The SF Giants have made a lot of moves to bolster the team’s depth in various areas, but it has not necessarily been the big moves the fans were hoping for. They do not have to look too deep in the history books where a lot of unheralded moves generated strong value.
The 2010 SF Giants thrived on the minor-league free agent and positioned themselves to win the World Series because of it. Of course, they won because of Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, and Brian Wilson, but they built depth through the under-the-radar moves.
In that year, the Giants were not necessarily preparing for a championship run, but you could tell that they were building something special. In the prior year, the Giants posted an 88-74 while finishing third in a strong NL West, but it was evident that the championship window was beginning to open.
Cain, Lincecum, and Pablo Sandoval anchored that roster. However, they made a pair of shrewd minor league signings in Juan Uribe and Andres Torres. Torres and Uribe became key cogs in the 2010 championship run.
Before the 2010 season, the Giants brought in Santiago Casilla on a minor-league pact to bolster the bullpen. As the season wore on, they made another minor-league deal in Pat Burrell, who had just been released by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second year of a two-year, $16 million deal.
In total, that team had four players who were brought in on minor league deals. These were not the most exciting moves, but the World Series does not happen without any of these moves being made. Below is the WAR generated by each of the players in 2010:
- Burrell – 2.1
- Torres – 5.3
- Casilla – 1.6
- Uribe – 1.5
In total, these four players were worth 10.5 WAR. No one could have expected that much value when each one was brought in.
Let’s fast forward 11 years, and the Giants are gearing up for the 2021 season. The competitive window has not necessarily opened up yet as it did in 2010, but the Giants have made several depth moves including Anthony DeSclafani, Matt Wisler, John Brebbia, and Curt Casali.
On the surface, these additions do not jump off of the page, and they are much different in substance than minor-league deals. With that being said, some of the moves the Giants made in 2009 and 2010 did not excite the fanbase either.
This is not to say that the Giants are preparing for a playoff run. The NL West is very strong at the top with the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers, so the best shot is to sneak in as a Wild Card team.
That is also going to be a tough challenge, but the Giants have done well this offseason to improve around the margins. This is not the most exciting improvement, but it is a necessary step in roster building.