No one knows how this offseason will play out as teams look to cut costs at every corner to offset lost revenues from the 2020 season, but an interesting new rumor circulated that suggests the SF Giants might be in a unique position.
Andy Martino of SNY Networks believes that the SF Giants will be one of the more aggressive teams this winter:
Martino’s report adds fuel to the fire, and there is some substance to this in a sense. For years, the Giants have flirted with and been limited by the Collective Bargaining Tax (CBT). However, since Farhan Zaidi has taken over as president of baseball operations in November of 2018, the Giants have been extremely stingy with free-agent spending.
In his first two offseasons at the helm, Zaidi has handed out just one multi-year contract (Wilmer Flores for two years, $6.5 million).
Given this, the Giants have fallen far below the CBT. They look to dip even further below in the next offseason when the contracts for Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt are set to expire. On top of this, the Giants have buy-out options for both Johnny Cueto and Buster Posey in 2022 for $5 million and $3 million, respectively.
With that being said, the Giants are nearing a clean slate and have roughly $80 million available to spend for 2021 before they reach the CBT. To Martino’s point, the Giants could absolutely be aggressive spenders this offseason.
However, I would caution against using that $80 million mark as a hard number since there is a difference between spending ability in the context of the CBT and the payroll figure established by team ownership.
We do not know what the owners will be willing to spend this offseason. Furthermore, I am hesitant to believe that Martino’s report for two reasons:
- The front office under Zaidi has played everything close to the chest, so it is difficult to guess where they sit
- The SF Giants enacted a series of layoffs recently, and this suggests they are in a similar boat as the rest of baseball
Either way, Martino is a good reporter, and I know there is substance to support his claim. These are just observations I have made about the Giants that make me think they are not going to be on a shopping binge this offseason. Rather, they will likely pursue smaller moves.
It is still very early in the baseball offseason, but the rumor mill has been churning out interesting talking points for the Giants. We may have to wait patiently for any big moves until after the December 2 deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players a contract for 2021.