The SF Giants focused primarily on rebuilding the rotation in free agency by adding three key starters. However, it is clear that the front office still has plenty of work to do.
Projecting the SF Giants starting rotation for 2022
Anthony DeSclafani was the first domino to fall for the rotation by signing a three-year, $36 million deal in November. At the time, he joined Logan Webb as the only rotation arms penciled in for next year.
DeSclafani's deal was a nice reward after a strong season in which he registered a 3.17 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.09 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, and a 3.62 SO/W ratio across 167.1 frames with the Giants last year. The right-handed hurler was a workhouse as he made 31 starts, which was the second-most starts made be a Giants pitcher in 2021 (Kevin Gausman - 33 starts)
Shortly thereafter, Alex Wood (two years, $25 million) and Alex Cobb (two years, $20 million) finalized deals with the Giants. For Wood, it was a return to familiar territory as he posted a 3.83 ERA in 26 starts with the Giants in 2021.
Cobb was traded to the Los Angeles Angels prior to the 2021 season and rebounded nicely after a disastrous, three-run year run with the Baltimore Orioles. He produced a strong 3.76 ERA with Los Angeles, but he only made 18 starts.
It is fair to suggest that both Wood and Cobb have durability concerns and the Giants rotation will have to account for that. However, as a thought exercise, let's use average number of starts made for each pitcher over the past three seasons:
Logan Webb: 25 starts
Anthony DeSclafani: 27 starts
Alex Wood: 13 starts
Alex Cobb: 16 starts
Webb's workload includes the starts he made in the minors in 2019. Similarly, each player's workload was multiplied by 2.7 in 2020 to approximate the number of starts they might have made in a normal, 162-game season. That approach has its flaws but it helps to paint a picture.
That picture is saying that if we use each pitcher's starts over the past three seasons, and apply that number to the 2022 season, then the Giants have filled about 81 starts with 81 games left to fill. That is a rather large number for the front office.
Some of those starts will come from the depth on the 40-man roster including starters such as Tyler Beede, Sammy Long, and Sean Hjelle. That said, the Giants are not the type of team to just hand a rotation spot to an unproven arm. Those pitchers will have to earn their starts.
The Giants could do a couple of bullpen games as well just as they did in 2021. The point is, the Giants still have a lot of work to do on the rotation. When a new CBA is ratified, the front office will likely target multiple starters on guaranteed contracts. One could be a notable name, whereas another might be a reclamation project.
However, the Giants need to add another workhouse starter and complement that with more depth on the 40-man roster. The front office did a lot of legwork before the CBA expired, but it is evident that plenty of work still needs to be done.