The San Francisco Giants have confirmed that they have signed free agent center fielder Denard Span, formerly of the Washington Nationals:
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) January 7, 2016
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the contract is worth three seasons and $31 million, plus $5 million in incentives. Last year, Giants center field duties were largely split between Gregor Blanco and Angel Pagan, who produced a below-replacement-level season. Both Blanco and Pagan are currently scheduled to enter the free agent market after the 2016 season. It’s possible that the Giants indeed on playing one or more of these three outfielders in the corner, as San Francisco also declined a 2016 team option on last season’s left fielder Nori Aoki, who has since signed with the Seattle Mariners.
After earning MVP votes with a superlative 2014 season, Span struggled to stay health in 2015, appearing in just 61 games. When healthy, Span’s slash line was an excellent .301/.365/.431.
Not retaining Span continues another surprisingly quiet offseason for the Nationals, presumed World Series contenders for the 2015 season who did not manage to make it into the playoffs. Seven players from last year’s Nationals team have entered the free agent market: Span is the second to sign with another team (the other being Jordan Zimmerman with the Detroit Tigers), and none have been retained by the Nationals.