While the latest reports indicate that the San Francisco Giants want to spend big on top-tier free agents, their history proves otherwise. In fact, the last major free agent deal signed was outfielder Aaron Rowand, which was all the way back in 2007.
By no means does this mean San Francisco hasn’t tried to score big in recent off-seasons. Just last year, reports revealed that the Giants offered a 6 year/$150 million contract to pitcher Jon Lester. , but he ended up signing with the Chicago Cubs for $5 million more. Back in 2012, San Francisco was linked to shortstop Jose Reyes, but he eventually signed with the Miami Marlins.
Instead, San Francisco has been forced to settle for one and two year contracts with guys like Edgar Renteria, Pat Burrell, Michael Morse, Tim Hudson, Nori Aoki, among others. To their credit, aside from Aoki, these signings all led to World Series championships. Maybe they have just the right formula.
For whatever reason, San Francisco can never seem to land the big time free agents. And maybe this is a good thing. For one, it is a whole lot cheaper. Secondly, the Giants rarely have to forfeit their first round draft pick. Lastly, big time free agents bring with them big time pressure and publicity. By now, we all know that the Giants are all about team camaraderie and winning–not attention.
Nonetheless, I do believe San Francisco needs to sign or trade for a top-tier starting pitcher to find a way to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation in the NL West. Whether its guys like on the list of top free agents or guys on the trading block list, ace Madison Bumgarner needs a tandem-mate to work Game 2 of whatever series they play.
Their options and decisions on their pitching rotation is still to be determined, but more than likely San Francisco will sign at least a few under the radar guys. Guys like Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro, and Aubrey Huff. These kind of guys not only become role players, but some even become playoff MVPs.
Unfortunately this past season, the Giants endured so many injuries that their supposed role players (Gregor Blanco and Marlon Byrd) were forced to become everyday, middle-of-the-order hitters. When all is said and done, it is the role players like these that end of making the biggest difference on a healthy, contending team.
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As for the 2016 season, Hunter Pence and company are all predicted to be healthy and ready to fight for yet another World Series championship.
So, who will these role players be? Who are the under-the-radar free agents that will sign with San Francisco? Lets take a look.
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