SAN FRANCISCO – Buster Posey has chosen to retire, Kevin Gossman has signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and after spending six years in a Giants uniform, Johnny Couto is a free agent.
With three experienced players running out the door, the Giants know they must work diligently to fill the lead this season. Luckily for Farhan Zaidi, Scott Harris and Gabe Kapler, the Giants also know that they have a huge sum of money.
During the 2021 season, Posey, Gossman and Cueto together raised more than $60 million, which should now be reallocated toward new players who can help the Giants defend their 2021 National League West title.
Front Office has already activated this offseason, signing starter Anthony Descalafoni for a three-year, $36 million deal to return to San Francisco, while first baseman Brandon Belt signed a deal to stay with the Giants. Sal, accepted the $18.4 million qualifying offer. But the organization cannot stop there.
Expectations are skyrocketing once again in San Francisco after a record-setting season, and it’s imperative that the Giants build on the strong foundation laid at the edge of McCove Cove. With lots of cash to spend and many ways to improve the roster, here’s how the Giants should spend their surplus.
Change Posey’s Appearance in the Lineup
The Giants believe Joey Bart and Kurt Casali can form a strong catching tandem next year, but it’s unrealistic to expect Posey to pair for aggressive production on his way to winning his fifth Silver Slugger.
Posey hit .304 in 2021 with .889 OPS, and while Bart has a high range as an offensive catalyst, the Giants will have to look outside the organization to find an experienced hitter who will add Posey’s consistency to their lineup. Changing the middle might help.
The best-suited free agent for the Giants might be outfielder Nick Castellanos, who has owned .880 ops since the start of the 2019 season and is coming off a season in which he has scored the highest on-base percentage (. 362) has been posted. , Castellanos isn’t a plus defender, but if the National League adopts a designated hitter, it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which he hits second, third or fourth on a daily basis for the next four to five years.
If the Giants don’t play at the top of the market, Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki has the type of aggressive profile that the outfit loves. The 27-year-old is expected to sign a four- to five-year deal from Suzuki in the range of $60 million and has finished each of the last four seasons at NPB with a base percentage above .400.
Refill rotation (with quality)
With Gossman, the only All-Star from the Giants’ 2021 pitching staff, headed to Toronto on a five-year, $110 million deal, the Giants will rely heavily on ace Logan Webb to lead their rotation next year.
Behind Webb, the Giants are excited about Descalafny’s potential and are reportedly close to the finish line to re-sign Alex Wood, but there is still room to make an impact acquisition. Free-agent right-hander Alex Cobb is a fit for San Francisco, but the Giants will clearly benefit from signing a front-end-of-the-rotation starter and should seriously consider Robby Ray or Marcus Strowman .
If the Giants don’t land one of the top two remaining free-agent pitchers, left-handers like Danny Duffy, UC Kikuchi and James Paxton represent interesting options.
Would Clayton Kershaw ever consider signing in San Francisco? Given his relationship with Zaidi, it’s worth at least kicking the tires.
The bottom line is this: The Giants need at least three quality options to go into next season behind Webb and Descalafny, and any internal choices in the farm system can’t be counted on just yet.
Emphasis on versatility
Given his defensive struggles in August and September, it seems unlikely that the Giants would be ready to sign Kris Bryant to a five-plus-year deal worth more than $100 million, but to be considered for the front office. There are other versatile players.
The Giants aren’t closely tied to former Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor this offseason yet, but Taylor represents a perfect fit for San Francisco. The right-handed hitter delivers quality defense around the diamond and is capable of handling both center field and shortstop while delivering power at the plate.
The Giants will have to give up the draft pick to sign Taylor after he turned down a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, but that shouldn’t deter Zaidi and Harris from showing interest.
If the Giants prefer a cheaper option, fast utility man Jonathan Villar could play around the infield and was slightly above the league average at the plate last year. He is not as exciting as Taylor, but Willer is a switch-hitter which enhances his versatility.