Giants Offseason Primer: Free Agents, Payroll, Offseason Needs

San Francisco Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi
San Francisco Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi / Victor Decolongon/GettyImages

Despite a disappointing end to the regular season, the San Francisco Giants have already become one of the more interesting teams to watch going into the offseason. They fired Gabe Kapler with three games left in the season and worked impressively quickly to find his replacement in division rival manager Bob Melvin, who is leaving San Diego amidst a public relations crisis for the Padres.

There's a lot to look forward to for the Giants next season given the managerial shake up and a lot of potential for changes on both sides of the plate. From payroll to free agents to Rule 5 draftees, here are the basics on the Giants' outlook this offseason.

SF Giants projected payroll for 2024

Estimated 2024 Payroll: $158,569,963
Estimated 2024 Luxury Tax Payroll: $167,236,666

The Giants are solidly middle of the pack spenders, according to Spotrac's 2024 payroll tracker, but they do have six players in arbitration and some free agents they'll look to re-sign this offseason, which will definitely send the numbers up prior to April. The almost certain loss of $20 million man Joc Pederson will free up a solid chunk of San Francisco's budget to offer those who will be expecting a raise.

MLB's luxury tax ceiling this year is $237 million, which the Giants haven't broken through since the luxury tax ceiling was implemented and, unless they sign Shohei Ohtani, shouldn't expect to do so going into 2024 given the lack of free agents that will command the amount of salary needed to get there.

SF Giants free agents

Joc Pederson
Brandon Crawford
Alex Wood
Jakob Junis
Roberto Perez
John Brebbia
Bryce Johnson
Joe Ross

Michael Conforto (player option)
Ross Stripling (player option)
Sean Manaea (player option)
Alex Cobb (club option)

There's already been a lot of speculation on which free agents will leave San Francisco and which might stay, and the prevailing wisdom is that Joc Pederson is out, John Brebbia is in, Brandon Crawford is probably out, and Jakob Junis is probably in. Alex Cobb's club option is interesting to think about, especially as it was just announced that Cobb will miss six months due to hip surgery. Conforto, Stripling, and Manaea's future with the Giants is more nebulous, with some early reports expecting Conforto's departure.

SF Giants players eligible for arbitration

JD Davis
Mike Yastrzemski
Thairo Estrada
Austin Slater
LaMonte Wade Jr.
Tyler Rogers

Four out of the six Giants eligible for arbitration are in their second, third, or fourth years of Super 2 arb, which entitles them to arbitration eligibility with only two years in MLB instead of three, based on exceptional service time. Davis, Yastrzemski, Estrada, and Slater, should expect considerable raises next season. Estrada, as the Giants top position player in fWAR (3.9), will be a top concern as a player to keep at all costs for the foreseeable future. Rogers, who is in year two of standard arbitration, should also be retained pretty cheaply for next year and is a core bullpen arm.

SF Giants offseason needs

With the arrival of new manager Bob Melvin, the Giants should anticipate both clubhouse and on field changes as the team adapts to a new style of management. It'll be up to Melvin to decide how to rework the starting rotation, given Cobb's injury, the threat of Manaea's departure, and the expectation for two talented but still mostly untested top prospects in Keaton Winn and Kyle Harrison to get more playing time. They aren't the only ones; No. 1 Giants prospect Marco Luciano should expect to get the start at short much more in 2024 if Brandon Crawford leaves.

Then, there's the question on everyone's mind: will the Giants get Shohei Ohtani? If what little is known about Ohtani's thought process during his free agency is true, the Giants should be a top contender. They're a West Coast team with a great history and good potential, and if Joc Pederson leaves he could slot in easily as DH. His presence alone would also drive attendance to a stadium that's experienced a dip this year despite higher attendance across baseball.

SF Giants players eligible for the Rule 5 draft of note

Grant McCray
Aeverson Arteaga
Jairo Pomares
Trevor McDonald
Onil Perez
Adrian Sugastey
Erik Miller

Seven Giants prospects ranked in MLB Pipeline's top 30 for the franchise are eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year. The Rule 5 draft opens to players who have been in the minor leagues for 4-5 seasons and aren't on an MLB 40-man roster, allowing potentially stockpiled players to move around the league and have more opportunities to play.

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