The offseason is officially underway after the Texas Rangers clinched their first World Series title in franchise history. The first order of business that follows is free agency. For the SF Giants, seven players from the 2023 season, including a franchise icon, officially became free agents on Thursday.
Franchise icon among 7 SF Giants players to elect free agency
Brandon Crawford is the most notable from the group given his longstanding ties to the organization. He played his final game with San Francisco at the beginning of October but has been mum about his future plans since then.
Could a reunion be in order? It seemed like Farhan Zaidi poured cold water on that idea right away, admitting that it would be a challenging fit in his end-of-the-year press conference. This will be the first time in Crawford's career that he hits free agency.
The remaining group includes Joc Pederson, Alex Wood, Roberto Pérez, John Brebbia, Scott Alexander, and Jakob Junis. You could make a case that one or two from this group could return for next season, but it is possible that all will be with different teams by the team spring training rolls around.
Pederson is coming off of a disappointing 2023 campaign in which he posted a .763 OPS with 15 home runs in 425 plate appearances. He still tallied a solid .348 on-base percentage and consistently made quality contact, but the power numbers declined from the prior season.
On the other hand, Wood just completed a two-year, $25 million pact that had more lows than highs. The veteran pitcher struggled to the tune of a 4.33 ERA in 29 outings last year while seemingly not adjusting well to a role out of the bullpen. I would be surprised if either Wood or Pederson return next season.
There is a case to be made for Pérez, Alexander, or Brebbia returning next season, but it is not a strong case. Pérez could compete for a spot in camp as he did last year. Brebbia recorded a career-high with an 11.0 K/9 rate in 2023 while missing part of the season, whereas Alexander induced a groundball in 60.7 percent of batted ball events.
Junis is the only one from the bunch really coming off of a nice season. The right-handed pitcher posted a 3.87 ERA with a 4.57 SO/W ratio across 86 innings with the Giants this past season. He can start. He can come out of the bullpen. He can be a bulking innings arm. There should be a modest market for his services this winter, but likely with a team that offers a better chance to start.