tier late inning options as well that may not be as demanding as some of the bigger names. Again, it's a balance of options trying to measure all three."