The SF Giants added young talent to the roster for the first time in over a decade this year. They fell well short of the playoff race, but that youth movement will continue into next year. Team president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi reiterated on Monday that the organization is committed to giving Marco Luciano the "chance to be the everyday guy next year."
SF Giants want to give top infield prospect "chance to be everyday guy next year"
In that same end-of-the-year press conference, Zaidi admitted that bringing back Brandon Crawford would be a challenging fit. The 13-year veteran is a free agent for the first time in his career and has not tipped his hand as to what his plans are next.
Zaidi stopped short of saying that the organization would be moving forward without Crawford, but that was the general sense. On the final game of the season, Luciano replaced Crawford in the ninth inning to allow the Giants veteran shortstop the chance to walk off of the field one more time to a standing ovation. That move was more than just symbolic as it appears that Luciano has an inside track for the starting gig next season.
The Giants have a lot of needs to address this winter and shortstop is near the top of the priority list. Filling that need internally makes sense given Luciano's prospect status and the fact that free agency just does have not a ton of serviceable options at the moment. That said, the Giants should still find a way to add more depth to the position.
Shortstop was a huge issue on the roster this past season. The Giants tried to address it in-season by cycling through a number of options but to no avail. Giants shortstops combined to post a .617 OPS with just seven home runs in 2023. They were near the bottom in terms of offensive production.
They did not perform much better defensively as they were worth -21 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and +4 Outs Above Average (OAA). Depending on the metric, the Giants were either the worst in baseball or near the middle of the pack.
Luciano appeared briefly for the Giants at the end of the season. He posted a .641 OPS in 45 plate appearances.
The 21-year-old made some impressively hard contact and the expectation is that some of that hard contact will translate to extra bases. Giants fans have been eager to see Luciano for the past several years and it looks like he will enter next season with a good chance to start. And, if he continues to make quality contact, it stands to reason that he should be an upgrade over the performances at shortstop this year.