The SF Giants are clearly in the market for a top-tier starting pitcher this offseason. They have been linked to stars such as Blake Snell and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. They could also be a sensible fit for recently non-tendered star Brandon Woodruff.
SF Giants: Pros and cons of making Tyler Glasnow a top pitching target this offseason
However, another ace-level pitcher has recently become available to MLB teams via trade: Tampa Bay Rays star Tyler Glasnow. Does Glasnow offer any advantages over signing one of the aforementioned free agents? Does trading for a star pitcher make sense when San Fransisco could simply sign one outright? And where does Glasnow's upside fit among Snell, Yamamoto, and Woodruff? Let's discuss!
What is the Downside to Signing a Free Agent?
While each of the options listed above has an elite upside, each in the free agency trio also carries a major drawback or concern. Snell, for instance, is the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. But, he is also coming off a season in which he leads the league in walks. He also has a track record of rarely pitching deep into games.
Would Snell be an exciting offseason addition? Without question! However, one cannot help by wondering if a contract in the 6-7 year and $180-$200 range might leave a franchise with some level of buyer's remourse.
On the other hand, Yamamoto is an entirely different case study. He is much younger, only 25 years old, and carries a skillset that has most of the front offices in baseball salivating. Yet, he has no proven track record in Major League Baseball. When you pair the lack of a track record with the fact that Yamamoto is trending toward a 9-10-year contract in the $225 million range, it is easy to see how things could go south.
Lastly, we have Woodruff. The Brewers ace is quite comparable to Glasnow when healthy. Unfortunately, he is currently far from good health. A shoulder injury is expected to keep the ace on the sidelines for most, if not all, of the 2024 season. This means that the team that signs him is doing so with 2025 in mind.
This could be a shrewd sign and stash play. However, San Fransisco could use a major boost to their starting rotation in 2024.
While any of these would be acceptable options, each also comes with a notable degree of risk. This further opens the door for a trade for Tyler Glasnow.