NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Cubs' agreement with Ben Zobrist on a reported four-year, $56 million contract could accelerate free-agent activity enough to lead one of the remaining available outfielders to sign with the Giants.
"My sense is, there's always one player that holds up the market," general manager Bobby Evans said Tuesday at baseball's Winter Meetings.
Or, the Giants might sign nobody at all and groom Jarrett Parker to join the Opening Day outfield.
"That may be an option we ultimately choose," Evans acknowledged.
In summary, don't be surprised by anything the Giants might do or don't do.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy observed the ballclub isn't searching for a particular type of player -- for example, only a left-handed hitter, or strictly a power hitter -- since the existing lineup is sufficiently balanced.
"We would be fine going with a left-handed batter [or a] right-handed batter," Bochy said. "... We're keeping our options open there. We have a leadoff hitter. We have guys in the heart of the order. We have the flexibility to get, really, any type of player that we think would make us better, whether it's a power guy or a speed guy."
Indeed, the Giants are presented with a variety of choices, as Evans noted earlier this week.
Sticking with Parker, who turns 27 on New Year's Day, would be bold, given his relative lack of experience. He looked impressive while amassing six home runs in 17 late-season games for San Francisco. But he lacks the big league track record that the Giants likely are seeking.
The same could be said of right-hander Kenta Maeda, who's eligible to negotiate with Major League clubs that submit a $20 million posting fee to his Japanese club, the Hiroshima Carp. Rumors of the Giants' alleged interest in Maeda went viral after Bochy politely responded to a question about the hurler by saying, "He looks like he knows what he's doing. He can pitch. Got great command. He looks like he has good poise out there, very confident-looking guy. But he's a pitcher. He doesn't try to power his way through. He's smart."
What's smart is to be skeptical about a pitcher who operated in a six-man rotation, as Maeda did while recording a 2.39 ERA in eight seasons with Hiroshima. The Giants, whose acumen for evaluating pitchers is proven, aren't expected to pursue Maeda seriously.