The SF Giants roster is pretty fungible in the sense that they can look to upgrade the roster in just about any area even in roles that are currently held by established players. This means that there are a lot of fits in free agency, but there are a few players that they should avoid as well.
3 free agents that the SF Giants should absolutely avoid
The Giants definitely need to add to the starting rotation, bullpen, outfield, and infield. How they do that will be interesting to watch. Perhaps, they target a shortstop who plays a different position in 2023 as Brandon Crawford will be in the final year of his two-year, $32 million extension. Maybe they add an outfielder (Hello, Aaron Judge) that allows them to trade one of the incumbents.
Maybe they add multiple starting pitchers, so that left-handed hurler Alex Wood can transition to the bullpen. There are countless angles that the front office can pursue. However, if they sign a player to a long-term deal, it needs to be the right fit. They cannot miss.
There are plenty of great fits like Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, or Brandon Nimmo. But, how about the ones that they should avoid?
1. Shortstop Dansby Swanson
I am not here to say that signing Dansby Swanson would be a bad idea. I will say that I think the cost will outweigh his value. I do not think that the Giants can go wrong with Turner, Correa, or Xander Bogaerts, but I do think they can go wrong with Swanson.
The 28-year-old infielder is a free agent for the first time in his career and he is coming off of a season in which he slashed .277/.329/.447 (115 OPS+) with 25 home runs, 96 RBI, and 99 runs in 696 plate appearances. This includes a 7.0 percent walk rate against a 26.2 percent strikeout rate.
Swanson was fantastic with the glove at shortstop as he was worth +9 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and +20 Outs Above Average (OAA). He earned his first NL All-Star bid while taking home the NL Gold Glove award at shortstop.
The sterling defense has been a trend throughout his career, so that is something I would expect to continue into his next contract. He derives a lot of value with the glove.
According to Baseball-Reference, he was worth 5.7 bWAR last year, which is a career-high by a huge margin. His previous high was 2.8 bWAR in 2020.
These are all encouraging trends, but I am typically skeptical when a player has a career year in his walk season. That is the case with Swanson. He set career highs in RBI (99), runs (96) and OPS+ (115). He was just two home runs shy of his career best of 27.
In a very large sample of six seasons before 2022, the right-handed bat tallied a 90 OPS+, meaning that he was 10 percent below league average offensively. Plus, his walk rates have declined in each of the last four seasons, so much of his offensive value will have to come by hitting for power. As we have seen with a lot of right-handed bats, hitting for power is a tough task when you play half of your games at Oracle Park.
I think he can be a good value but MLB Trade Rumors is predicting a seven-year, $154 million contract, which is a lot for a player who has not consistently been a middle-of-the-order threat.