The offseason is underway for the SF Giants and they have already made their first big move of the winter. Soon enough, the Giants will need to determine what they will do with all of their arbitration-eligible players and not everyone is going to return.
3 potential non-tender candidates for the SF Giants
MLB Trade Rumors released its projected salaries for arbitration-eligible players and these figures tend to hold a lot of weight while being really accurate. It indicates that the Giants will have 13 arbitration-eligible players to make a decision on, but Cots suggests that catcher Austin Wynns and Alex Young will be eligible for arbitration this winter. This would bring the total number of arbitration-eligible players for the Giants to 15.
They are not going to keep all 15 of those players, especially after a disappointing season in which the team finished with a 81-81 record. Those changes usually begin by trimming the roster in preparation for free agency.
Players are typically eligible for arbitration in the second-half of their rookie contract and will receive raises through the process if they are tendered a contract. The player's representatives will suggest that they are worth one dollar figure, whereas the team will suggest a different, lower dollar figure. The two parties will usually come to an agreement at the midpoint.
With that being said, it is very much a "what have you done for me lately" process, meaning that those players need to perform to be tendered a contract.
1. Reliever Zack Littell
Of the 13 Giants players listed by MLB Trade Rumors, and 15 players in total, Zack Littell is the most obvious non-tender candidate. That is often the case with middle relievers. You either perform or the team will find someone else who does.
Littell was a very effective bullpen arm last season as he registered a 2.92 ERA in 39 appearances for a Giants team that won 107 games. However, like this year's team, Littell's performance did not carry over into 2022.
The right-handed hurler tallied a 5.08 ERA, 4.65 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, and a 3.00 SO/W ratio across 44.1 innings for the Giants this year. He does not have overpowering stuff and he left too many pitches in the strike zone.
Plus, I would be remiss if I did not mention the heated exchange Littell had with Giants manager Gabe Kapler last month. It is great that he showed a lot of fire on the mound, but the optics of it were not great given his struggles this year.
MLB Trade Rumors is predicting that the right-handed hurler would make $900,000 in his first trip through arbitration. Littell will be out of options in 2023, so he does not have the added appeal of roster flexibility that the front office likes. They will be able to find similar value either in the minors or on a non-guaranteed deal.