One mistake the Giants could make throughout the remainder of the offseason is feeling like they must add position-player power to have a hope against the Dodgers all the while the reverse may be true. Giving Matt Chapman and Cody Bellinger too much money and too many years won't solve any problems for the Giants. They would remain an average or slightly better offense and still have a hole at SP. The more prudent strategy would be to invest very heavily in starting pitchers.
The recipe for success for the SF Giants has to be different than their rivals
There are still plenty of good starting-pitching options left on the open market. If would behoove them to strike quickly after missing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
1. Blake Snell
Blake Snell is the reigning N.L. Cy Young Award winner has a positive connection with Bob Melvin and has a strong desire to stay on the West Coast. The Dodgers are likely done handing out big contracts leaving the Giants as the biggest remaining market.
Snell is projected to receive a 5-year, $125 million with an AAV of $25 million. That AAV would be 11th among starting pitchers across MLB. Snell is projected for a 3.3 WAR in 2024, .1 less than Yamamoto before adjusting for Oracle Park which would boost Snell's projection.
Since 2018, only nine pitchers have more cumulative WAR than Snell and only Jacob deGrom and Max Fried have done so with fewer innings pitched. Snell would be a fantastic investment for the Giants and give them a co-ace with Logan Webb.
2. Shōta Imanaga
Shōta Imanaga should be the second pitching investment the Giants make this off-season. Imanaga is projected for a 2.6 WAR in 2024. Imanaga has managed an ERA below 3.00, a WHIP below 1.1, and has pitched in at least 149 innings in every season since 2021.
Imanaga is expected to sign for approximately 5 years, $85 million with a $17 million AAV. That AAV would be 30th among SPs in MLB. Imanaga struck out more batters than Yamamoto in the NPB with a crazy 29.4% K% and an excellent 4% BB%. The biggest issue for Imanaga was the HR ball, something that should automatically get better in the expansive Oracle Park.
It isn't out of the realm of possibility that Imanaga ends up being a better pitcher than Yamamoto and if Imanaga were to struggle as a starter his elite stuff would transition to being an elite reliever.
3. Clayton Kershaw
It is unlikely, but this would be a fun idea/ It would be spiteful. No doubt about it. That said, it isn't unfeasible and makes a certain amount of sense for the Giants. Alex Cobb is set to miss the first half of the 2024 season, Anthony DeSclafani has been perennially injured, and the remaining options are unproven rookies.
Even if the Giants were to acquire Snell and Imanaga that would leave the 4th and 5th SP spots open. Kershaw represents a one-year, high AAV deal where come August the Giants have Logan Webb, Snell, Imanaga, Kershaw, and Cobb as their five starters with their young guys in the bullpen or AAA depth.
Furthermore, it would be increasingly likely that someone in the rotation (likely more than one) will get hurt considering the age of this rotation which should give DeSclafani and all the young guys plenty of opportunities to perform. The case for Kershaw is simple. Even with all of the injuries over the recent years Kershaw still managed at least 2 WAR in every full season since 2009! He is slated to miss the first half of the season, but could be a nice second-half boost that the Giants need.