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SF Giants: Projecting the 2021 Starting Rotation

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on September 27, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on September 27, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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SF Giants
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 27: Alex Wood #57 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers the pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning in Game Six of the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 27, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)

Following the signing of left-handed hurler Alex Wood on Thursday, the SF Giants have a lot more clarity on the starting rotation heading into 2021.

When the offseason began, the SF Giants had several rotation holes to fill as Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly, Jeff Samardzija, and Trevor Cahill became free agents. Furthermore, they had team control over Tyler Anderson but decided to non-tender him instead.

Logan Webb and Johnny Cueto were the only rotation incumbents. Since then, the Giants issued Gausman a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer that he accepted.

Anthony DeSclafani ($6 million base) and Alex Wood ($3 million base) signed on for one-year, pillow contracts after each one battled injuries and ineffectiveness in 2020.

On top of this, Tyler Beede should return from Tommy John surgery at some point. Plus, according to Taylor Wirth of SF Bay, the front office sees both Conner Menez and Anthony Banda as capable spot-starters.

That said, there is a fair bit of injury risk and workload management with Beede, DeSclafani, and Wood.

After signing Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly as well as claiming Tyler Anderson last offseason, the Giants still went out and signed Cahill and Tyson Ross on minor-league deals for depth. They likely will not hand out any more major-league contracts for the rotation, but they still need to build up depth.

When the season starts, they could comfortably roll out a rotation of Cueto, Webb, DeSclafani, Wood, and Gausman. However, it is a long season, and injuries and ineffectiveness do occur. They will still need another veteran arm or two to fill that Cahill-like roll in 2020. Ideally, it would be someone with experience out of both the rotation and bullpen, so that it is easier to find their way onto the roster.

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While much of the legwork has been done in building the framework of the rotation, the Giants front office probably will want to bring in at least a couple more notable arms before the season begins.

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