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A busy offseason awaits for the San Francisco Giants, and one decision that will need to be made is whether to trade anyone on the current roster.
As team president Farhan Zaidi continues to rebuild the San Francisco Giants roster for future success, there are a number of players that may find themselves on the trade block this offseason.

Gabe Kapler’s unemployment may not last long.

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The former Phillies manager, according to a report by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, will interview with the San Francisco Giants for their manager’s vacancy.

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The Giants are run by president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. He was the Dodgers’ general manager when Kapler was their farm director. Zaidi is one of baseball’s most forward-thinking executives and has long been a fan of Kapler. A reunion could be in the cards.

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If hired, Kapler would replace Bruce Bochy. He retired at the end of the season after managing the Giants for 13 seasons and winning three World Series titles. Mark Kotsay, Oakland’s bench coach, interviewed for the job this past week.

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After the Giants season ended, Zaidi said the No. 1 quality he was seeking in a manager is “relationship building.” When Kapler was hired by the Phillies, he said the first thing he planned to do was “build connections and relationships” with the players.

“It’s environment building,” Kapler said in December 2017. “We want to create an environment that encourages our players to grow. The analogy that I’ve used and will continue to use is the coaching staff, the front office, all of the various departments around a baseball organization are the soil, and our players are the plants and the trees that are going to grow in that soil. So that soil has to be extremely nutrient-dense. So as I think about managing a ball club, I think about being really nutrient-dense soil.”

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The San Francisco Giants will be looking to name a new general manager this offseason and Oakland Athletics assistant general manager Billy Owens has been named a “clear favorite” for the position.
The San Francisco Giants will be in search of a new manager this offseason following the retirement of the legendary Bruce Bochy. But manager isn’t the only major position that the team will need to fill.

After passing on hiring a general manager last offseason, the Giants have insisted that they will be interviewing candidates this fall to become the new general manager of the organization.

However, the position has a different feel to it than it has in recent years.

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For years, the general manager was the top executive in the organization and that individual was the primary overseer of baseball operations. That man for 18 years was Brian Sabean who was the guy in San Francisco during the team’s three World Series titles in the 2010s.

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But last fall, CEO Larry Baer made the decision to hire former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi to be the team’s new president of baseball operations.

Many were left confused by this title and even more confusion arose when the team didn’t hire a general manager for the 2019 season. But it’s pretty clear now that Zaidi is essentially the GM of the team — just with a different title.

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This is why the announcement that the team would hire an actual general manager this season was met with additional confusion. At the moment, the favorite for the position appears to be current Oakland Athletics assistant general manager Billy Owens.

Both NBC Sports and Mercury News have listed Owens as the top candidate for the job and have labeled him the “clear favorite.” This makes sense given Owens’ history with Zaidi dating back to their time in Oakland together.

What’s even more encouraging is the near-leaguewide praise that executives have had for Owens. The San Jose native has been lauded for his player development skills and played a crucial role in piecing together the current A’s roster.

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The only challenge seems to be luring him away from a franchise that seems to be on the brink of getting over the figurative hump to make a World Series push.

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But now that the Giants are expected to hire a general manager once again, what exactly could his role entail?

Zaidi will still remain the top guy with the Giants, but this new general manager will essentially fulfill a role as Zaidi’s top assistant of sorts. The Giants have insisted that they aren’t looking for someone to shoulder the brunt of the responsibility.

Instead, expect this individual to have some sort of specialty background, perhaps in the field of scouting. In Owens’ case, it does seem to be more in the realm of personnel and player development.

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Zaidi had the following to say about the hiring process.

“I think by not defining it specifically, it opens up the candidate pool. Whether that’s somebody that has experience and expertise in scouting or player development, administration, whatever their strengths are, hopefully, we can complement each other and work well.”

Consider this position similar to an assistant general manager role in a typical power structure with Zaidi serving as the team’s de-facto general manager.

Either way, expect Owens or whoever the Giants decide to hire to have a pretty substantial say in the organization’s decisions.

While the attention may be on Bochy’s replacement, San Francisco’s new general manager will likely have as big, if not more of an impact on the future of the team.

NEXT: San Francisco Giants: Top 7 candidates to replace Bruce Bochy
And San Francisco Giants fans should keep a very close eye on Billy Owens over the coming weeks.

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Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak (left) and Kapler at a press conference in August.
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Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak (left) and Kapler at a press conference in August.
The Phillies fired Kapler after he posted a 161-163 record over two seasons and failed to reach the postseason in either one. Kapler never seemed to win over the Philadelphia fans, either, and general manager Matt Klentak said Friday that Kapler had a hard time gaining acceptance in Philly.

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But the fans were not the only ones who failed to climb aboard with Kapler. Owner John Middleton considered firing Kapler in July and spent the final months of the season determining the manager’s fate.

Perhaps San Francisco will be a better fit for the California native.

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“I don’t think this is a secret to any of you in this room or anybody watching on TV at home, but I’m a big fan. I think he’s really good at what he does,” Klentak said of Kapler. “Very talented, very hardworking, a good communicator, all the things you’ve heard me say before. And I am very thankful to Kap for what we provided this franchise for the last two years.

“I think, when you look at a lot of the ways we developed culturally, a lot of the growth that we have had both at the major-league level and under the hood that people may not see, I don’t think we make those strides if Kap is not our manager, and I know there are a lot of people in this building that feel the same way I do, a lot of people on our staff, a lot of people in our clubhouse that feel that way too.”

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He already showed the fan base that he is not afraid to let go of beloved players when he released Joe Panik in the midst of a tough season. He could be willing to do the same with other players on the current roster.

With an aging core, chances are that he will look to acquire a younger crop of players that can develop alongside guys like Mauricio Dubon, Mike Yastrzemski, and eventually top prospects like Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos.

Historically, it has been difficult for the Giants to attract top free-agent talent, due in part to a higher state tax. As a result, trades are usually the best way for them to bring in new talent.

This was evidenced a few years ago when the team acquired Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria via trade. That said, Zaidi is different from Bobby Evans, so odds are he won’t pursue ex-stars who are on the decline in their careers.

Who Zaidi trades for is for a different article. The following slides will examine who Zaidi is most likely to be shipping out this winter.

When Brian Sabean was running the show, the Giants were not afraid to give up prospects and younger players in exchange for veterans, but something tells me the inverse could now be true.

Ahead we have highlighted three players who could be on the move this offseason.

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SAN FRANCISCO — It’ll be another extremely quiet awards season for the Giants.

MLB announced finalists for all the major honors on Monday afternoon and Mike Yastrzemski, the only Giant with a shot at being included, was not part of the field for National League Rookie of the Year. The three finalists are New York’s Pete Alonso (who should be a runaway winner), Atlanta’s Mike Soroka and San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr.

The Giants did not have a single player receive votes for any of the four major awards the two previous seasons, either, but this time there’s a difference. They did not even have a player get nominated for a Gold Glove, while Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey were at least finalists in 2018. Crawford won the Gold Glove in 2017, another down year for the franchise as a whole.

Yastrzemski was one of the few bright spots in 2019, posting a .272/.334/.518 slash line with 21 homers in 107 games. But it was a strong year for the NL’s rookies, and he finished tied for eighth among rookie hitters in WAR (2.2), per FanGraphs. Alonso hit 53 homers and drove in 120 runs for the Mets and Tatis Jr. had 22 homers and hit .317, posting 3.6 WAR in just 84 games. Soroka had a 2.68 ERA in 29 starts for the NL East champion Braves.

The league announced all the finalists on Monday. Craig Counsell, Mike Shildt and Brian Snitker are up for NL Manager of the Year. Jacob deGrom, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Max Scherzer are the finalists for Cy Young. Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon are the final three for MVP.

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Kevin Pillar hit home runs. He made great plays in the outfield. He inspired enough teammates to win an election for the Willie Mac Award.

None of that bought him another year with the Giants, who made Pillar a free agent by declining to tender him a contract ahead of a Monday afternoon deadline, a decision that will not go over well with the fans.

Pillar was projected to earn about $10 million in 2020 in his final year of arbitration before becoming eligible for free agency after the season. He earned $5.8 million in 2019. Although salary versus production almost certainly was a factor, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi insisted in an interview that the decision to let the 30-year-old go was not budgetary.

“We have full ownership support to invest in the major-league roster,” Zaidi said. “This is not a financial decision, and I expect us to be active in ways to improve in the trade and free-agent markets. We have the financial flexibility on those fronts.”

Zaidi called the Pillar nontender a “baseball decision” rooted in the differences between the inventory of Giants outfielders this winter compared with last. It also follows Zaidi’s dictum that any expensive moves help the Giants beyond 2020.

“We feel like our outfield picture has improved a lot with some of the guys who have emerged,” Zaidi said.

He cited Mike Yastrzemski, who could shift to center field, as can Jaylin Davis if he makes the team. Zaidi also mentioned Austin Slater, Steven Duggar and Alex Dickerson, who signed a one-year, $925,000 deal Monday to avoid arbitration, and added that he will pursue other outfielders this winter. Zaidi has said he wants to find a power-hitting corner outfielder.

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The implication: A $10 million salary was too high if Pillar is going to get less playing time in 2020.

“We want to continue to create opportunities for our younger players,” Zaidi said. “We were in a situation where Kevin was going to be in his last year of arbitration with us, and we’re trying to take a longer-term outlook with our roster.”

Besides Dickerson, the Giants signed one-year deals with left-hander Wandy Peralta ($805,000) and infielder Donovan Solano ($1.375 million). They did not tender contracts to pitchers Rico Garcia and Tyler Anderson and outfielder Joey Rickard. Those three also become free agents.

Pillar led the Giants in several offensive categories upon his acquisition April 2 and played in 156 games for San Francisco.

He became the first Giants hitter in four seasons to surpass 20 homers (later joined by Evan Longoria and Yastrzemski) and drove in 86 runs on a team that scored just 678, third fewest in the majors.

His .293 on-base percentage, 1.0 WAR and poor defensive metrics might not have matched up with his projected salary on paper, but Giants players and fans understood his value in a different way.

Pillar played both center and right field for manager Bruce Bochy, and teammates voted him as the Willie Mac Award winner in just his first season in their clubhouse.

Pillar might not get $10 million in a free-agent deal with another club (or the Giants, who still might negotiate with him), but he could wind up on a contending team before hitting free agency, or even sign a multiyear deal.

The Giants likely sought to trade Pillar, but other teams might have been scared off by the arbitration estimate as well.

The Giants acquired Dickerson in a trade with the Padres on June 10. The 29-year-old started his Giants career with a bang. He had a homer and six RBIs in his first game, at Arizona, and hit .357 with four doubles, a triple and four homers in his first 14 games before his all-too-frequent history of injuries returned.

He ended the season healthy and said via text Monday that he is “feeling great. Everything is all healed up.”

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SAN FRANCISCO — The decision to non-tender Kevin Pillar, like several others made over the past year, was not a popular one with Giants fans.

Pillar was a Willie Mac Award winner who did two things that fans could easily cheer: Hit home runs and make diving catches.

Go on Twitter and you’ll find fans who say they won’t attend a game next season and a weird contingent that believes Farhan Zaidi is a secret agent still working for the Dodgers. But all that anger ignores one key fact. The man who decided to move on from Pillar is the same one who acquired him a week into the season for two players who are no longer with the Blue Jays and one who had an 8.11 ERA in the minors.

The Giants hired Zaidi to make good decisions, and there’s no doubt that the trade for Pillar was a brilliant one. Zaidi believes moving on after one season is the right move, too, and time will tell if he’s correct.

What we know for now is that there’s no going back, and there will be a new look in center field. In a conversation on Monday afternoon, Zaidi said the emphasis will be on adding production to the corner outfield spots. It’s hard to find a good center fielder in free agency anyway, so the Giants will go young and go in-house.

Here’s what that might look like in 2020:

The Favorite
Mike Yastrzemski got just 30 innings in center field last season because Pillar was an everyday player, but he generally looked comfortable out there, and he should. Yastrzemski actually has more minor league starts in center field (224) than any other position, and he has over 2,000 professional innings of experience in the middle of the outfield.

Yastrzemski probably won’t be climbing many walls or diving nearly as often as Pillar did, but he did a nice job in the corners last year and was worth seven Defensive Runs Saved in right field and eight overall.

The Giants are fully confident that Yastrzemski can handle center field at Oracle Park — the dimensions are shrinking a bit, too — and if the season started today he would be their center fielder.

The Young Guys
A year ago at this time, Steven Duggar was the Center Fielder of the Future. Duggar is still just 26 years old and is expected to be 100 percent for spring training after another season-ending shoulder injury.

The Giants can’t go into 2020 counting on much from Duggar, but they certainly are hoping for a breakthrough. If he improves his plate discipline and taps into his natural speed, Duggar could be the everyday center fielder. He’s the organization’s best defensive center fielder and would have been even if Pillar was brought back.

Jaylin Davis is another player the Giants want to take a long look at, although he has just 30 minor league starts in center field. Davis may see time out there in the big leagues, but he’s more likely to benefit from the Pillar decision in a different way. With Yastrzemski set for lots of time in center, Davis — a 25-year-old who hit 35 homers in the minors last year — will have an opportunity to win at-bats in one of the corner spots. The same holds true for Austin Slater and potentially Chris Shaw.

The Wild Card
When Zaidi traded a week of strong Drew Pomeranz relief appearances for Mauricio Dubon, he mentioned that one thing the Giants loved about Dubon was his potential as a super-utility player. On deadline day, Zaidi compared Dubon to Chris Taylor, but another Dodger could be a better fit. Kiké Hernandez mostly started at second base for the Dodgers last year but also made 43 appearances in the outfield, and Dubon is expected to shag plenty of fly balls next spring.

Given where the roster is right now, Dubon is also the starting second baseman and a strong option to split time with Brandon Crawford at shortstop. But if he can handle center field, the Giants would have more of the flexibility they’re seeking. They plan to be active in the infield market this offseason. If they add another middle infielder who hits right-handed, could you see that player at shortstop against left-handers with Donovan Solano at second and Dubon in center?

The Future
When the Giants drafted Heliot Ramos in 2017, some scouts predicted he would move to right field. But the Giants have kept Ramos in center and there’s no indication that he’ll need to be moved next season. There were fears that Ramos would outgrow the position as he hit his early 20s, but he appeared slimmed down in the Arizona Fall League and the Giants will keep him in the middle of the diamond for now.

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Looking back at the 2019 Giants, with an eye toward the future. Previously: Donovan Solano, Kevin Pillar, Alex Dickerson, Fernando Abad, Stephen Vogt, Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Pablo Sandoval.

Joey Rickard’s first appearance as a Giant came Aug. 8, inserted as a defensive replacement in the midst of a Madison Bumgarner no-hit bid. And, of course, the first ball was hit to him in left, a heart-pounding first impression. He caught the fly ball and exhaled. His tenure in San Francisco would slow down from there.

Rickard neither over- nor underwhelmed in his short time with the Giants, becoming yet another Triple-A hitting machine (.372/.431/.587) while playing sporadically with San Francisco, a righty bat who slashed .280/.333/.380 in 54 plate appearances.

The 28-year-old was the second outfielder from Baltimore whom the Giants claimed — Mike Yastrzemski is a keeper — and the two talked about the hitting deathtrap that is Harbor Park, the home of Baltimore’s Triple-A Norfolk affiliate. They escaped and both put up much better numbers across the country. Will Rickard stick around to follow up on that decent Giants debut?

The Las Vegas native is slotted for about $1.1 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors, which is not expensive; it more will be a question of whether his skills warrant a roster spot. His biggest talent — and the one Zaidi likely likes best — is his prowess against lefties. He hit .256/.365/.378 with two homers, two doubles and a triple in 96 plate appearances against major league southpaws last year.

If the Giants fit lefties Yastrzemski in right and Alex Dickerson — for as long as he stays healthy — in left, they would want righty complements (and, in Dickerson’s case, probably more than that). Austin Slater will be around and also has the ability to move to the infield. Jaylin Davis’ righty bat will fight to be in the mix.

Of the righty corner outfielders on the market, Nicholas Castellanos, Marcell Ozuna (who has a qualifying offer) and, uh, Yasiel Puig stick out. Castellanos especially, who killed lefties last season, slashing .370/.425/.713 in 120 plate appearances. Would the Giants, still in a soft rebuild, give $50 million-plus to a corner outfielder without standout on-base skills? Whether it’s Castellanos or someone else, Rickard’s job would be in jeopardy.

Rickard survived one 40-man roster purging Tuesday, when Mike Gerber and Ricardo Pinto were designated for assignment.

“Just grow in all phases. Not too content in anything, getting consistent at-bats, defense, running,” Rickard told KNBR in the season’s last week, looking ahead to his offseason goals. “So it’s not really focus on one thing, just overall game.

“… You miss [baseball] a lot quicker than you think. You get really bored really easily.”

The Giants will keep churning, constantly flipping the bottom of their roster in search for talent on the margins. That brought them Rickard, who had flamed out with the Orioles. Will it also lead to his exit?

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The deadline for teams to tender a contract to arbitration-eligible players is Dec. 2. Here’s the case for the San Francisco Giants keeping Kevin Pillar.
Center fielder Kevin Pillar led the San Francisco Giants in a number of meaningful offensive categories in 2019, including runs scored, RBI, home runs, and hits.

Of course, that could speak to the lack of overall offensive output from the rest of the lineup, but the point still stands.

Pillar is set to go through arbitration for his third and final time, and with a projected salary of $9.7 million, Giants team president Farhan Zaid will have to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons in keeping Pillar.

On the surface, it seems like an easy decision.

The long-time Toronto Blue Jays outfielder swatted 21 home runs and drove in 88 runs while producing a .259/.287/432 line. Additionally, Pillar was the Willie Mac Award recipient in 2019 for his inspirational play and leadership.

However, a dig beneath the hood reveals some red flags.

The 30-year-old is no longer the defensive wizard he used to be, which is concerning for a glove-first position player. According to the defensive metrics, Pillar posted a -5 DRS and a -1.6 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) in 2019. These numbers suggest that his work with the glove was below average.

That may be hard to believe considering he is one of the better defensive center fielders the Giants have had over the past decade. Plus, he makes plays like this:

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In addition to the apparent defensive downturn, Pillar also does not have the type of offensive profile that Zaidi seeks. Across 645 plate appearances, he posted a meager 2.8 percent walk rate on his way to a .287 on-base percentage.

Zaidi generally seeks out players with good strike zone awareness and plate discipline, but these are not Pillar’s strengths. Rather, Pillar employs an aggressive, contact-oriented approach.

With all of that in mind, Pillar does not offer strong overall value.

In 2019, the 30-year-old was worth 1.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) while wearing the Orange and Black. Relative to his salary, there’s not much value to be had if he produces at that level again next season.

All of these red flags may compel Zaidi to seek out alternative options to fill center field next season. And, it seems he is willing to sacrifice production for development, as he told Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area the following:

“And again, I think the juncture that we’re in as an organization, we’re gonna have to view every baseball decision we make as a little bit of a tradeoff between production and development, and the present and the future,”

As Zaidi points out, the Giants will again be an organization in transition in 2020. That means he will want to use next season as another year for younger players to grow and develop by playing every day. Retaining Pillar may impede that goal.

With that being said, it’s entirely possible that the Giants will deem Pillar’s projected salary too costly, and opt instead to non-tender him.

Is that the right move?

The argument can certainly be made that he simply does not offer enough overall value. However, the Giants can do worse and have done much worse in recent seasons at the center field position.

The table below shows the Giants combined WAR by the primary center fielders each year since 2015, according to Baseball Reference:

San Francisco Giants Center Fielders bWAR, 2015-2019
Year Player(s) Combined bWAR
2015 Angel Pagan -2.0
2016 Denard Span 1.3
2017 Denard Span/Gorkys Hernandez -1.9
2018 Austin Jackson/Steven Duggar/Gorkys Hernandez 0.5
2019 Kevin Pillar/Steven Duggar 1.3

That list is tough on the eyes, and it is necessary to point out that Zaidi took over as the Giants team president following the 2018 season. In his first year, he was able to effectively find the Giants’ most valuable center field going back to 2015. It should also be noted that Pillar was not even on the Opening Day roster.

It is possible that Zaidi can find better overall value through trades or on the free-agent market. However, center field is a difficult position to fill, especially given the expansive range that one needs to show at Oracle Park.

The Giants have plenty of holes to fill on their roster, including adding rotation and bullpen depth, finding a corner outfield bat, and adding a utility infielder. Is it a wise move to add to that list by creating another hole if they choose to part ways with Pillar?

On a different note, the San Francisco Giants are still a business.

It is no secret that attendance and ticket sales have been declining in recent years, and ownership will likely want that trend to slow down in 2020.

Do fans go to the game to see Kevin Pillar play center field? Probably not.

However, he proved to be a positive contributor to the on-field product in 2019. Maintaining a decent product in 2020 should still be one of their goals, and keeping Pillar can help in achieving that end.

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The Giants made a flurry of moves before Wednesday’s MLB trade deadline. While they moved multiple major league relievers, San Francisco also added a prospect from the Rays at the last minute.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the Giants acquired outfielder Joe McCarthy from Tampa Bay, with the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reporting San Francisco is sending minor league pitcher Jacob Lopez.

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#Rays return from #Giants for minor league OF Joe McCarthy is minor league LHP Jacob Lopez

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The Giants confirmed the transaction later Wednesday afternoon.

McCarthy, 25, was ranked as the Rays’ No. 28 prospect. The former fifth-round draft pick was batting .196 with six home runs in Triple-A this season. But he’s a .269 career hitter in the minors with 29 total home runs.

Lopez, 21, was the Giants’ 26th-round pick in 2018. The left-handed pitcher is 2-3 with a 3.02 ERA over nine games this year.

This was far from the Giants’ biggest move of the day, but it could be an underrated one if McCarthy pans out.

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The Cubs have ongoing interest in bringing back free agent Nicholas Castellanos, who posted a 1.002 OPS over 51 games for Chicago following a Trade Deadline move from the Tigers.

Scott Harris, then an assistant general manager with the Cubs, had a firsthand look at Castellanos’ powerful display in the second half. Last month, Harris was named general manager of the Giants.

In what is perhaps a related development, the Giants are among the teams showing interest in Castellanos, two sources said Tuesday. Castellanos’ market is likely to become clearer during next week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, with the White Sox and Marlins among the possible suitors.

In addition to Harris’ familiarity with Castellanos, the 27-year-old outfielder fits the Giants’ plans in a number of ways:

• Last winter, in the months after Farhan Zaidi was named the team’s president of baseball operations, the rebuilding Giants nonetheless proved with their pursuit of Bryce Harper that they’re willing to go after stars who hit free agency at the right age.

Castellanos and Harper are far from identical, but Castellanos is only seven months older than Harper, and they were more comparable offensively this year than one might think: Castellanos posted a 121 OPS+, compared to 125 for Harper.

• Castellanos, a right-handed hitter, would be a welcome contrast to what could be an all-left-handed everyday outfield for the Giants: Mike Yastrzemski, Steven Duggar and Alex Dickerson.

Castellanos also has indicated a willingness to play the corner-infield positions, where Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt were close to league-average hitters in 2019.

• While Castellanos has played mostly right field for each of the last two seasons, he also has experience in left field, a longstanding area of need for the Giants. San Francisco left fielders combined for a .673 OPS in 2019, second worst in the Majors.

• The Giants’ decision to non-tender Kevin Pillar this week freed up a spot in their outfield and additional spending power in the 2020 payroll.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

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There are an entire season’s worth of games and 21 home runs the Giants need to replace.

A day after they allowed Kevin Pillar to walk, not tendering the center fielder a contract for the 2020 season, they were linked to another outfielder who would make some sense.

MLB.com reported Tuesday the Giants are interested in Nicholas Castellanos, the free-agent corner outfielder who hits far better than he fields.

The 27-year-old longtime Tiger was flipped last season to the Cubs, with whom he starred, slashing .321/.356/.646 with 16 home runs in 51 games — all under the eyes of Scott Harris, the then-Chicago executive and now Giants general manager.

Castellanos is a righty who kills lefties, slashing .306/.358/.532 against southpaws for his career, which would be a nice fit for a Giants outfield that houses Alex Dickerson, Mike Yastrzemski and Steven Duggar — all lefties.

Upon letting Pillar go, Farhan Zaidi told reporters the Giants would be in the market for a power-hitting corner outfielder. Yet, he also said the primary reason for allowing the well-liked center fielder to hit the market was to provide an opening for the younger outfielders to see more at-bats. He insinuated the Giants would use 2020 as another developmental season, in which winning games is less important than letting youngsters make progress. While Castellanos is young, a splash of this relative magnitude would come as a surprise.

The suspect fielder — who’s probably a better fit for an American League team, but has somewhat settled into a corner-outfield spot after playing his way off third base — should command a four- or five-year pact worth about $15 million per season. The fact he does not have a qualifying offer attached to him means his market won’t be hurt like, say, Marcell Ozuna’s will. The Giants, who already have one additional pick from Will Smith signing with the Braves and should have another if Madison Bumgarner signs elsewhere, could see a deflated market for players with qualifying offers as a chance to strike.

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SAN FRANCISCO — The decision to non-tender Kevin Pillar, like several others made over the past year, was not a popular one with Giants fans.

Pillar was a Willie Mac Award winner who did two things that fans could easily cheer: Hit home runs and make diving catches.

Go on Twitter and you’ll find fans who say they won’t attend a game next season and a weird contingent that believes Farhan Zaidi is a secret agent still working for the Dodgers. But all that anger ignores one key fact. The man who decided to move on from Pillar is the same one who acquired him a week into the season for two players who are no longer with the Blue Jays and one who had an 8.11 ERA in the minors.

The Giants hired Zaidi to make good decisions, and there’s no doubt that the trade for Pillar was a brilliant one. Zaidi believes moving on after one season is the right move, too, and time will tell if he’s correct.

What we know for now is that there’s no going back, and there will be a new look in center field. In a conversation on Monday afternoon, Zaidi said the emphasis will be on adding production to the corner outfield spots. It’s hard to find a good center fielder in free agency anyway, so the Giants will go young and go in-house.

Here’s what that might look like in 2020:

The Favorite
Mike Yastrzemski got just 30 innings in center field last season because Pillar was an everyday player, but he generally looked comfortable out there, and he should. Yastrzemski actually has more minor league starts in center field (224) than any other position, and he has over 2,000 professional innings of experience in the middle of the outfield.

Yastrzemski probably won’t be climbing many walls or diving nearly as often as Pillar did, but he did a nice job in the corners last year and was worth seven Defensive Runs Saved in right field and eight overall.

The Giants are fully confident that Yastrzemski can handle center field at Oracle Park — the dimensions are shrinking a bit, too — and if the season started today he would be their center fielder.

The Young Guys
A year ago at this time, Steven Duggar was the Center Fielder of the Future. Duggar is still just 26 years old and is expected to be 100 percent for spring training after another season-ending shoulder injury.

The Giants can’t go into 2020 counting on much from Duggar, but they certainly are hoping for a breakthrough. If he improves his plate discipline and taps into his natural speed, Duggar could be the everyday center fielder. He’s the organization’s best defensive center fielder and would have been even if Pillar was brought back.

Jaylin Davis is another player the Giants want to take a long look at, although he has just 30 minor league starts in center field. Davis may see time out there in the big leagues, but he’s more likely to benefit from the Pillar decision in a different way. With Yastrzemski set for lots of time in center, Davis — a 25-year-old who hit 35 homers in the minors last year — will have an opportunity to win at-bats in one of the corner spots. The same holds true for Austin Slater and potentially Chris Shaw.

The Wild Card
When Zaidi traded a week of strong Drew Pomeranz relief appearances for Mauricio Dubon, he mentioned that one thing the Giants loved about Dubon was his potential as a super-utility player. On deadline day, Zaidi compared Dubon to Chris Taylor, but another Dodger could be a better fit. Kiké Hernandez mostly started at second base for the Dodgers last year but also made 43 appearances in the outfield, and Dubon is expected to shag plenty of fly balls next spring.

Given where the roster is right now, Dubon is also the starting second baseman and a strong option to split time with Brandon Crawford at shortstop. But if he can handle center field, the Giants would have more of the flexibility they’re seeking. They plan to be active in the infield market this offseason. If they add another middle infielder who hits right-handed, could you see that player at shortstop against left-handers with Donovan Solano at second and Dubon in center?

The Future
When the Giants drafted Heliot Ramos in 2017, some scouts predicted he would move to right field. But the Giants have kept Ramos in center and there’s no indication that he’ll need to be moved next season. There were fears that Ramos would outgrow the position as he hit his early 20s, but he appeared slimmed down in the Arizona Fall League and the Giants will keep him in the middle of the diamond for now.

Now, Ramos is only 20 and doesn’t even have 100 at-bats above A-ball, but the new regime wants to be aggressive with top prospects and Ramos will come to Scottsdale in February with a strong chance to earn a promotion to Triple-A. The plan is for Ramos to spend all, or most, of the season in Sacramento, but a September call-up seems likely and the Giants won’t hold their No. 2 prospect back if the bat proves ready earlier than that.

If you’re looking way down the line, Hunter Bishop, last year’s top pick, is also a center fielder. Bishop is likely at least a couple of years away, but he should start next season in San Jose.

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The San Francisco Giants may very well have unearthed a diamond in the rough amid a flurry of roster activity on Tuesday.

Infielder Kean Wong has been extremely productive at the minor league level, but he was buried behind a wealth of middle infield depth in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The Los Angeles Angels claimed him off waivers on Sept. 24, and now he’s on the move again.

He was claimed off waivers by the Giants on Tuesday in a busy day of transactions:

The younger brother of St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, Kean was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB draft out of Waiakea High School in Hawaii.

FanGraphs offered up the following scouting report at the start of the 2019 season:

In his second straight year at Triple-A, Wong hit .282/.345/.406 (the highest SLG% of his career, which coincided with a modest-but-relevant 5 percentage point drop in groundball rate) and started seeing action in left field in addition to his usual time at second and third. We don’t think he plays every day, but lefty bats with that kind of positional flexibility are good role players, and Wong is ready for the big leagues right now. The infield situation in Tampa Bay is very crowded and Wong may need a change of scenery to get an opportunity.

The 24-year-old backed up the MLB-ready assessment by hitting .307/.375/.464 with 29 doubles, six triples and 10 home runs in 506 plate appearances during another season at Triple-A Durham.

He finally made his MLB debut on Sept. 5, and he’s ready for an extended look, likely in a super-utility role.

While Donovan Solano was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season, his .409 batting average on balls in play is simply not sustainable, which means some level of regression is forthcoming.

Adding Wong to the mix will provide some welcome competition for a bench spot this spring.

It’s also worth remembering that rosters are expanding to 26 players in 2020, with a limit of 13 pitchers, so a versatile option like Wong could be exactly the type of guy the team opts for to fill the bonus spot.

He’s never going to hit for a ton of extra-base power at the next level and he’s probably best suited for a part-time role, but Kean Wong can make a positive impact for the San Francisco Giants in 2020.