San Francisco Giants Should Narrow Focus to 2021 Season
By Michael Saltzman
The San Francisco Giants have been struggling for two and a half years now, and the new front office does not seem in a hurry to turn it around.
Part of the reason for the San Francisco Giants and their slow pace is the volume of high priced veterans on the roster coming off down seasons. It has been hard to find a market to trade players who seem to be unable to play to the stats on the back of their baseball card.
Another reason is there does not seem to be a push from ownership to right the ship immediately.
When the Giants fired Bobby Evans and replaced him with Farhan Zaidi, the clear message was that San Francisco was going to do things differently going forward.
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Part of that strategy needs to be looking ahead to the 2021 season.
According to Baseball Prospectus, the Giants will have four veterans on the final year of their contract and only Evan Longoria owed significant money in 2022.
Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford will all be free agents after the 2021 season. Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon come off the books in 2020.
As Zaidi continues to try and shape the roster over the next three off-seasons, these contracts will play a big factor in how they operate.
Any contract offered over the next three seasons should have 2021 and beyond in mind. Will that player be someone who can flourish beyond that time, or will they be a short term fix that should have a short term deal.
So far, no player the Giants have signed has been offered a multi year deal. It is still possible that will be the case throughout the off-season.
What that will do is give Zaidi flexibility heading into the 2019 trading deadline in July, where the Giants may decide to part ways with pitcher Madison Bumgarner.
The Giants will also have another draft in June where they will be picking players at the top of the draft in each round. Being able to find talent in the late rounds of the draft will be one of the most important things the new Giants front office members can do for the Giants overall health.
There have been rumors that the Giants have talked with teams about closer Will Smith and former closer Tony Watson. Both are left handed relief pitchers who can get batters out from both sides of the plate and are used to pitching in the late innings.
With Rule 5 draft pick Travis Bergen and the anticipated signing of switch pitcher Pat Venditte, the Giants are adding depth to a position of strength.
These moves may allow Zaidi to trade away a veteran left hander and give the Giants depth at a position of need.
While the Giants may want to pursue big names like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, AJ Pollack or Dallas Kuechel, it makes more sense to find undervalued players to short term deals and keep as much flexibility as possible over the next three years.
That might not be what fans want to hear, but with the current contract situations of the team’s best players, that might be the best solution to fix the Giants for the long haul.