After a successful 29-31 season in 2020, the SF Giants are ready to turn the page and focus on being competitive again in 2021.
As the offseason gets underway, the SF Giants have plenty of holes to fill on their roster. Thankfully, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi detailed what the team will be looking to add:
Phew. That was easy. Can we end the article now? No?
While Zaidi provided a framework for his offseason approach, he is not going to telegraph exactly what he is looking for. That said, we can speculate on the type of players the Giants could be targeting based on the list above.
Before we get started, we should note that the Giants will have in the neighborhood of $80 million in payroll space below the Collective Bargaining Tax (CBT).
I should add that just because the Giants have that much wiggle room available does not mean that they will spend up until the limit. Also, we do not know exactly how teams will respond to spending after the lost revenues from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since his tenure began, Zaidi has been extremely stingy with free-agent spending and has only handed out one multi-year contract. That went to Wilmer Flores, who signed a two-year, $6.5 million pact before the 2020 season, which is looking like a shrewd transaction.
So, while the Giants will have plenty of money available, I would not expect them to go on a shopping spree anytime soon.
The SF Giants offseason needs
Nevertheless, the Giants have three holes they are looking to fill: a left-handed bat, a veteran reliever, and starting pitching depth.
They definitely need a left-handed bat who can handle right-handed pitching. As a team, the Giants posted an .838 OPS against southpaws compared to a .764 OPS against righties.
While both marks are strong, there is room for improvement in the Giants lineup against right-handed pitchers. With Alex Dickerson and Mike Yastrzemski firmly entrenched from the left side in the outfield, it makes sense that the left-handed bat they target will be an infielder.
In the infield, the Giants have Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford as their left-handed hitters, but they need one more to spot start at second base and third base behind Donovan Solano and Evan Longoria, respectively.
Didi Gregorius will be a free agent as well, and the SF Giants did express interest in the left-handed bat last offseason. They may kick the tires on the 30-year-old again this year, but I do not believe they have the at-bats to reel in a player like Gregorius.
The type of left-handed bat they will target will likely be comfortable playing in a super-utility, reserve role.
The next hole they need to fill is a veteran reliever. I was mildly surprised that reliever was not pluralized because they really need a handful of veteran relievers, especially from the right side.
As a team, the Giants bullpen posted a 4.24 ERA in 2020. Sam Selman, Jarlin Garcia, Wandy Peralta, Tony Watson, and Caleb Baragar all threw the ball well enough from the left side this past season. All should factor into next year’s bullpen except for Watson, who will become a free agent after the World Series.
The bullpen is not an area I would expect the Giants to spend heavily. Though Watson had a modest $3 million salary in 2020 and met the expectations of that contract, I feel like the Giants will let him walk.
The right side of the bullpen was a little more chaotic. Tyler Rogers, Shaun Anderson, and Reyes Moronta should factor into next year’s competition, but few other internal options we have previously seen should be considered a lock. However, there could be a few options we have not seen:
Both Cyr and Doval have the makings to become quality relievers at the major league level with the latter potentially becoming a closer soon.
The Giants will look to augment their relief corp in free agency. Pedro Baez, Tyler Clippard, Brandon Workman, Jake McGee, Justin Wilson, and Sean Doolittle all make sense. There is not a top-of-the-market in this year’s free-agent class. Rather, it is a bunch of quality relievers, many of whom will be looking for a new home.
On a personal note, it would be great to see Yusmeiro Petit and Sergio Romo don the Orange and Black again. If I had to guess, I would expect that Giants to bring a couple of veteran relievers, especially ones who throw with their right hand.
The final hole the Giants will be looking to fill is in the starting rotation. As currently constructed, San Francisco has Logan Webb and Johnny Cueto under contract for next season. Tyler Anderson is arbitration-eligible and Tyler Beede will be returning from Tommy John surgery at some point in 2021.
There is not a lot of depth currently within the SF Giants organization. Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly, and Trevor Cahill are all set to become free agents. The Giants have already stated their desire to reunite with both Smyly and Gausman, and I can see a scenario where all three return.
As we have seen with Zaidi, he is in an endless pursuit of adding pitching depth, so reeling in three starters may not be enough. Outside of those three, I would anticipate the Giants to target a reclamation project or two.
Robbie Ray, Jose Quintana, Julio Teheran, Jake Odorizzi, and Alex Wood will be looking to re-establish market value next year. The Giants could entice any of the names mentioned with a high value, one-year deal.
Zaidi gave us some scraps to nibble on as the SF Giants prepare for free agency. As we have seen, he is extraordinarily creative with roster-building, so perhaps, he will not even entertain any of the names mentioned above.
In that case, this article was all for naught. At the very least, the Giants appear to be on the upward trajectory and will look to compete next season. After falling short in a playoff bid this year, it does seem like the Giants are much closer to reaching the playoffs than they were just a season ago.