Earlier today we took a brief look at the A’s rotation picture heading into 2021, but whereas the A’s have more rotation continuity than most years, it’s a starkly different picture on the other side of the bay. Most of the Giants’ 2020 rotation is heading to the open market, including Kevin Gausman Drew Smyly, Jeff Samardzija, and Trevor Cahill, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Of course, they got very little from Samardzija in 2020 (4 starts, 9.72 ERA), while Smyly (5 starts, 26 1/3 innings, 3.42 ERA) and Cahill (6 starts, 25 innings, 3.24 ERA) were moderate contributors. Gausman would be the biggest loss of the group, going 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA/3.09 FIP across 59 2/3 innings. The 30-year-old has provided somewhat spotty production throughout his career, making his free agency case difficult to project.
The Giants aren’t bereft of in-house options to fill out the rotation, however. Johnny Cueto remains under contract for $22MM in 2021 with a $22MM club option with $5MM buyout for 2022. The 34-year-old maintained his rotation spot in 2020, though he only provided middling production with a 5.40 ERA/4.64 FIP across 63 1/3 innings.
Beyond the veteran, the Giants have Tyler Beede returning from Tommy John surgery, as well as Logan Webb, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Suarez, and Anthony Banda who could get a look somewhere on the rotation depth chart. Prospects Seth Corry and Sean Hjelle, Shea notes, are still probably at least a year from providing quality innings at the big leagues.
The challenge for President of Baseball Ops Farhan Zaidi will be identifying those front of the rotation arms that can help the Giants contend with the Dodgers and Padres in the NL West. Anderson will be 31-years-old next year, Beede is coming off Tommy John, and Webb has largely disappointed thus far with a 5.36 ERA/4.15 FIP in 94 innings across two seasons. Depending on the timeline for their pitching prospects, the Giants could at least explore adding through the free agent market.