The Athletic published its offseason grades for every baseball team and the SF Giants were not viewed favorably. However, they can hang their hat on the fact that they did not have the worst grade in the division.
SF Giants receive second-worst offseason grade in NL West
The Athletic gave the Giants a C- grade, which is the same grade they assigned to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Colorado Rockies finished in the basement of the division with a D grade after making minimal moves.
On the other hand, The San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks led the way in the NL West as they both received B+ grades. The Padres retained a pair of key relievers in Nick Martinez and Robert Suarez while signing star shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
The Diamondbacks quietly had a strong offseason, adding Lourdes Gurriel Jr., top catching prosect Gabriel Molina, former AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, and veteran third baseman Evan Longoria.
Speaking of quiet, the Dodgers have been oddly quiet as they signed designated hitter J. D. Martinez while watching both Justin Turner and Trea Turner depart via free agency. I am sure that the Rockies made some moves as well but I am too tired to look it up.
The notable grade was the C- evaluation given to the Giants. They had a busy offseason as they added Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto, Ross Stripling, Sean Manaea, Tyler Rogers, and Luke Jackson.
This offseason was in sharp contrast to last offseason in that nearly every player they added last winter was coming off of a solid season. This winter, Stripling was the only new addition coming off of a solid season. The rest of the group either battled injuries, underperformed, or some mixture of both.
In fairness, the Giants had a lot of boxes to check off this winter and they did exactly that. Did they do enough to close the talent gap between the Padres and the Dodgers? That is certainly up for debate. San Francisco had the payroll flexibility to land multiple star players but ended up pursuing a low-risk approach, instead.
This strategy is not too different from what we have seen since Farhan Zaidi took over as president of baseball operations in November of 2018.
Many of the grades that were given make plenty of sense. You could see what a team did and understand why they received the grade they earned. The evaluation is clear cut. However, the Giants are in an odd position in that they could have received a wide range of grades depending on the evaluator.
They were much more active than most teams in baseball. And, they needed to be after finishing last season with a disappointing 81-81 record. They made some moves like signing Conforto, which could pay dividends quickly.
However, it is tough to assess because the roster does not appear appreciably better. You could make the case that they improved the lineup with Conforto and Haniger while bolstering left field defense by moving Joc Pederson to DH. You could also make the case that Rogers and Jackson should help a bullpen that was one of the worst last year.
However, the rotation likely will take a hit after Carlos Rodón signed a six-year, $162 million deal with the New York Yankees. It feels like the team's production was reallocated from the rotation to other areas of the roster.
So, are the Giants better than they were at the end of last season? You could make the case that they improved in a couple of areas whereas they might take a step back in other areas. Plus, they really did not do enough to address a defense that was one of the worst in baseball last year.
While a C- grade seems a bit harsh, it does not feel totally inaccurate. On paper, the Giants were active, but targeted several buy-low players who were coming off of down or injury-plagued seasons. These moves could pay off, but a lot has to go right for that to happen.