Where do the SF Giants go after Carlos Correa debacle?
For years, the Giants had been asking for patience when it comes to entering a new era. Not long ago, the Giants had one of the higest payrolls consisting of aging veterans on under-performing contracts. In a sense, the only way out was to do nothing.
Giants fans remained patient because eventually San Francisco would be at the table again for big-time free agents. They were at the table with Bryce Harper and Aaron Judge. Both of those endeavors ended in disappointment.
They were at the head of the table for Correa, getting him to agree to terms on a 13-year, $350 million deal. After mishandling his physical, Correa and his agent, Scott Boras, quickly rebounded with a 12-year, $325 million contract with the New York Mets.
The Giants could have made a better attempt at signing one of the top free agents in last year's class, but opted for value deals instead. They did make an earnest effort this year, but at the end of the day, the effort does not matter.
This needed to be a huge offseason for the Giants. They had more payroll flexibility than just about every team in baseball and signaled to the fanbase that they were going to be aggressive. Instead, Mitch Haniger's three-year, $43.5 million will likely be the biggest deal from this winter.
Haniger along with Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling are good additions, but the Giants needed so much more than that. When teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, and Mets continue to stockpile All-Stars, any of the three key free agents will not be enough.
Maybe Correa would not be enough as well. The National League is very polarized at the moment with the Phillies, Padres, Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Atlanta Braves all poised to return to the playoffs next year.
With or without Correa, the Giants may have been stuck in the middle, which would have been a very tough place to be. But, the Correa signing was not just about 2023. It was about future seasons as well and having that caliber of a player be the face of the franchise would have been a hook in player recruitment.
After the Giants embarrassingly handled the Correa debacle, it is going o be tough to convince future free agents that they are serious about winning. Outside of Shohei Ohtani and Manny Machado (opt-out), next year's free agent class is thin on impact talent.
The Giants will be in the same position with respect to payroll flexibility, but they are not a top destination for any free agent. Tuesday's debacle only strengthened that belief.
It is likely that the Giants will not be able to make any significant free-agent additions in the coming years. Unfortunately, they have drafted and developed so poorly that only one draft pick since 2019 has reached the majors. That narrative could quickly change with the emergency of Kyle Harrison, Marco Luciano, and Casey Schmitt.
However, if recent history is any indication, the odds are not necessarily in their favor. The Giants are at a crossroads right now. They play in an extremely tough division with both the Dodgers and Padres as the clear powerhouses. The Arizona Diamondbacks are not too far behind the Giants at this point.
The Giants needed this to be a big offseason. They needed to give the fans some excitement. They failed miserably at that and are stuck in the middle. It is a pretty bleak outlook at the moment, but if the Giants are looking toward 2025 or 2026 as to when they may be competitive again, they are in trouble. And, there is no way out because they just cannot land a star player.