Next offseason is still a long time from now, but rumors about how the SF Giants will approach it are already beginning to swirl. Jon Heyman of MLB Network listed the Giants, Texas Rangers, and Philadelphia Phillies as organizations “seen as likely to become big players for star SS.” Given the Giants’ uncertainty at shortstop heading into 2022, it makes sense that they would be expected to be big players at the position in free agency.
After the 2021 season, Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, and Javier Baez are all currently set to become free agents. Beyond that, proven players like Marcus Semien and Brandon Crawford are slated to hit the open market as well. Barring a slew of extensions before the end of this season, this upcoming class of shortstops could be the best group of free agents at any position in MLB history.
SF Giants expected to be “big players” for top shortstops next offseason.
Of course, these stars are set to hit the open market just as the Giants reach a blank slate state. Brandon Belt ($14.56 million AAV), Crawford ($12.5 million AAV), and Kevin Gausman ($18.9 million) come off of the books for San Francisco. On top of this, team options for both Buster Posey ($22 million with a $3 million buyout) and Johnny Cueto ($22 million with a $5 million buyout) are very likely to be declined and create even more payroll flexibility. Needless to say, the Giants should be big spenders on the open market.
With Crawford’s contract set to expire, the Giants will have a large void to fill at shortstop. The longtime shortstop has been a steady and consistent presence at a premium position. There is always a chance that San Francisco would be interested in retaining the 34-year-old on a short-term deal. However, they could go in a different direction, and that is where the speculation connecting them to any of the shortstops listed above comes.
With that being said, the Giants have been stingy in handing out multi-year contracts since Farhan Zaidi took over as team president of baseball operations following the 2018 season. One-year deals are a great way to attract reclamation projects, but at some point, the Giants are going to have to make a longer-term move. Could it be for someone like Seager?
Next offseason is an opportune time to make a big splash, and if you connect the dots, the Giants are a sensible fit for any of the top free-agent shortstops. While next year’s class is expected to be extremely talented, it would not be surprising to see one or two of those names agree to long-term extensions before the season begins.
Nevertheless, the SF Giants should be big players regardless of position next winter as they will have a lot of holes to fill. The rumors connecting them to any of the names above will continue to be an underlying story as this season progresses.