Could SF Giants veteran lefty pitcher opt out of his contract?

SF Giants pitcher Sean Manaea will likely opt out of his deal this off-season.
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

With Sean Manaea’s performance to end the 2023 season, the SF Giants should expect the lefty to opt out of his deal this off-season. The veteran pitcher signed a two-year, $25 million deal, which included an opt-out clause after the first season.

Could SF Giants veteran lefty pitcher opt out of his contract?

Last offseason, the SF Giants added Manaea thinking he could be the latest reclamation project they could turn into a premier starter. Unfortunately, it did not quite work out that way. 

Manaea struggled mightily at the beginning of the year, which relegated him to the bullpen for some time. In the bullpen, Manaea was able to find his form again although it did seem to come in fits and starts. 

By the end of the year, he had established himself as a solid part of the rotation. The lefty pitcher tallied a 2.67 ERA across his final five appearances with the Giants down the stretch. Manaea was not the most consistent pitcher in 2023, but recency bias could work in his favor as he considers his next move.

The Giants signed Manaea and Ross Stripling to the same kind of deal they gave to Carlos Rodón in which there was a player option for the second year. Rodón exercised that option last year and got a big deal from the Yankees which, so far, hasn’t exactly planned out. 

Manaea did not have anywhere close to the kind of year that Rodón had. But he still showed promise. Enough promise to where he may decide to try his chances on the free agent market. 

It is also possible that Manaea may not get a ton more money by choosing free agency, but he could get a multi-year deal with more guaranteed money. This feels like the most likely outcome as he did not pitch well enough to earn a bump from his $12.5 million AAV, but he could net some more guaranteed money by securing another year.

Before you think Manaea may leave because he is disgruntled over his bullpen usage, he actually argued that his time in the bullpen helped him. 

Ultimately, I think what may drive Manaea away is the fact that the Giants still do have a lot of starters. You can write Logan Webb and Alex Cobb in with pen, and probably Kyle Harrison with pencil. Ross Stripling has said he will opt-in. And the Giants still have the promising arms of Keaton Winn and Tristan Beck who they will want to give a chance.

Manaea may look at this and see a scenario where he is the odd man out and is back in the bullpen when he feels he is good enough to be starting. 

Of course, only time will tell whether Manaea will decide to opt out or not. Yet, given the plethora of staffing options that the Giants have, it may benefit both parties of Manaea decides to opt out this off-season.