San Francisco Giants Lack of Financial Flexibility a Good Thing?
A lot has been made and will be made throughout the year about how the San Francisco Giants will reshape the team next season.
Will the San Francisco Giants bring back any of their free agents, such as Andrew McCutchen, Hunter Pence, Nick Hundley, Gregor Blanco or Derek Holland?
How much will is cost for San Francisco to extend Madison Bumgarner and Joe Panik?
Will the team go after any big name free agents or try to make any big trades like their pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton last season or pitchers Zack Greinke and Jon Lester in years past.
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Or will they stay put with the team they have built and continue to let their prospects rise up through the ranks?
One thing is clear: They will not have much financial flexibility. And yet, that can be a good thing moving forward for the Giants.
San Francisco has already committed $128 million to just 10 players for 2019, according to Baseball Prospectus.
Buster Posey ($22.1M,) Johnny Cueto ($21M,) Mark Melancon ($20M,) Jeff Samardzija ($19.8M,) Brandon Belt ($17.2M,) Brandon Crawford ($15.2M,) and Evan Longoria ($14.6M) account for all but $6.5M of that. Tony Watson ($3.5M,) and Austin Jackson ($3M,) are the only other players on the 25 man signed for next season.
However, with possible extensions for Bumgarner and Panik and several other players up for arbitration, the majority of the team could be coming back in 2019.
Pablo Sandoval, because of his large deal with the Boston Red Sox, is still only making the league minimum from the Giants.
Infielder Kelby Tomlinson and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez will be arbitration eligible at the end of the year.
Relief pitchers Sam Dyson, Will Smith, Cory Gearrin, and Hunter Strickland will all be eligible for arbitration as well.
The remaining members of the 25 man roster are still under team control like Mac Williamson, Chris Stratton, and Ty Blach.
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Meanwhile, if the Giants decided not to re-sign outfielders McCutchen, Pence or Blanco, the team has some intriguing options in their system. Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar and Austin Slater are all options for the Giants in 2019 and could give San Francisco the flexibility to choose among a much larger group of outfielders than in past seasons.
Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez, who both made their major league debuts in 2018, would be able to replace Derek Holland on the pitching staff.
Aramis Garcia, who is one of the top prospects in the Giants system, could replace Hundley if the Giants decided to part ways with one of the teams most popular veterans.
San Francisco may not have a lot of wiggle room under the luxury tax after paying out extensions to their best young core players and making arbitration deals with their younger players. However, what they will have is a chance to get better in 2019 without making any major deals.
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If the team does decide to make a push for Bryce Harper or some other big fish, they could certainly do that. That being said, it is good to know they already have an idea what names will be here next season.
That will be huge for a team still trying to get rid of the memories of 2017.
The continuity and team chemistry the Giants have restarted in 2018 can move right on into 2019 and beyond with the way the team has been built.