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How San Francisco Giants Can Compete Under the Luxury Tax Cap

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 05: Pitcher Pat Neshek #37 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field on August 5, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 05: Pitcher Pat Neshek #37 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field on August 5, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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For 2018, the San Francisco Giants currently owe just under $167 million to players already under contract, when accounting for Matt Cain‘s $7.5 million buyout. Meanwhile, the Competitive Balance Tax threshold, or the luxury tax cap, is right at $197 million.

This gives the Giants about $30 million to work with before heading into the tax, where they’ve been for the past two seasons now. If they surpass it again this year, they will be taxed at 40 percent of each dollar past the threshold.

However, from a financial perspective, this is absolutely the year to get under the soft cap, as the team will likely want to at least contend for some of the marquee names in 2018’s offseason (Bryce Harper and Manny Machado headline the group).

Thirty million is nothing to scoff at, but the team has many talent and depth holes to fill this year, namely at third base and in the outfield. Here are my ideal offseason signings that can keep them under the cap, yet address their most glaring needs:

Sign 3B Todd Frazier (2 years, $24 million)

31 year-old Todd Frazier fills a big hole on the team in many aspects, as is eloquently outlined in this post. He’s a powerful, right-handed corner infielder who won’t demand a huge contract and isn’t a detriment on defense. Those are hard to find.

Since 2014, Frazier has hit 131 home runes, and he’s consistently been worth at least 2.5 WAR since establishing himself. That’s far and away more than any Giants player has hit in that time.

You may be asking ‘what about Mike Moustakas?’ Well, he’s been good for 95 home runs and has only posted a WAR above 2.5 twice since he’s been a pro. Frazier is the safer and more cost-effective bet.

If a healthy Christian Arroyo forces manager Bruce Bochy‘s hand, Frazier is then flexible enough to move across the diamond to first base and Brandon Belt can shift to left field.

Adding a guy who can drive in runs in bunches should be a priority for the front office, and this is the best option to do so without running into the luxury tax.

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