The San Francisco Giants had an opportunity to add a once-in-a-generation type of player in Giancarlo Stanton. Instead, they added Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen, Austin Jackson, and Tony Watson. The Giants are probably better off with what they did, rather than what could have happened.
Adding a player like Stanton would have been an exciting and game-changing acquisition for the San Francisco Giants. The prospect value would have been low, and they may have been able to include Denard Span in any potential deal.
As exciting as the idea of adding Stanton is, there were some concerns. The concerns were not about his durability, which will be interesting to observe from afar.
Rather, adding Stanton would likely have been the only acquisition they could have made with the exclusion of minor-league contracts. Stanton’s contract is so big that the Giants would have crossed the luxury tax threshold.
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It seems that the Giants front office is aiming to stay below the luxury tax. Stanton was a unique situation, and the Giants would have had trouble building the roster. Essentially, the Giants would be putting all their eggs in one basket.
Even if the Giants were still able to unload the Matt Moore‘s and Denard Span’s contract, Stanton’s contract would still have put them up against the limit. The Giants executives were said to be okay with going into the luxury tax for a player such as Stanton.
However, if they wanted to fill additional holes on their roster, they would be taxed for every dollar they spend. Tony Watson and Austin Jackson could have still be options. However, the Giants would pay taxes on top of the salaries for either player.
In addition to this, the Giants would have to wait for another year to reset the luxury tax penalties. That appears to be an obvious goal as they are preparing for next season’s free agent class.
The Giants were unable to reel in Stanton. He spurned their efforts to join a contending team in the New York Yankees. It is good for the Yankees. So few good things happen to that organization, it is good that they finally caught a break.
Bobby Evans pivoted from Stanton to filling as many holes as possible. He took the heart out of two organizations by adding Longoria and McCutchen. Additionally, he made a couple of shrewd, under-the-radar moves in adding Jackson and Watson.
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Ultimately, missing out on Stanton was a tough pill to swallow. However, this did not discourage the Giants front office. Instead, they shifted focus to fortifying the roster while staying under the luxury tax.
The Giants have improved their lineup and their bullpen. The starting rotation still has some question marks at the back-end. They are relying on prospects such as Chris Stratton and Tyler Beede to take the next step. That is not such a bad thing. Eventually, the Giants will need to start churning out prospects again.
Even with the question marks surrounding the back-end of the rotation, the Giants can still improve in this area. Matt Cain and Matt Moore were the 4th and 5th starters last season. Both pitchers were below replacement-level. That is not a hard benchmark to improve on with a combination of Stratton, Beede, or even Derek Holland.
The Giants did pretty well this offseason. They went into it with a lot of holes to fill and big expectations for adding a player like Stanton. Instead, they filled several holes while relying on prospects to patch up the holes they could not fill through trades and free agency.
The gap between the Giants and the Dodgers, Rockies, and Diamondbacks seemed huge at the start of this offseason. The Giants improved the roster. The Dodgers, Rockies, and Diamondbacks did little to improve their respective rosters. At least on paper, the Giants look like they will be back in the mix for a playoff spot this coming season.