The Giants have talked to the Braves about a trade for Justin Upton and Chris Johnson


The Giants are trying to get creative with holes to fill in left field and third base, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that they are in talks with the Braves about a trade for Justin Upton and Chris Johnson.

There have only been preliminary talks thus far, but Nightengale hears that neither club is “overly optimistic” that a deal will ultimately be reached. Part of this is because the Braves have doubts about whether the Giants have the prospects to get it done.

Upton, 27, is owed $14.5 million next season before hitting free agency. Meanwhile, Johnson is guaranteed $23.5 million through 2017. That’s a big price to pay for someone who batted just .263/.292/.361 with 10 home runs and 58 RBI this past season. It’s believed that the asking price in prospects could be cheaper if teams take Johnson along with Upton.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.

The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.