Evaluating the San Francisco Giants roster and upcoming free agency
San Francisco Giants fans will wait with bated breath to see how the team approaches the free agency of ace Madison Bumgarner.
The 30-year-old is having a fine season when accounting for the offensive explosion throughout the league, posting a solid 3.71 ERA, nearly identical 3.73 FIP, and 1.10 WHIP.
The biggest thing going for him in free agency will be the fact that he has been healthy all year and his fastball velocity has ticked is back up. His agent will surely try to use those facts to show teams that he’s not yet in decline.
The Giants elected to keep him at the trade deadline, which could signal interest in keeping him beyond the year. There will be countless articles looking into his free agency case, so let’s see how the rest of the rotation has done, and what it might look like next year.
Jeff Samardzija is on pace for what could be the best season of his career, pitching valuable innings and consistently keeping the Giants in games. His 3.44 ERA/4.32 FIP indicates he might be getting lucky, but he’s locked into a rotation spot next year in the last season of his contract.
After the two veterans, there’s a steep drop off in quality and consistency from the Giants starters. Tyler Beede, Shaun Anderson, Logan Webb, Dereck Rodriguez, Conner Menez, and Andrew Suarez have all started games, but nobody has done enough to solidify a rotation spot.
On the year, no one from that group has an ERA under 4.66 (Webb), a WHIP below 1.43 (Rodriguez), or more than 92.1 innings pitched (Beede). Expect the Giants to be actively looking for starters this offseason since none of the young starters has separated himself from the pack so far.
Of that group, the 22-year-old Webb might have the best shot to be in the team’s long-term plans, since the team was so aggressive in promoting him after just one Triple-A start. Granted, he has only started two games in the majors this year, and the other young pitchers have generally performed worse the longer they’ve pitched in the majors, whether that be due to fatigue or more tape or some other factors.
While the position-player free agents may be lacking, the starting pitching group looks deeper. The Giants could opt to look for short-term veterans to fill innings and then flip them at the deadline, much like they did with Drew Pomeranz and Derek Holland last year. They could also aim a bit higher.
The top of the starting pitching market includes Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Jake Odorizzi, while others like Tanner Roark, Kyle Gibson, Dallas Keuchel, Cole Hamels, Rick Porcello, and Alex Wood could also be of interest.
Of course, there’s also Johnny Cueto to consider. If he shows up healthy in early September like we’ve been hearing, he will obviously be given back his rotation spot. Don’t expect the Giants to push him too hard right off the bat. After all, he still has two years and $47 million left on his contract.