The SF Giants will have one void in the pitcher staff to fill this winter. According to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, left-handed hurler Sean Manaea has decided to opt out of the second year of his two-year, $25 million pact.
Left-handed hurler officially opts out of deal with SF Giants
On Sunday, we looked at how Andrew Heaney's decision to exercise his player option for 2024 might influence Manaea's decision. They had similar numbers last season and both could have likely earned more guaranteed money in free agency.
For Heaney, the chance to return to a team that just won the World Series was likely an important factor. However, Manaea is betting on himself to earn more than $12.5 million in free agency and he will likely win that bet.
Things did not go well for Manaea to start the season. In the first half of the year, he posted a 5.49 ERA in 57.1 innings. This included being relegated to the bullpen and being used in non-leverage situations.
However, his numbers began to trend upward in the second half of the year as he tallied a 3.43 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and a 2.95 SO/W ratio across 60.1 innings. Interestingly, he went 20 straight outings without allowing a home run in the middle of the season. That rate is not sustainable, but his second-half numbers certainly benefitted from it.
The eight-year veteran returned to the rotation late in the season and he provided a boost to a group that really struggled with stability outside of Logan Webb and Alex Cobb. In five September appearances, including four starts, Manaea recorded a 2.67 ERA with 19 strikeouts against two walks across 27 innings.
It would have been interesting to see how the rotation would have looked had he returned to it sooner, but that is a moot point now. The Giants will have a void to fill and Manaea's decision to opt out does give them more flexibility to upgrade the rotation.
As currently constructed, they have Webb, Kyle Harrison, Ross Stripling, Anthony DeSclafani, Keaton Winn and Tristan Beck in the mix for the rotation with Cobb beginning next year on the shelf. They will be in the market for a frontline starter.
Will Manaea return to the Giants next season? There will be plenty of familiarity with Farhan Zaidi and Bob Melvin leading the way. However, Manaea does not necessarily fit the description of a frontline starter, so he will likely look to land elsewhere.