Offseason Outlook: San Francisco Giants

The Giants want to determine the long-term futures of their top starting pitchers, and support them in 2012 with improved offense at shortstop or in the outfield. 

Guaranteed Contracts

Contractual Options

Arbitration Eligible Players (estimated salaries)

Free Agents

The Giants won a World Series in 2010 based on great pitching, despite a middling offense.  The following offseason GM Brian Sabean was not aggressive in pursuing upgrades, and the Giants' offense had little margin for error heading into the 2011 season.  Huff and Torres declined markedly this year, while Sandoval and Buster Posey suffered critical injuries.  The result was the worst offense in the National League, despite solid midseason additions of Beltran and Keppinger.

It's natural to think Sabean adds a couple of offensive-minded position players this winter, but payroll constraints could get in the way.  The team's payroll is expected to remain around $125MM, and the Giants have an expensive and large arbitration class.  Lincecum, Sanchez, and Sandoval could total nearly $30MM.  Non-tendering or trading other arbitration eligibles like Torres and Fontenot won't make a big difference.  Sabean spoke in September about Jonathan Sanchez as a viable candidate for the fifth starter job, but trading him could create much-needed payroll flexibility.  Keppinger is another movable piece, if the Giants feel Freddy Sanchez will be healthy for 2012.  Declining Affeldt's option or exercising it and trading the lefty could clear some payroll space, but Sabean expects the reliever back next year.  Lopez may depart for greener pastures, but he's worthy of an arbitration offer, enabling the Giants to acquire a supplemental draft pick.

Sabean's initial offseason focus is clear, as he told reporters, "Our pitching’s going to get expensive, that’s the punch line and we have to take care of that first."  Cain is locked in at $15MM next year, but it's clear Sabean views extending him as a pressing concern.  Any years added beyond 2012 will surely be north of $15MM, so Cain's situation affects the Giants' ability to sign big multiyear free agent deals. 

Lincecum's salary is an unknown, but with a historic arbitration case on the horizon, the Giants can expect $18-20MM for 2012.  Lincecum's 2013 salary projects as even more, and knocking a few million off per year with a multiyear deal would create cost certainty.  If Lincecum drives a hard bargain, his two arbitration years might cost the team $40MM as part of a multiyear deal.  Adding another six free agent years at $22MM per season would result in a contract worth more than $170MM, the largest ever for a pitcher.  I'm not sure the Giants should take that plunge. 

The Giants are interested in re-signing Beltran, and you have to wonder if there is an element of saving face since they surrendered top prospect Zack Wheeler for a couple months of Beltran in the July trade.  Sabean's comments imply a greater focus on a leadoff hitter/center fielder.  Coco Crisp would probably require a two-year deal, and he posted just a .314 on-base percentage this year.  Grady Sizemore and David DeJesus are one-year deal options, though their ability to play center field every day is in question.  The best free agent fit might be Jimmy Rollins, an Oakland native who could fill the team's shortstop and leadoff void while also improving the defense.  The idea of signing Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols seems silly, having discussed the Giants' payroll and priorities.

The Giants project to have at least one more year of elite pitching, so it's up to the game's longest-tenured GM to assemble a passable offense.  Sabean appears to be up against budget limitations, though he has mentioned the possibility of asking ownership for additional money toward adding a specific player.  That request makes sense, with the window on Cain and Lincecum potentially closing.

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17 Comments on "Offseason Outlook: San Francisco Giants"

3 years 9 months ago

So true. Far from impressive resume……Last season saved his arse(thank god what a ride). He’s a BUM!!! Cant fricken stand all the bad signings! Who’s next? I heard Bernie Williams was thinkin about playin another season…..

3 years 9 months ago

What is that your 2012 lineup? Jump off a cliff bud

3 years 9 months ago

you think the giants’ one world series in 50 years makes them a more relevant franchise? it was the least watched world series in baseball history. nobody cares.

you’re basing your entire offense off of a catcher who doesn’t even have a full season under his belt. the dodgers are only going to get better and the diamondbacks and rockies can at least hit a baseball.

don’t worry – the giants will soon go back to the team that nobody (including people in the bay area) cares about.

p.s. Tim Lincecum is no longer the best pitcher in the NL West.

3 years 9 months ago

As a matter of fact yes, 2 world series appearances in the last decade including a WS title does make the Giants a more relevant franchise than your precious dodgers who haven’t made an appearance in the fall classic since the Soviet Union was still around. TV ratings??? Please…that is a baseball issue vs. football, etc. This year’s ratings are crap too. You think the ratings would have changed with the dodgers in there??? Hilarious…besides for the fact at how funny it is to contemplate the dodgers in a WS since the end of the 1980’s.

So the Giants offense sucks and Kershaw is better than Lincecum…OK, so then why did the Giants finish with a better record this year??? I could care less if Kershaw had a better individual year than Lincecum, because Lincecum is still a top 5 pitcher, and he’s followed in the rotation by Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong. How about your rotation??? Top to bottom, Giants have the superior rotation and bullpen. Just re-sign Broxton, that should work.

The Dodgers are only going to get better??? Why??? Says who??? Matt Kemp had a great year, but he only plays when he feels like it. What happens when he gets sullen and disinterested again??? Ethier??? Hurt and best days gone by….Loney??? Don’t make me laugh. Furcal??? Gone…Just re-sign Casey Blake, Tony Gwynn Jr., and continue to enjoy that Uribe contract.

If you seriously think that the Dodgers have a bigger upside than the Giants compared to what happened last year, then you just don’t know baseball. Yeah, no one cares about the Giants, which is why they’ve averaged over 3 million in attendance for over 10 years, playing in packed houses every game in the best stadium in baseball. The Dodgers solidified their rightful position as MLB laughingstock this year and will hold it for years to come, with continually dropping attendance from fairweather “fans” and more Divorce McCourt proceedings.

3 years 9 months ago

Heh. Kershaw had better win another Cy next year and a WS ring to boot before he can sniff Lincecum’s jock.

What do you know about the Bay Area?  Dodgers fan living in Brookyln? How convenient, sounds like you’re living in a little blue fantasy over there.  Please.  We care a lot.

3 years 9 months ago

He’s under team control until 2016. he’s not going anywhere.

3 years 9 months ago

2012 Giants Line-Up. 

1. Coco Crisp CF (Inexpensive 2 year deal, replaced by Garry Brown in 2014)
2. Freddy Sanchez 2nd
3. Buster C
4. Pablo 3rd
5. Shierholtz, RF
6. Pill/Huff 1b
7. Belt LF
8. Crawford SS

Keppinger is super utility sub
Torres is 4th OF

3 years 9 months ago

I think there is a reasonable probability of this being the opening day lineup.  It isn’t a bad lineup either.  Could be close to league average if everyone is healthy, Pablo is an MVP candidate, and Schierholtz breaks out.  A lot of IF’s though.   

I would be excited if they “went for it” by signing Rollins, trading Sanchez plus loose change for Carlos Quentin, and taking a flyer on Grady Sizemore.  Fortune favors the bold, right.  See Louis, Saint. 

Kyle Trisler
3 years 9 months ago

hahaha you’re kidding right? if cain or lincecum leaves ill cry, we can’t just draft a lincecum every season, find a vogelsong like its a common commodity. napoli was drafted and in case you didn’t know, we got a pretty good young catcher who can hit as well…and belt still is a power bat prospect 

Kyle Trisler
3 years 9 months ago

that wasn’t sabean, it was magowans idea

3 years 9 months ago

Absolutely correct!

3 years 9 months ago

He’s helped us to two World Series appearances since he started. A lot of GM’s never make it to one, let alone two. He gets way too much unnecessary flack for the Pierzynski trade.

There’s not a GM out there today who hasn’t made their fair share of bad moves. You want Cashman from the Yankees? Long list of terrible signings. Or how about Epstein? He’s handed out some bad contracts and made some bad trades as well.

Who is it, that’s available, that is going to be better than Sabean?

3 years 9 months ago

Will the pitching hold out for another year at least before the inevitable injuries catch up to the Giants? We can only hope. The hitting however remains the hot topic of debate amongst Giants fans everywhere. I think were all tired of the aging shortstop route and I hope Management is too. Unless Crawford completely stops hitting in spring training he will most believe be the opening shortstop for the Giants. The leadoff spot will most likely come from centerfield and there my friends is where the intrigue starts as Torres has likely lost his job. One thought is the Giants will resign Beltran and trade Jonathon Sanchez for a halfway descent centerfielder. Then again Sanchez has been traded in the fans minds countless times. I can only say I hope luck is with the Giants whoever is wearing the orange and black next year.

3 years 9 months ago

Just say NO to Crisp and NO to Rollins. Try like hell to get Sizemore in the Orange and Black.

3 years 9 months ago

Great idea, putting all the CF eggs in the basket of the guy who’s played a total of 104 games the last two years and is coming off multiple major knee surgeries in the same time frame. That can’t possibly go wrong… the only way he gets brought in (I hope) is as one of 2 CFs signed since he can’t be relied upon at all right now

3 years 9 months ago

what about Gilespie?

3 years 9 months ago

I still am wondering what is happening with Stewart.