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What A SF Giants Offseason Could Look Like With A $180m Payroll

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 07: Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics reacts to striking out Josh Reddick #22 of the Houston Astros to end the eighth inning in Game Three of the American League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 07, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 07: Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics reacts to striking out Josh Reddick #22 of the Houston Astros to end the eighth inning in Game Three of the American League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 07, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Kim Ha-Seong
Infielder Kim Ha-Seong #7 of Kiwoom Heroes bats in the bottom of the eighth inning during the KBO League game between Lotte Giants and Kiwoom Heroes at the Gocheok Sky Dome on July 24, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)

SF Giants Mock $180m Payroll Offseason: Offensive Acquisition(s)

Ha-Seong Kim: 5-years, $40 million
Jackie Bradley Jr: 2-years, $16 million
Total Payroll: $159,525,000

In these simulations, estimated contracts for free agents are from MLB Trade Rumors’ top-50 free agent predictions.

An added $20 million in payroll flexibility could go a long way this offseason. The SF Giants would look slightly better in 2021 than 2020 with a roster limited to a $160 million payroll, but at this level, they could really start to look like a formidable NL West competitor. Yet, if the free-agent market plays out as predicted, they would still maintain great financial flexibility down the road.

Kim may be my favorite free-agent on the market and could easily be the Giants shortstop of the future. At just 25-years old, the Kiwoom Heroes infielder could help the team immediately and be a part of their long-term plans. Multiple outlets have said he would rank among the top-100 prospects in baseball and if the Giants have money to spend, those are the kind of players that fit best.

While Donovan Solano was fantastic in 2020, signing Kim enables Solano to return to a utility role where he could spell Kim at second base, or take Brandon Crawford’s spot in the lineup against a lefty, when Kim could shift to short defensively. Kim could be the primary second baseman in 2021 while preparing to replace Crawford after he enters free agency next offseason.

It’s worth noting that signing Kim would cost the Giants an additional posting fee to his Korean team, roughy 20% of his guarantees. However, that money would not count against the luxury tax threshold. It’s fair to suggest that ownership could consider that a part of payroll, but in this exercise, that is treated as a separate cost. If that were an issue, the team would probably pass on signing Bradley.

To round out the lineup, the Giants can finally unite with Jackie Bradley Jr. Given the early free-agent deals we have seen, the pitching market seems more robust than the position-player side. If that holds out, Bradley will probably sign an even cheaper deal than estimated here. Still, even at this cost, he’d be a great get for San Francisco.

Mauricio Dubón could completely shift to a part-time utility player role, playing center field against left-handed pitchers while potentially subbing into right field late in games as a defensive replacement. Bradley may be 31 next year, but he still ranked in the 99th percentile in outs above average last season. Even at his age, he’s arguably the best defensive centerfielder in the game. His offensive game has had its highs and lows, but ultimately he’s been consistently a league-average hitter since 2015. With Dubón available to platoon, the Giants would have their deepest outfield since Barry Bonds was batting cleanup.

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