What A SF Giants Offseason Could Look Like With A $160m Payroll

New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) /
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SF Giants, Trevor Rosenthal
San Diego Padres relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal (47), the eleventh pitcher for the team in the game, pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning during game three of the 2020 NLDS at Globe Life Field. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports) /

SF Giants Mock $160m Payroll Offseason: Final Roster

Total Opening Day Payroll: $159,555,000

Starting Lineup vs. RHP
RF Mike Yastrzemski
1B Brandon Belt
2B Ha-Seong Kim
LF Alex Dickerson
3B Evan Longoria
SS Brandon Crawford
C Buster Posey
*Pitcher’s Spot*
CF Mauricio Dubón

Chadwick Tromp, Wilmer Flores, Jason Vosler, Donovan Solano, Austin Slater, Jaylin Davis*
*competition between Davis, Steven Duggar, and Luis Alexander Basabe

The offense would be nearly identical with a couple of notable upgrades. Posey back in the fold would be a huge improvement behind the plate, even if he hits at his 2019 level. Kim has the potential to quickly become one of the Giants most dynamic players. With Solano still on the roster though, they could ease Kim into an everyday role if he needed it.

Defensively, the starting lineup looks incredibly strong across the board, with Yastrzemski the only player below-average at their position. Assuming Vosler is a solid defender at third base, all reports suggest he is; then there are competent defenders available behind every starter. While Solano might be limited defensively, remember that Kim and Dubón were developed as shortstop and could cover for Crawford if necessary. Flores is not going to making many contributions with his glove but could be an incredibly valuable platoon/pinch-hit bat.

Given this roster construction and budget limits, Darin Ruf becomes the odd-man-out. While he won’t induce a massive bidding war, an American League team looking for a right-handed-hitting DH would very likely offer a lower-level prospect in return.

Starting Rotation
1. James Paxton
2. Kevin Gausman
3. Garrett Richards
4. Johnny Cueto
5. Logan Webb**
**competition between Webb, Tyler Beede, Conner Menez, Andrew Suarez, Caleb Baragar

The Giants may not enter Spring Training knowing who their ace is, but their four veteran arms all have the potential to be a frontline starter. Cueto and Richards are both well removed from their top forms, but alongside Gausman and Paxton, the pressure should be off them to be more than solid mid-rotation arms.

This unit would obviously have a high-variance of outcomes. The upside is tremendous, but the downside, given Paxton, Richards, and Cueto’s injury history alongside Gausman’s erratic effectiveness, is quite low too. Still, players like Beede, Suarez, and even prospect Sean Hjelle could be capable of filling in. It’s far from one of the best rotations in the league, but would be an immense upgrade over their 2020 Opening Day rotation.

LR Wandy Peralta***
MR Matt Wisler
MR Jarlin Garcia
MR Reyes Moronta
SU Tyler Rogers
SU Sam Selman
CL Trevor Rosenthal
***competition between Peralta, Webb, Beede, Menez, Suarez, Baragar

Evaluating bullpens on paper never seems to work, but this unit looks leaps and bounds ahead of the Giants hodgepodge of arms in 2020. Rogers, Selman, Moronta, Wisler, and Garcia all look like viable setup options, and it becomes so much easier to imagine the team holding leads with all of them to choose from before Rosenthal in the 9th.

Trevor Gott would have to be designated for assignment, barring an injury or exceptional performance, but many of the other options from last season, like Rico Garcia and Sam Coonrod would remain a promotion away at Triple-A if the team needed reinforcements. Given that both Garcia and Coonrod got legitimate high-leverage opportunities last season, it shows what adding a couple of arms can do for the pen’s depth.

Part 1: SFG Offseason With A $140m Payroll. Related Story

This is the second of a four-part series on how the SF Giants offseason could look with various payroll restrictions. If ownership decides to maintain a moderate $160 million payroll, the front-office should have the flexibility to add a pair of starters, a high-leverage reliever, and a young shortstop.