SF Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler met with members of the media to discuss the season as well as plans for the offseason. In this meeting, Zaidi identified starting pitching as the top priority with a preference for bringing back several key members of the 2021 rotation.
SF Giants: Highest offseason priority is starting pitching
This might be easier said than done as Kevin Gausman, Alex Wood, and Anthony DeSclafani are all set to hit the open market. On top of this, Johnny Cueto's $22 million team option for 2022 will almost certainly be bought out for $5 million.
That leaves Logan Webb as the lone rotation incumbent under team control for next season. The Giants also have Sammy Long on the 40-man roster as well as Sean Hjelle and Tristan Beck waiting in the wings, but none of those three options carry a lot of experience.
It was not surprising to hear the front office recognize that the rotation needs to be rebuilt on the fly again. The Giants will have in the neighborhood of $95 million to spend before brushing up against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT), so they will have the financial wherewithal to make significant additions to a team that won 107 games in the regular season.
This sounds like a tall order, but the Giants had to rebuild the rotation just last offseason. Webb and Cueto were the only rotation incumbents, but they brought back Gausman while signing Wood, DeSclafani, and Aaron Sanchez to one-year deals.
Gausman and DeSclafani were workhorses for the Giants this past season, so reeling them back will cost quite a bit. That said, the front office has been aggressive in handing out pillow contracts in the hopes of helping pitchers re-establish value.
They have done it with a handful of pitchers since the new front office took over including both Gausman and DeSclafani. That reputation is one that will give them a competitive advantage in free agency.
Some pitchers who might be in the market for a pillow contract include Drew Smyly, Dylan Bundy, Noah Syndergaard, and Michael Lorenzen. Each pitcher has had some level of success in the past while battling injuries or ineffectiveness in 2021. It will likely be a combination of these types of contracts and one or two higher-end pitchers.
The Giants will have their work cut out for them this winter as they look to rebuild the rotation while balancing continuity and potentially bringing in some new blood. The front office seems perfectly comfortable with this challenge and they will have the money to spend. That said, it is going to be tough to recreate the production of this year's rotation.