Now that free agency has begun, several SF Giants players on minor-league contracts declared themselves free agents.
While most early offseason focus has been on big-name free agents and frustrating club option decisions, over 400 players have become minor-league free agents as well. Nothing prevents a minor-league free agent from receiving a big-league contract. However, given the suppressed market most expect to see, many will be hard-pressed for even minor-league opportunities.
Cristhian Adames, Enderson Franco, Yapson Gomez, Zach Green, Tyler Heineman, Chris Herrmann, Jake Jewell, Jesus Liranzo, Luis Madero, Rodolfo Martinez, Sam Moll, Carlos Navas, Joey Rickard, Nolan Riggs, Jose Siri, and Kean Wong are the 16 players in the SF Giants organization who joined that group. Heineman and Rickard both played for the Giants this season and were on the 40-man roster until they were outrighted yesterday.
Green made his major-league debut in 2019 with the Giants after a breakout season at Sacramento but never received an MLB opportunity in 2020.
Wong, Navas, Herrmann, Jewell, Adames, Franco, Liranzo, and Gomez were all minor-league free agent signings hoping to win a big-league spot out of Spring Training. Without a Triple-A season to get the front-office’s attention, though, they all faced an uphill battle after failing to make the Opening Day roster.
Herrmann and Navas did spend the majority of the season on the taxi-squad, traveling with the big-league club. However, neither were ever moved to the 40-man roster and will look for another opportunity in free agency. Since the Giants were high enough on both of them to keep them with the club, it may not be out of the question for either to return to the organization on another minor-league pact.
Moll was drafted by the Giants in the 2018 minor-league Rule 5 draft and looked to be one of the more intriguing minor-league arms in the system. Last season, between Double-A and Triple-A, Moll completed 49 innings, struck out 54, walked 23, and held opponents to a 2.39 ERA.
Siri was a low-risk, high-reward waiver claim this offseason. A corner outfielder who came up in the Reds organization has bigtime power and just never has been able to consistently put the ball in play. Still, he’s just 25-years old, a competent defensive outfielder, and has big home run potential.
Madero was another potential waiver-wire steal by the Giants that never got a chance to pan out. Madero moved quickly through the Angels minor-league system as a starting pitcher with a great feel for soft contact. While he lacked frontline stuff, he looked like a potential back-of-rotation or long-relief option. He’s still just 23 and has already reached Double-A. The Giants will probably try to bring him back for system depth, but if not, another team will be happy to give him an opportunity.
Riggs and Martinez have spent their entire careers in the Giants organizations and, for the first time, have an opportunity to take their talents elsewhere. Martinez was once considered the top relief prospect in the system, with a fastball that touched triple-digits and a sharp slider. Still, underdeveloped control and injuries ultimately stalled his development. Riggs, on the other hand, was a tall pitchability righty that tried to limit hard-contact around relatively weak stuff.
Many intriguing players in the SF Giants organization have officially become minor-league free agents. The team may try to bring some back into the fold in 2021, but if not, remember that another 380+ players in other organizations became free agents as well. The Giants will surely be scouring the market for talent there as well.