The Giants spent a combined $13MM on right-hander Kevin Gausman and southpaw Drew Smyly in free agency last winter, and those short-term, buy-low deals worked out well for a club that narrowly missed a playoff berth. Now, the Giants are hoping to retain the pair, according to president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi (via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area).
“It’s obviously their prerogative to play out the market, but we certainly have interest in bringing both of those guys back,”said Zaidi, who added that the Giants are “going to be shopping for some starting pitching this offseason.”
The Giants’ rotation was a middle-of-the-pack unit in 2020, but Gausman and Smyly were bright spots. Gausman, a former Oriole, Brave and Red whom the Giants signed for $9MM, gave the club 59 2/3 innings of 3.62 ERA/3.09 FIP pitching with 11.92 K/9 against 2.41 BB/9. Pound for pound, the hard-throwing Gausman was among the most effective starters in the NL, so his next deal should be far more lucrative than the one he signed last winter. For what it’s worth, Gausman said last week he’s interested in staying with the Giants, who could tender him a qualifying offer before he returns to free agency.
Smyly only tossed 26 1/3 innings as a Giant after inking a $4MM contract, but the results were highly encouraging. He concluded with a 3.42 ERA/2.01 FIP, 14.35 K/9 and 3.08 BB/9. All of those numbers represented major rebounds for a hurler whom injuries have ravaged in recent years – including during a 2020 in which he missed over a month with a left index finger strain. Smyly also recorded a career-best 93.8 mph as a Giant, and that’s another reason he should draw a good amount of interest if he gets to free agency.
As of now, the Giants’ rotation is facing a slew of questions as the team heads into the offseason, which is why Zaidi will work to address it. Along with Gausman and Smyly, Jeff Samardzija and Trevor Cahill are on track to reach the open market. Those four amassed 25 starts for the Giants in 2020, and nobody remaining (Johnny Cueto, Logan Webb and Tyler Anderson) recorded particularly strong numbers.