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SF on quest for Cueto, outfield this offseason

October 28, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO -- The first step taken by the Giants following a 64-98 season was to restructure the coaching staff. Now comes the hard part: Upgrading the ballclub that finished last in the National League West. The Giants don't need a complete overhaul, but they also need more than a

SAN FRANCISCO -- The first step taken by the Giants following a 64-98 season was to restructure the coaching staff. Now comes the hard part: Upgrading the ballclub that finished last in the National League West. The Giants don't need a complete overhaul, but they also need more than a few tweaks.
Here's a look at the Giants' free agents and arbitration-eligible players, as well as three key issues the front office must address.
Free agents: Catcher Nick Hundley, outfielder Michael Morse.
Arbitration-eligible players: Righties Sam Dyson, Cory Gearrin and Hunter Strickland; second baseman Joe Panik; lefty Will Smith; catcher Tim Federowicz.

Cain this outfield be saved?
Free agents were allowed to start talking with other clubs at 6 a.m. PT the day after the World Series ends. Expect Giants general manager Bobby Evans to have contacted the representatives for free-agent center fielder Lorenzo Cain no later than 9:01 a.m. Evans has cited improving the defense as a top priority; adding the adroit Cain, who has long been mentioned as an ideal fit for the Giants, would go a long way toward accomplishing this goal.
The Giants might not stop with Cain. They're expected to attempt to scrounge together a package of veterans and prospects if the cost-conscious Marlins make slugger Giancarlo Stanton available for trade. If the Giants don't get Stanton, they still can hook a Marlin, since outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna may be available.
Where's Johnny?
The Giants would prefer not having to add starting pitching to their offseason shopping list. So they'll be at least mildly anxious as they wait for Johnny Cueto to determine whether he'll return to free agency by exercising the opt-out clause in his six-year, $130 million contract or remain with the Giants, who have guaranteed him $21 million in each of the next four years.
Cueto, 31, has until three days after the conclusion of the World Series to declare his intentions. Coming off a season in which he finished 8-8 with a 4.52 ERA, Cueto might not be in position to coax a more lucrative deal from another club.

How sharp are those corners?
Though performance in offseason leagues can be illusory, the Giants will scrutinize the performances of third baseman Christian Arroyo and left fielder Chris Shaw -- if there's anything to evaluate.
Arroyo, who showed promise during a 34-game trial with the Giants before a broken left hand ended his season, aggravated that injury, which has delayed his scheduled stint in the Dominican Republic. Shaw, a power hitter and the organization's No. 2 prospect behind Arroyo, has been bothered by a shoulder injury. That has blocked his efforts to convert from first base to left. Both could earn chances to join next year's starting lineup -- if they can remain healthy.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantasbeat and listen to his podcast.