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How a Slow Hot Stove Season Works to San Francisco Giants Advantage

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 05: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cleveland Indians hits a two-run home run during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees during game one of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 5, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 05: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cleveland Indians hits a two-run home run during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees during game one of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 5, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Here we take a look at why a slow hot stove season works to the advantage of the San Francisco Giants to longer it takes free agents to sign.

The San Francisco Giants haven’t made many moves so far this Hot Stove season. Their biggest acquisition has been Evan Longoria.

Like many fans, I was initially concerned by the front office’s inactivity. Then I realized that very few free agents or trade candidates have actually changed teams.

This is an extremely advantageous situation for the Giants. It appears that all teams are concerned about staying below the $197 million luxury tax threshold.

This means that teams have a specific price point above which they are not willing to spend for he players they are pursuing. So what does this mean for the Giants and other clubs?

Market direction

There are two options to break the market stalemate. Either teams can acquiesce to the salary demands of players, or the players’ demands will have to meet the market prices set by the teams. This second course seams much more likely given the luxury tax concerns referenced above.

What it all means

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Let’s bring the general principle outlined above into focus using the Giants situation as an example. Reportedly, Jay Bruce is seeking a deal in the range of four years and $80 million. This $20 million annual salary is proving difficult to attain on the open market.

I believe this is the case for two reasons. The first is the fact that Bruce is now 31. This means that he would be 35 by the end of any four year contract. Historically, 35 year-old outfielders are not worth the money they are being paid by the end of their deals.

The Giants have an all too clear example of this principle in the person of Hunter Pence.

What a market value Jay Bruce deal might look like

Admittedly, this is speculative on my part; however, I believe it would be reasonable for Bruce to expect a pact of two years and $35 million.

I have used Bruce as the case study throughout this piece because he is the corner outfielder most strongly and credibly connected to the Giants.

However, I believe that other outfielders in particular are facing a similar situation.

This seems to be particularly true of Lorenzo Cain and J.D. Martinez.

Next: With a Cold Stove, San Francisco Giants Remain Out Front

The point is the Giants and all other clubs should wait out the market because the players and their agents will eventually have no other choice but to bring their contractual demands down to the price points set by teams.

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