If you have not noticed by now, the offseason has been slow for the SF Giants in particular and baseball in general.
However, the hot stove should begin to heat up after December 2 as the SF Giants have to decide to tender a contract to each of their ten arbitration-eligible players.
So far, the Giants biggest moves have been adding infielder Jason Vosler to the 40-man roster, protecting a handful of prospects from the Rule 5 draft, and retaining starter Kevin Gausman on a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer.
Despite this, many of the key free agents remain unsigned, so the Giants still have plenty of opportunities to make moves. The fact that the key free agents remain unsigned means that the offseason has been slow for the rest of baseball as well. So, when will the activity pick up?
Due to the lost revenues from the COVID-19 pandemic, this offseason is expected to be unique in that teams will likely non-tender an unusually higher number of players. This means that those players will become free agents.
The Giants will join this trend as they are not expected to retain all ten of their arbitration-eligible players. For example, they have tough decisions to make on Tyler Anderson, Darin Ruf, or Daniel Robertson.
However, instead of tendering them a contract for next season, they may just agree to terms on December 2 thereby bypassing the need for arbitration. This is a common practice throughout baseball.
With that being said, the free-agent pool will be much larger than originally anticipated, and there will be some notable names hitting the open market after December 2.
So, that could explain why the offseason has been so slow so far. Teams do not know exactly who will be on the free-agent market, but that will change in just a few days. Solid contributors such as Kris Bryant, Tommy Pham, Eddie Rosario, Noah Syndergaard, and Brian Goodwin could hit free agency if they are not tendered a contract for 2021.
We have already seen some of this so far. Last week, the Baltimore Orioles released Renato Nunez, whereas the Tampa Bay Rays placed Hunter Renfroe on waivers. These are cost-cutting moves to offset the lost revenues in 2020 because each player was due for a modest raise next season. This is just the beginning of the roster purge.
Teams have been reluctant to spend on free agents without knowing the full scope of the free-agent market and if there are better bargains available. Though, we will not have to wait much longer because the deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players a contract is rapidly approaching.
At that point, we should see the market begin to pick up, especially with the virtual Winter Meetings running from December 7-9. The offseason has been slow up to this point, but I would expect it to gain some steam within the next couple of weeks.