The San Francisco Giants have signed centerfielder Denard Span to a three-year deal, the team announced today. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the deal is for $31 million total.
The #SFGiants have agreed to terms with OF Denard Span on a three-year contract pending a physical.
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) January 7, 2016
Span, 31, is a solid outfielder and fits the mold of speedy, light-hitting fielders the Giants have employed over the last few seasons with Gregor Blanco and Angel Pagan. He’s coming off an injury-filled season with the Washington Nationals, during which he appeared in only 61 games due to multiple injuries, including a hip issue that required season-ending surgery in late August.
Despite those injuries, Span still posted solid numbers when he played, batting .301 with a .365 OBP, five home runs, 22 RBI and 11 stolen bases. His defensive game has fluctuated over the years, but tailed off over the past two seasons as he’s posted back-to-back seasons of negative Defensive Runs Saved (-3 in 2014 and -10 last year). But injuries certainly didn’t help Span last season and he is known for making very few errors. Even though he’s had trouble staying healthy, $31 million seems like an absolute bargain for a player of Span’s caliber.
Span will likely start in center field and push Pagan to left field or the bench, as San Francisco will probably go with an outfield of Span, Blanco/Pagan and Hunter Pence. The Giants are making sure they don’t miss the playoffs again, as the front office has had a marvelous offseason. Prior to signing Span, the team inked pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to multi-year deals and agreed on a $75 million extension with shortstop Brandon Crawford.
None of the new players are stars, per se, but they greatly improve an already good roster. The Giants have the potential to be very, very good next year.