Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi tells Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic that he anticipates a reduced volume of player transactions during the 2020 season, both for his club and around the game. (Zaidi also thrashed the hideous recent remarks of a Scottsdale city council member in the chat, which is well worth a read in full.)
Zaidi’s most notable transactional strategy to this point in his tenure has been the constant working of the waiver wire. The Giants’ immense roster churn has resulted in the discovery of a few gems and helped the team build in some depth that suits Zaidi’s vision.
That approach also seems a tenuous one in the midst of a pandemic. Zaidi acknowledged as much, calling it a “fair concern” that bringing in new players too often might increase the risk of disease transmission. He predicted that, “under the circumstances, I think you’ll see fewer transactions around baseball — certainly transactions in which you’re bringing in guys from outside the organization.”
It certainly will be interesting to see how this holds up under the pressures of a campaign — particularly one in which there’ll be a much shorter horizon for finding success due to the compressed schedule. Pitching health is a particular concern given the short ramp-up period. That seems also to be the primary potential source for roster movement.
Of course, most teams turn over their 40-man roster far less often than the Giants did last year. Zaidi indicates he doesn’t expect to continue that frantic pace, coronavirus or not. It seems last year’s blitz was more a one-off farm reshaping than an ongoing strategy.
Per Zaidi: “I think we’ve got a group of players that could get us through the season. I don’t think there will be as much motivation to look outside the organization because we like our depth.” The Giants “felt really good about the group of guys we had in camp,” he says.
No doubt the Giants will still be quick to act if and when they see a chance to achieve significant value through the waiver wire. But it appears that the bar will be raised a bit in 2020.