As MLB free agency gets underway, the Giants will likely be in the market for at least one starting pitcher, and perhaps multiple arms.
Beyond Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto, the San Francisco Giants have few certainties in their starting rotation. Even in the case of Cueto, it’s unclear how big of a workload he can assume in 2020 in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.
They will likely need to go outside of the organization to fix this.
With this being said, the Giants will need to bolster the rotation either through trades or free agency. As an organization, they are still thin on trade assets, so free agency seems like the most likely route.
The Giants have already started building up their depth by claiming Tyler Anderson and Trevor Oaks off waivers from the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals, respectively. However, given how team president Farhan Zaidi uses the back-end of the 40-man roster, both pitchers may not be with the organization for long.
The top-end of the free-agent market for starting pitchers includes Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Wheeler. The Giants will have the payroll flexibility to add players of that caliber, but more than likely, they will seek lower-cost alternatives without multi-year commitments.
This will give the Giants flexibility to pursue upgrades in other areas of the roster, and they can try to hoard potential trade deadline assets. Zaidi did this when he signed Drew Pomeranz, eventually flipping him to the Milwaukee Brewers for a potential long-term piece in Mauricio Dubon.
If Zaidi has shown anything in his brief tenure as the San Francisco Giants team president, it is that he likes bringing in players with which he has firsthand experience. Drew Pomeranz, Donovan Solano, Trevor Oaks, and Breyvic Valera are just a few examples. His connections to the past could be an indicator of the type of rotation arm the team may target this winter.
He has firsthand experience with a number of free-agent pitchers or has previously been connected to them as targets. Three names that stand out from that list are Tanner Roark, Brett Anderson, and Gio Gonzalez, and that’s the trio we’ll focus on here.