The offseason is officially underway as nine SF Giants players elected free agency on Thursday including Kevin Gausman and Kris Bryant. On top of this, the Giants declined Johnny Cueto's option for 2022, and Buster Posey announced his retirement (frown face).
SF Giants: Nine players elect free agency
With the 40-man roster unusually light, the Giants were active on the waiver wire on Friday, making three claims including two pitchers and one outfielder. Along with Gausman and Bryant, Tyler Chatwood, Anthony DeSclafani, Scott Kazmir, Tony Watson, Alex Wood, Brandon Belt, and Donovan Solano are all set to hit the open market.
This is part of the normal roster landscaping that takes place each offseason as the contracts for each of the nine players expired.
Given how well the Giants performed in 2021, there is an urge to bring the band back together again but that is unlikely to happen as a handful of their free agents are set to earn lucrative, multi-year contracts.
The Giants will gain some clarity on Belt and DeSclafani on Sunday as it is the deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers, which is set at $18.4 million for 2022. Gausman and Bryant are not eligible to receive a qualifying offer as the former received one last offseason whereas the latter cannot receive one given that he was traded midseason.
The front office has indicated that starting pitching will be a priority this offseason with Logan Webb being the only pitcher from the 2021 rotation under team control for next season. If DeSclafani accepts a qualifying offer, that would quickly plug one hole but that seems unlikely as he is set to score a nice payday in free agency.
Interestingly, the Giants indicated that they will not build their offseason strategy around re-signing Kris Bryant given that his agent, Scott Boras, tends to wait out the offseason in the hopes of landing the most lucrative deal available. The Giants have other priorities to pursue before they return to Bryant.
With that being said, I wonder if there might be more motivation to bring him back given Buster Posey's retirement. The Giants have a nice core but they have the financial flexibility to rebuild the rotation and retain Bryant now. Of course, there are other options out there as well.
The Giants have a lot of work to do as several key contributors from the 2021 season have officially become free agents. A few might return but they will also try to mix in some new blood as well.