SF Giants: Grading Farhan Zaidi's Free Agent Strategy

MLB free agency is perhaps the most influential changing of hands and shuffling of cards that occurs in the MLB calendar. This places a massive emphasis on making prudent and intelligent signings that help your team in the short and long term. There is no doubt that the most recent free agent signings by Farhan Zaidi and the SF Giants front office have been, to put it kindly, a mixed bag. Is this one year a continuance of a pattern or a blip on the radar? Today, we will be grading Farhan Zaidi's free agent strategy since his tenure began as the head of the proverbial table. The methodology is simple. Farhan Zaidi was hired on November 6th, 2018 therefore the 18-19 off-season will be disregarded as he was not hired until after free agency had begun. Furthermore, extensions and minor league contracts will not affect the grading while qualifying offers will be counted as one-year contracts.
San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves
San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves / Alex Slitz/GettyImages
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Grading Farhan Zaidi's Free Agent Strategy

2020-2021 FA Class

Kevin Gausman: 1 yr, $18.5 million. 192 IP, 2.81 ERA, 147 ERA+, 5.2 bWAR. Signed 5 yr, $110 million deal with Toronto

Jose Alvarez: 1 yr $1.15 million with $1.5 million option for 2022. 2021 64.2 IP, 2.37 ERA, 175 ERA+, 1.2 bWAR. Option was exercised. 2022 15.1 IP, 5.28 ERA, 76 ERA+, -.1 bWAR. Released during the 2022 season.

Jake McGee: 2 yr, $5 million. 2021 59.2 IP, 2.72 ERA, 153 ERA+, 1.0 bWAR. 2022 21.1 IP, 7.17 ERA, 56 ERA+, -.8 bWAR. Released on July 13th, 2022.

Tommy La Stella: 3 yr $18.75 million. 2021 76 G, .250/.308/.405, 92 OPS +, .3 bWAR. 2022 60 G, .239/.282/.350, 79 OPS+, -.7 bWAR. DFA'd prior to the final year of the contract.

Alex Wood: 1 yr $3 million. 2021 136.2 IP, 3.83 ERA, 108 ERA+, 1.7 bWAR. Given 2 year contract in the 2021-2022 off-season.

Curt Casali: 1 yr $1.5 million. 2021 77 G, .210/.313/.350, 81 OPS+, .7 bWAR. Retained through arbitration for 2022. 2022, 41 G, .231/.325/.370, 98 OPS+, 1.1 bWAR. Traded to Seattle with Matthew Boyd for Michael Stryffeler and Andy Thomas on August 2nd.

John Brebbia: 1 yr $800k. 2021 18.1 IP, 5.89 ERA, 71 ERA+, -.2 bWAR. Retained through arbitration for 2022. 2022 68 IP, 3.18 ERA, 124 ERA+, 1.6 bWAR. Retained through arbitration for 2023. 2023 32 IP, 3.09 ERA, 139 ERA+, .8 bWAR.

Anthony DeSclafani: 1 yr $6 million. 2021 167.2 IP, 3.17 ERA, 130 ERA+, 4.3 bWAR. Signed 3 yr, $36 million contract in 2021-2022 off-season.

Matt Wisler: 1 yr $1.15 million. 2021 19.1 IP, 6.05 ERA, 69 ERA+, -.3 bWAR. Traded to Tampa Bay for Michael Plassmeyer on June 11th.

Summary: The bats from this class are tough to look at. Curt Casali was a valuable backup to Buster Posey in 2021 and vastly outperformed his true talent in 2022 but Tommy La Stella ruins all of that.

La Stella never got past several nagging injuries and underwhelming performance and the Giants ate the final year of his contract. No doubt, Tommy was a crash-and-burn which hurts considering the size of the deal. The pitching also had its ups and downs. John Brebbia had a tough 2021 season before bouncing back in each of the last two season.

Jake McGee and Jose Alvarez both crushed the first year of the deals becoming reliable bullpen arms but both fell apart in year two and neither made it to the end of the season.

Yet, Kevin Gausman proved he was a true ace while Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani both pitched brilliantly as the Giants finished 2nd in ERA in the NL for the 2021 season. It should be noted that the extension of both DeSclafani and Wood have been disasters but their initial contracts were brilliant. While the Giants got some great pitching out of this deal the crash and burn of the relievers in year two of their deals and the La Stella contract means this was a pretty bland free-agent class.

Grade: C-