It is never too early to start thinking about the offseason and the SF Giants appear poised to be aggressive with the hopes of retooling the roster. They will have powerful financial flexibility this offseason, but the question is, will they use it?
SF Giants will boast powerful financial flexibility heading into the offseason
This could be the blankest slate for the Giants front office since Farhan Zaidi was hired as team president of baseball operations in November of 2018. He was tasked with rebuilding the organization and part of that involved letting some of the under-performing contracts fall off of the books.
Giants fans have understood this process and been patient with it. With all that being said, it is time for the front office to prove that they can spend like a big market club. That has not necessarily been the case with Zaidi at the helm.
There is no doubt that he has been aggressive in free agency but not in the way that fans have hoped. He has added plenty of lower-tier free agents, but he has rarely shopped for the premium players. For example, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Carlos Correa were all free agents last offseason and there was very little traction between any of those players and the Giants. This is a trend that has frustrated the fanbase.
This offseason could be different. The Giants currently sit at 65-68 and are far out of the playoff picture. The pressure will be on the front office to right the ship and they will have plenty of flexibility to do so.
Technically, the Giants will have $78.75 million committed against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) for next year's roster. Brandon Belt, Joc Pederson, and Wilmer Fores are scheduled to be free agents, relieving the team of $18.4 million, $6 million, and $3.5 million, respectively, in salary. The Giants appear motivated to bring back Pederson but that would only be one of many moves that the organization needs to make.
Carlos Rodón is under contract for $22 million next season, but he will certainly opt-out of his contract in the offseason. That figure is part of the $78.75 million figure. On the other hand, the Giants hold a $13 million team option on Evan Longoria for 2023, which includes a $5 million buyout.
Assuming that Rodón opts out and that Longoria is bought out, which is not a given, the Giants will begin the season with $61.75 million against the CBT. Of course, the Giants will have a lot of arbitration-eligible players including Logan Webb, Austin Slater, and Mike Yastrzemski. Arbitration-eligible players who are tendered a contract will receive a raise for 2023 with Webb likely in line for the biggest raise on the Giants roster.
Using $20 million a placeholder for the crop of arbitration-eligible players along with estimated player benefits ($16.5 million), salaries for players on minor league deals ($2.5 million), and the pre-arbitration bonus pool ($1.66 million), the Giants could begin the offseason with about $102 million against the CBT.
The CBT threshold for 2023 sits at $232 million, meaning that the Giants will be in the neighborhood of $130 million below the CBT before any free-agent spending is done. That $102 million figure will change as projected arbitration salaries become known.
However, this is all to say that the Giants will have plenty of money to spend in the offseason. Players like Rodón, Trea Turner, and Aaron Judge will all be available. San Francisco will have a lot of holes to fill on the roster, but few teams will be in the position like the Giants to spend. We all know that the CBT will not be a limiting factor this offseason for the Giants, but will they choose to spend it? That remains to be seen.