While the Giants are still mathematically in the hunt for the playoffs, one loss to the Dodgers will end that hope; and as they sit five games back with six left to play, it seems unlikely that the reigning World Series champs will end their unusual streak of making the post-season every other year. As a result, their front office is already looking towards 2016, and how they might approach their outfield situation; specifically left field.
Nori Aoki was the everyday left fielder until he broke his fibula in a game against the Dodgers, and again until he suffered a season ending concussion. However the team has a club option worth $5.5 million, and Bruce Bochy "has expressed a desire" to have him back next year.
In 93 games, Aoki posted a slash line of .287/.353/.380 with a wRC+ of 112, and an fWAR of 1.4. He was firmly entrenched at the top of Bochy's lineup, and helped give the Giants one of the most potent offenses in baseball until several key players were shut down because of various injuries.
Bochy would also love to have Marlon Byrd back on the roster in 2016 as he's helped prevent the Giants from completely collapsing.
"Byrd has done a great job for us. I love how he plays. For a guy who's 38, he plays like he's 28. He takes care of himself. He's a threat at the plate. He's got a knack for knocking in runs."
In 144 plate appearances with the Giants, Byrd has hit .281/.313/.459 with a wRC+ of 112. While Bochy could use Aoki and Byrd as a platoon in left field, Andrew Baggarly notes that "$13.5 million would seem to be rather spendy, especially when the Giants will make remodeling their rotation the top priority."
There's also the possibility that the Giants could turn to one of their recent minor league call-ups (Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, or even Kelby Tomlinson) to form a platoon with either Aoki or Byrd, which could ultimately save them anywhere from $5.5 million, to $8 million (if Byrd's 2016 option is vested).
The Giants clearly have options to choose from as they approach the offseason, and it will be interesting to see what they ultimately decide to do. Aside from left field, they need to dramatically overhaul their pitching staff for the 2016, which will likely take precedence once the free agent market opens up.