The SF Giants offseason plans are already underway, and we’re going to take a look at the players set to enter free agency this offseason.
It should be an interesting offseason for the SF Giants as they look to add a left-handed bat, a veteran reliever, and starting pitching depth.
With that being said, they will have several free agents hitting the market after the World Series who could also fit those needs.
In his first full offseason at the helm, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi had several key free agents including Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Vogt, and Will Smith. He did not re-sign any of the three.
On top of this, he non-tendered outfielder Kevin Pillar thereby making him a free agent.
However, I would not expect that to be the norm. Heading into this offseason, the Giants list of key free agents includes Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly, Tony Watson, and Trevor Cahill. Additionally, both Jeff Samardzija and Pablo Sandoval will be free agents, but neither finished the season with San Francisco.
For what it is worth, the Giants have already expressed interest in re-signing both Gausman and Smyly, and the interest appears to be mutual.
So, while the Giants watched as their key free agents signed elsewhere last offseason, I would expect a different outcome this time around.
With that being said, Zaidi has proven that he can fill roster holes in creative ways, so there is a nonzero chance that he looks elsewhere altogether to fill those holes.
Ahead is a breakdown of each of the four remaining SF Giants set to reach free agency this offseason
Right-Handed Pitcher Kevin Gausman
Kevin Gausman quickly became the de facto ace and workhouse of the SF Giants rotation in 2020. He came over to the Giants as a free agent last season on a one-year, $9 million pact.
Before this, Gausman spent the bulk of his career with the Baltimore Orioles before making brief stops with the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds. Despite being the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, it seemed like he never lived up to the hype that comes with that high of a pick.
Before 2020, the right-handed hurler posted a 47-63 record with a 4.30 ERA (4.12 FIP) and a 3.05 SO/W ratio. He clearly had electric stuff and he could command it in the zone at will, but the stuff never matched the results.
Upon joining San Francisco, Gausman found another gear. Albeit in a small sample, the right-hander generated a 3.62 ERA (3.09 FIP) with 79 strikeouts across 59.2 frames. On top of this, he struck out 32.2 percent of the hitters he faced, which was by far the highest mark of his career.
The increase in his strikeout rate could be due in part to the increased use of his split-finger with a corresponding decrease in his slider. His split-finger usage has increased in recent years, and it was an extremely valuable pitch in 2020.
Against the split-finger, opposing hitters produced a meager .106 batting average while striking out 46 times. The usage seems to be the key in his mid-career turnaround.
However, Gausman is set to be a free agent yet again. He will not cost as much as Trevor Bauer, but the 29-year-old will be one of the more sought after arms in free agency.
The Giants will have the money to spend, but his price may go beyond their comfort level. They will have a decision to make.