The SF Giants hired Farhan Zaidi as team president of baseball operations in November of 2018, meaning that he is finishing his fourth season with the organization. There have been a lot of positives but some negatives as well as the Giants are currently sitting in fourth place in the NL West. What are some of the moves that have led the Giants to this point?
SF Giants: 3 worst signings of the Farhan Zaidi era
The front office has certainly made some good moves such as signing Joc Pederson and Carlos Rodón this past offseason as well as bringing in Kevin Gausman a couple of offseasons ago. However, no front office bats 1.000 in free agency and there have been some misses along the way.
The good news is that the Giants have been relatively cautious with spending in free agency. One of the criticisms from fans is that the Giants are not spending enough, but on the other side of that token is that they have not handed out any albatross contracts, either.
The worst contracts that this front office has handed out is usually shorter in terms of length and not prohibitive in terms of payroll. The Giants' spending habits could change this offseason as the front office seems poised to spend.
1. Infielder Tommy La Stella (3 years, $18.75 million)
The worst contract that the current regime has handed out is likely not up for debate. I should note that this is due to how Tommy La Stella has performed, and not how it was perceived at the time of the signing. When the veteran infielder inked a three-year, $18.75 million pact prior to the 2020 season, the move was well-received.
It just has not played out that way, though. La Stella has struggled mightily in his first two seasons with the Giants. With San Francisco, the left-handed bat has registered a .245/.297/.380 line (86 wRC+) with nine home runs, 41 RBI, and 43 runs in 437 plate appearances. This includes a 6.6 percent walk rate against a 12.8 percent strikeout rate.
Earlier in his career, La Stella posted walk rates above 10 percent, but that has not translated since putting on a Giants uniform.
The Giants envisioned that they could pencil the 33-year-old atop the lineup against right-handed pitching, but La Stella has tallied a 91 wRC+ in two seasons with the Giants. To put it differently, he has not fulfilled the role that they had hoped.
Some of his struggles could be due to injury. La Stella battled a hamstring strain in 2021 and had Achilles surgery last offseason. Recovering from surgery has been slower than expected as he has appeared in only 76 innings in the field this year.
The Giants will have a decision to make on La Stella. He is under contract for $11.5 million next season ($6.25 million cap hit) but the Giants need to get more production out of his role. It is very possible that they move from the nine-year veteran this offseason.