After suffering a tough loss in Game 5 of the NLDS to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the SF Giants now turn their attention to the offseason. With a handful of contracts coming off of the back, they will have plenty of money available to retool the roster.
SF Giants: Financial outlook for the upcoming offseason
The front office has, in essence, reached the blank slate roster that they seemingly sought when Farhan Zaidi took over as president of baseball operations in November of 2018. Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Tommy La Stella, and Jake McGee are the only players under contract for next season.
Of course, they hold team control for a number of other players including Logan Webb, Mike Yastrzemski, and Darin Ruf. There is no question that they will return next season as well. On top of this, the Giants hold team options for a handful of players including Buster Posey ($22 million), Johnny Cueto ($22 million), Wilmer Flores ($3.5 million) and José Álvarez ($1.5 million).
According to Spotrac, the Giants have roughly $138.5 million earmarked for next year's roster. This figure assumes that each player's team option is exercised and that every arbitration-eligible player is tendered a contract. Unfortunately, that assumption will not play out this offseason.
For instance, the Giants have a team option on Cueto for $22 million that they will almost certainly buy out for $5 million instead. In addition to this, they will likely non-tender Alex Dickerson (projected salary of $3.1 million) and Curt Casali (projected salary of $3.0 million) in favor of better value on the market.
John Brebbia is also eligible for arbitration. He did not have a strong season, registering a 5.89 ERA in 18.1 innings with the Giants. He returned from Tommy John surgery in June, so some struggles were to be expected. But, he did well to control the strike zone as he recorded 22 strikeouts against only four walks.
The right-handed hurler has a projected arbitration tag of $1.6 million, which is way too much given how he performed. That said, the Giants could non-tender him and bring him back with a lower guaranteed salary. Let's assume that he returns on a one-year contract for $1 million.
If the Giants make these four moves, then they will free up an additional $23.7 million, bringing the projected payroll to $114.8 million. The 2021 Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) or soft salary cap was set at $210 million, so the Giants would have about $95 million in available CBT space to spend. The CBT is likely to see a modest increase when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
We will not know that specific figure until a new CBA is established, but the current CBA is set to expire on December 1. This is all to say that the Giants will have plenty of financial flexibility available to retool a roster that won 107 games during the regular season. They will likely be more aggressive than most teams in free agency.