Let's face it. This offseason has been an emotional roller coaster for SF Giants fans. San Francisco began the winter with the hopes of landing a star player. However, Aaron Judge spurned them to remain in New York and Carlos Correa's deal fell through due to a medical issue. Spring training is right around the corner, so it is time to turn the page and this team might be better than some expect.
ZiPS projected standings give SF Giants reason for optimism
I will admit that for the past couple of years, Fangraphs' ZiPS projected standings have been oddly pessimistic about the Giants. However, the trend has shifted this offseason with ZiPS predicting that the Giants will finish with an 88-74 overall record, which is good enough for the sixth and final playoff spot in the National League.
San Francisco has quietly had a nice offseason. They brought in several players with high upside like Ross Stripling, Michael Conforto, and Mitch Haniger. Most of who they brought in are a little higher in terms of injury risk, so the Giants are hoping that the past does not predict the future in that regard.
On the other hand, they lost Carlos Rodón to the New York Yankees. The left-handed hurler was one of the best pitchers in baseball last year, so the Giants will be challenged in replacing the value he produced.
That said, Dan Szymborski of Fangraphs brings up a legitimate point about the NL West. While the San Diego Padres have a star-studded lineup that features Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, and Xander Bogaerts, there is a concern about the rotation.
Yu Darvish, Joe Msugrove, and Blake Snell headline the Padres' rotation, but it is light on depth. Is this the rotation that can carry them into the playoffs? I have my doubts, so I would not be surprised if they made a midseason trade to bolster the rotation.
Szymborski notes that the Los Angeles Dodgers are in a similar boat as the Padres. The rotation has some injury concerns outside of the top couple of options. Plus, they watched as Justin Turner and Trea Turner departed via free agency to sign with the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively. They are not the same team that won 111 games last year, but they still feature a potent lineup that consists of Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
So why is ZiPS so optimistic about the Giants' chance in 2023? It comes down to depth. They have a rotation that currently features six starters and the lineup should have some length to it with the addition of Haniger and Conforto. San Francisco can probably withstand an injury or two better than most teams.
Of course, have the Giants done enough to address a defense and bullpen that ranked as one of the worst in baseball last year? That remains to be seen. I suppose if they can limit using players out of position, the defense should see some improvement. Plus, moving Joc Pederson to the DH should shore up the defense in left field.
Hope is eternal in spring training. There is just a little more daylight with each day that passes and the glass is always half full in camp. Fangraphs seems to be buying into what the Giants have done this winter, but only time will tell.