The offseason is not officially over, but the SF Giants have likely done most of the heavy lifting at this point. How the Giants have fared this winter is one of those questions that can have a variety of responses and I am not sure if any of those responses are necessarily wrong.
Have the SF Giants had a successful offseason so far?
On one hand, the Giants had bolstered certain areas of the roster by signing Ross Stripling, Sean Manaea, Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto, Joc Pederson, and Taylor Rogers. With the addition of Haniger and Conforto, the lineup likely has more length and depth to it.
The first five or six hitters will make pitchers work, whereas the bottom of the lineup has some home run upside that not every lineup has. San Francisco has a lot of good role players, but it is not a lineup where all the pieces fit well.
The outfield, in particular, has more offensive upside. And, the outfield defense will likely improve assuming that Pederson shifts to the DH. However, the defense, as a whole, still leaves a lot to be desired and there are few options remaining in free agency. However, they can address that through the trade market.
The starting rotation has quality depth to it. Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, and Ross Stripling have the upside to quietly be a strong 1-2-3. They are banking on one or two of Sean Manaea, Anthomy DeSclafani, and Alex Wood to rebound. If that happens, San Francisco has the makings of a solid rotation.
However, it will likely not be as strong as the 2022 rotation, which featured Webb, Cobb, and Carlos Rodón. Rodón departed via free agency to sign with the New York Yankees. The dropoff from Rodón to Stripling is considerable, but the latter is coming off of a season in which he posted a 3.01 ERA in 32 appearances. Stripling is not Rodón, but he can still be a very effective pitcher.
Lastly, there is the bullpen, which will remain the most fluid part of the roster. Taylor Rogers is coming off of a down season, but the Giants believe that he is a better pitcher than his overall numbers would indicate. The front office will likely look for value deals to complement the bullpen by bringing in veteran pitchers on minor league deals with camp invites.
So, in a sense, the Giants checked off a lot of boxes this winter. On the other hand, the 2023 roster is projected to be a quality one but without much impact talent. The Giants aimed high this offseason by targeting Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa in free agency, not landing either for different reasons. The front office and ownership set some lofty expectations and did not necessarily deliver on those, but they made good efforts in both cases.
They also watched as one of the better pitchers in Rodón departed without expressing much interest in retaining the lefty. This is the second straight offseason in which San Francisco watched as an incumbent pitcher departed.
With the moves that the Giants have made, they have reallocated performance to different areas of the roster. The rotation might be weaker compared to 2022, but the lineup should be improved while the defense is modestly better.
Is this team radically better or worse than last year's team, which finished with an 81-81 record? That is tough to say. On paper, it feels like they might be a couple of games better assuming good health.
Though, it is difficult to ignore that the teams who finished ahead of them like the San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets have improved as well. The path to a playoff spot, and I should add that it is way too early to even mention it, is not clear.
It will likely take some abnormal performances from the roster while other teams underperform due to injury or regression. Can the former happen? Absolutely. Players like Conforto, Manaea, Stripling, and Haniger have opt-outs in their contracts, so they will be motivated to try and earn one more large payday. It will take a lot to go right for the Giants to supplant some of the teams in front of them, but the games still need to be played.
So, have the Giants had a good offseason? There is no clear answer. In a vacuum, they have made some moves with nice upside, but can they carry them from an 81-win team to a 90-win team? That remains to be seen.