The official beginning of the offseason can be a busy time with players electing free agency as well as teams considering options and qualifying offers. One minor detail that needs to be considered for the SF Giants is whether to retain the players currently on the injured list.
SF Giants have decision to make with players currently on the 60-day IL
There is no 60-day injured list in the offseason. Those players need to be activated if they are under contract or team control. In terms of the order of operations, players elect free agency and options are finalized before players on the 60-day injured list need to be activated.
The Giants finished the year with five players on the 60-day injured list. This includes Roberto Pérez, Anthony DeSclafani, Thomas Szapucki, Mark Mathias, and Cole Waites.
Pérez is among the seven Giants players set to become free agents this winter. Plus, Sean Manaea, Michael Conforto, and Ross Stripling have opt-out clauses to consider. Stripling has confirmed that he will opt into the final year of his two-year, $25 million pact. Manaea and Conforto remain unknown for now.
So, the Giants currently have a full 40-man roster. Six players will elect free agency, bringing the number down to 34 players. As mentioned above, Pérez does not count against the 40-man roster because he is on the 60-day injured list and will become a free agent anyway.
The Giants will need to activate the four remaining players back to the 40-man roster, putting the total number back up to 38 players. This includes DeSclafani, Szapucki, Mathias and Waites. One way or the other, DeSclafani is under contract through next season and it does not sound as if the front office is ready to cut ties yet despite two disappointing seasons.
That leaves Szapucki, Mathias, and Waites. Szapucki underwent Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) surgery this past season and little has been heard about his status. Waites is expected to miss most of next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and Mathias suffered a shoulder strain that knocked him out for the remainder of the year.
The Giants do have a decision to make with these three. Do they keep them on the roster or place them on waivers? The front office has been pretty aggressive in the past with the back-end churning on the 40-man roster.
They do like Waites considering that his fastball sits in the high 90's and he pairs it with a good slider. The control needs to be refined. So, they could keep him on the 40-man roster this winter and then clear that spot once spring training begins.
On the other hand, they have a decision to make on Szapucki and Mathias. Szapucki had a really impressive finish to the 2022 season with the Giants and they had hoped that he would be an important part of their bullpen this year. However, there have been few updates regarding his status since the start of the season.
Mathias was added at the trade deadline along with A.J. Pollock in an ill-fated move with the Seattle Mariners. He had been on the waiver wire once this year but hits for a little power and has experience at multiple positions. It feels like he might have a better chance with another club.
These will be decisions the Giants need to consider. Perhaps, not all at once, but they will as the winter progresses and roster spots become limited.