A week into 2016 — a notably even year — and the San Francisco Giants checked a final box on their off-season to-sign list: An outfielder.
Former Washington National Denard Span signed a three-year, $31 million deal with the Giants, pending physical, Thursday afternoon.
News that Span would join San Francisco swooped in out of nowhere, a shock especially for fans undoubtedly preoccupied by OF free agent Dexter Fowler’s Oracle Arena sighting. He’s a Warriors fan, it seems, just like everybody else.
Sure, Fowler would have been a welcome addition, but Span certainly bolsters what was one of 2015’s weakest National League outfields. Angel Pagan, playing through injured knees, ranked dead last in the SABR defensive index. Span is quick — a probable leadoff man — and explosive on defense.
AT&T Park may well be a prime destination for Span, a lefty who uses the whole field. His pull, center and opposite-field percentages against righties are 37, 33 and 30, respectively.
Span hit a league-leading 11 triples in 2013 and 184 hits, with a .302 average, in 2014; he was hitting .301 in 2015 with the Nats and has a career .241 at AT&T Park.
Span’s contract is laced with a few performance bonuses, which isn’t a surprise given the fair price. The 31 year old has struggled with injury of late, just like the rest of his new fellow outfielders. Three trips to the disabled list–core muscle surgery, back spasms and hip surgery– held Span to just 61 games in 2015.
I'm jus sayin 👆🏾🙏🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/b7QYRXfSuR
— Denard Span (@thisisdspan) January 4, 2016
Looks like he’s feeling healthy and up to the competition for a full-time gig at center field. Angel Pagan could move to left, though GM Bobby Evans told reporters in October that Pagan is their center fielder.
Span has made a career 74 appearances in left field, all in 2009 with the Minnesota Twins.