My biggest problem with Reed and Gathright is they're terrible baseball players. Replacement level flycatchers with zero upside. There must be better options for the Jays outfield, right? Turns out there just might be, in the interesting form of Fred Lewis.
Fred Lewis is out of options and out of time in San Francisco. Luckily for some team (hopefully the Jays), the Giants run their organization like JaysTalk caller with a bankroll. Which is to say: poorly.
The Giants don't value Fred Lewis's ability to produce level average offense at worst to go with strong to decent outfield play. The Giants will likely waive or trade Lewis for a bag of balls at the end of spring training, choosing to focus on journeymen who make lots of outs and hit the occasional home run.
Just like Reed and Gathright, Lewis hits left and can play most outfield spots. While he's not the most accomplished center fielder, he wouldn't be called upon too often to fill that role in Toronto. Lewis offers the same things as the other two, but better. Much, much, better. Even the most conservative projections for Lewis bring his wRC+ in just over league average, with the various systems all landing in the 102-106 range. Gathright projects in the 80s, coming on the heels of 45 wRC+ season. Reed rows to Dunedin in a similar boat, projecting between 76-87 wRC+ after his paltry 57 wRC+ in 2009. Enough esoteric numbers, how about some slo-mo swing porn?
Call me crazy or delusional, and maybe it's just the Giants jersey talking, but that swing looks enough like Barry Bonds to get me through the night.
Once reality sets in and I come to realize this move will never happen, I'll be sad but only a little. The job we're talking about here is the 23rd man on Clarence's bench, meaning whoever fills this role gets used with less frequency than a condom at a SABR conference. Fred Lewis is a good enough player that he should really play every day, and that opportunity is surely waiting with some team.
Then again, this is the Giants were talking about. You could dangle just about anything in front of them and they're likely to take it. I bet they'd do Jose Bautista for Fred Lewis straight up! Needless to say, I'd make that move in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, that heartbeat would be the final one of Clarence's life, as losing his BFFautista would surely be the last straw.
Fred Lewis photo courtesy of the Lancing Parish Council.