Oddsmakers Favor San Francisco Giants to Sign 2 Free Agent Hitters

Cody Bellinger is a free agent after being the NL Comeback Player of the Year last season.

Getty Cody Bellinger is a free agent after being the NL Comeback Player of the Year last season.

The San Francisco Giants are favored to make some major upgrades to their lineup.

BetOnline has listed the Giants as the favorites to sign both Cody Bellinger and Matt Chapman as free agents. The two are among five high-profile Scott Boras clients still on the open market with left-handers Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell and designated hitter J.D. Martinez.

The Giants are -125 choices to land Chapman and +250 picks to sign Bellinger. The two would presumably start on the infield corners, with Bellinger playing first base and Chapman taking over at third base.

The Seattle Mariners are given the second-best odds to sign Chapman at +100. They are followed by the Chicago Cubs (+200), New York Yankees (+900) and Los Angeles Dodgers (+1600).

At +300, the Los Angeles Angels are the second choice for Bellinger. Then it is the Toronto Blue Jays (+400), Mariners (+600) and Yankees (+700).

How Would Bellinger, Chapman Fit in San Francisco?

If the Giants were to sign Bellinger and Chapman, it would likely send first baseman Lamonte Wade Jr. and third baseman Wilmer Flores to the bench.

That would only strengthen the offense. Wade and Flores homered 17 times last season but are more suited to being role players than regulars.

Bellinger would provide another needed big bat in the middle of the lineup for the Giants. They were 24th in the major leagues in runs scored last season with 4.16 a game.

San Francisco’s .235 batting average was the third worst in MLB and contributed to it finishing with a 79-83 record.

Bellinger was named the National League Comeback Player of the Year last season with the Cubs. He hit .307/.356/.525 in 130 games with 26 homers and 20 stolen bases.

Bellinger won the 2019 NL MVP award while playing for the Dodgers, then slashed a combined .203/.272/.376 over the next three seasons before being released.

Chapman is coming off a lackluster season offensively with the Blue Jays, in which he hit .240/.330/.424 with 17 home runs in 140 games. Chapman’s production fell off dramatically after having a .384/.465/.687 slash line in 27 games through the end of April.

However, Chapman was superb defensively while winning the fourth Gold Glove of his seven-year career.

Giants Have Already Added Talent on Offense

The Giants have already made two significant free-agent signings to bolster their offense this winter. They landed South Korean center fielder Jung Hoo Lee on a six-year, $113-million contract and agreed with designated hitter Jorge Soler on a three-year, $42-million deal.

The 25-year-old Lee has never played in the major leagues but batted .340/.407/.491 with 65 homers in seven seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization. He was limited to 86 games with Kiwoom last season because of a broken ankle and hit .318/.406/.455.

Soler, 31, went deep 36 times for the Miami Marlins last season to go with a .250/.341/.512 slash line in 137 games. It was the second-best home run total of his 10-year career. He led the American League with 48 in 2019 for the Kansas City Royals.

The last Giants player to homer at least 30 times in a season was Barry Bonds with 45 in 2004.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told reporters, including the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, on Feb. 18 that he did not anticipate any more major moves before the start of the season.

“It’s a little bit more disruptive to add at this point,” Zaidi said. “Anybody who’s a free agent, we’ve theoretically had three and a half months to figure out a deal and if it hasn’t happened yet, at some point organizationally, you just need to turn the page and focus on the players you have,” Zaidi said.  “You never rule anything out, whether it’s now or May or June or whatever, but you know, at this point, the calendar makes any further additions unlikely.”

Perhaps Zaidi is bluffing or perhaps the oddsmakers are missing the mark.

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