The SF Giants went into the offseason with one obvious need in the starting rotation. They addressed that need with two veteran starters in Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling.
Projecting the 2023 SF Giants starting rotation
Manaea and Stripling agreed to identical contracts for two years and $25 million with an opt-out after the first season. Oddly, San Francisco has been one of the more aggressive teams in baseball with opt-outs this winter.
There are a few ways to look at this, but one way is that the Giants are trying to get players who are motivated to land another contract. Of course, it bears mentioning that while both Manaea and Stripling have had productive careers, they do not have the upside of Carlos Rodón.
Rodón signed a six-year, $162 million deal with the New York Yankees after one stellar season with San Francisco. The Giants have been reluctant to hand out long-term deals and that trend continued this offseason.
Nevertheless. the Giants have the makings of a quality rotation:
1. Logan Webb
2. Alex Cobb
3. Ross Stripling
4. Sean Manaea
5. Alex Wood/Anthony DeSclafani
San Francisco could quietly have a good 1-2-3 with Webb, Cobb and Stripling. Webb has quickly emerged as one of the best starters in the National League as he has posted a 2.96 ERA since the start of 2021. Cobb and Stripling are both coming off of solid seasons in which they recorded a 3.73 ERA and 3.01 ERA, respectively.
The Giants have some major question marks after that. Manaea is coming off the worst season of his seven-year career. The left-handed hurler tallied a 4.96 ERA across 30 appearances with the San Diego Padres. On a positive note, he has proven to be a durable arm, making at least 25 appearances in five of six full seasons.
Wood and DeSclafani battled injury, ineffectiveness, or some combination of both. Wood posted a 5.10 ERA but missed the final month of the season due to a shoulder injury, whereas DeSclafani made just five starts before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery.
The Giants recognize that there might be some limitations to DeSclafani's workload for 2023, so adding both Manaea and Stripling make sense. Fangraphs projects that he will only make 15 starts in 2023.
Also, Wood could transition to the bullpen if all of the other arms remain healthy. The veteran starter still does a lot of things that the Giants like such as recording good strikeout numbers, limiting walks, and keeping the ball on the ground. However, he does not offer a lot of length with his starts, which tends to be extra pressure on the bullpen.
The Giants have some depth options such as Sean Hjelle, Sam Long, and Jakob Junis in case multiple injuries occur. This year's rotation has some predictable performance with pitchers like Webb, Stripling, and Cobb. However, the unit, as a whole, remains high in injury risk. The rotation offers some upside, but it could be a case where the Giants are scrambling to find starts late in the season.