Marc Delucchi continues his four-part series taking readers through an SF Giants offseason with a $140m, $160m, $180m, and a $200m payroll.
In their second offseason together atop the SF Giants baseball operations department, Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris hope to take the next step towards building a strong contender. The organization’s revamped farm system appears to have the makings of a future core, but will those players join a legitimate contender or have to carry a mediocre team?
With ownership groups around MLB instituting strict financial limitations on their front-offices, it’s not inconceivable that Zaidi and Harris will face a restriction. Of course, the Giants are one of the wealthiest sports franchises in the world. Any budgetary restrictions would solely aid team owners in extracting greater profits from the team. Still, the team already laid off roughly 10% of their employees this year, suggesting a stringent budget.
In 2020, the Giants were scheduled to have an Opening Day payroll of around $165 million, however, the team held payrolls over $170 million from 2015-2019, eclipsing $200 million in 2018. Needless to say, ownership has had plenty of financial might in the past. With a slow free-agent market, just allowing Zaidi to spend to the levels they did in the post-dynasty era could go an incredibly long way. That could set their limit around $180 million.
SF Giants Mock $180m Payroll Offseason: Guaranteed Contracts
Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Wilmer Flores, Chadwick Tromp, Jason Vosler, Alex Dickerson, Austin Slater, Donovan Solano, Darin Ruf, Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto, Matt Wisler, Wandy Peralta, Jarlin Garcia, Trevor Gott, Reyes Moronta
Total Payroll: $125,020,000
Vosler could technically be cut or waived with relatively little cost, but since he signed a big-league deal, it’s worth slotting him into the Opening Day roster. Cueto and Gausman are obviously going to be in the big-league rotation, barring injury, and the bulk of the Giants infield mix is already settled.
While a boatload of money is set to clear off the books after next season, a bulk of the team’s payroll in 2021 will go to Posey, Belt, Crawford, and Longoria. Many have no-trade clauses, but it’s hard to envision them finding a trade for anyone without getting more creative than I plan to get in these simulations, even if they did not.
Dickerson, Slater, Ruf, Peralta, Garcia, and Gott, all agreed to deals prior to the non-tender deadline. Solano and Moronta were tendered contracts for arbitration. Solano’s salary is estimated at $3 million, and Moronta’s is estimated at $800,000. Technically, many of those deals are non-guaranteed, but it’s fair to say they are on the fast track for roster spots. Tromp re-signed on a big-league contract, which presumably pays him a big-league minimum. The Giants also signed right-handed reliever Matt Wisler to a one-year, $1.15 million earlier this week.
Given these payroll constraints, the Giants would have about $55 million to play with to sure up their pitching staff and potentially upgrade their lineup. With multiple holes in the starting rotation and bullpen, the front-office would have the flexibility to make a legitimate contender and could even further strengthen their offense.