San Francisco parted ways with two veteran outfielders, declining 2016 options on Marlon Byrd and Norichika Aoki.
Byrd was an easy call, as his contract called for an $8 million salary and required no buyout to avoid. Acquired from the Reds on August 20, he hit well in 39 games for the Giants but finished the season with a modest .247 batting average and .743 OPS in 135 games overall. Byrd still has very good power, smacking 23, 25, and 24 homers in the past three seasons, but his abysmal strike-zone control led to a sub-.300 on-base percentage and he’s 38 years old. Byrd should be able to find a prominent role in 2016, but his price tag figures to be well below $8 million.
Aoki was a tougher call, because when healthy he’s absolutely been a $5.5 million player by combining excellent contact skills, a good on-base percentage, and solid range in the outfield. Unfortunately he was limited to just 93 games this year due to injuries, including a concussion, and at age 34 the Giants decided not to commit to him this early in the offseason. It’s possible they could look to re-sign Aoki later on, but in the meantime he got a $700,000 buyout.