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Unable to replicate their stunning 107-win campaign of the prior season in 2022, Giants brass went back to the drawing board this past offseason with a goal improving both the lineup and the defense by getting younger and more athletic. They might’ve accomplished that, to an extent, but despite deepening the roster, they missed out on multiple top targets and left many fans feeling underwhelmed.
Major League Signings
- Mitch Haniger, OF: Three years, $43MM (can opt out after 2024 season)
- Michael Conforto, OF: Two years, $36MM (can opt out after year one if he reaches 350 plate appearances)
- Taylor Rogers, LHP: Three years, $33MM
- Sean Manaea, LHP: Two years, $25MM (can opt out after 2023 season)
- Ross Stripling, RHP: Two years, $25MM (can opt out after 2023 season)
- Joc Pederson, OF/DH: One year, $19.65MM (accepted qualifying offer)
- Luke Jackson, RHP: Two years, $11.5MM
Total spend: $193.15MM
2023 spend: $85.65MM
- Declined $13MM club option on 3B Evan Longoria in favor of $5MM buyout
- Carlos Rodon declined $22.5MM player option
Trades and Waiver Claims
- Acquired C/OF Blake Sabol from Reds in exchange for RHP Jake Wong (Sabol had been a Rule 5 selection)
- Acquired LHP Erik Miller from Phillies in exchange for RHP Yunior Marte
- Acquired RHP Kade McClure from White Sox in exchange for RHP Gregory Santos
- Acquired INF Brett Wisely from Rays in exchange for OF Tristan Peters
- Acquired 1B/OF Matt Beaty from the Royals in exchange for cash.
- Claimed C Dom Nunez off waivers from Rockies (later non-tendered, signed with Cubs)
- Claimed C Meibrys Viloria off waivers from Rangers (later non-tendered, signed with Guardians)
- Claimed RHP Drew Strotman off waivers from Rangers (later non-tendered, re-signed with Giants)
- Claimed RHP Miguel Yajure off waivers from Pirates (later outrighted to Triple-A)
Notable Minor League Signings
- Stephen Piscotty (later released), Roberto Perez (selected to 40-man roster), Austin Wynns, Sean Newcomb, Joe Ross, Ronald Guzman, Donovan Walton, Ljay Newsome, Sam Delaplane, Drew Strotman, Colton Welker, Mauricio Llovera
- Brandon Belt, Carlos Rodon, Evan Longoria, Jose Alvarez, Jarlin Garcia, Jason Vosler, Willie Calhoun, Jharel Cotton
The Giants’ first bit of offseason business was wrapped up by the time the free-agent market officially began. Joc Pederson parlayed his career-best .274/.353/.521 batting line into a one-year, $19.65MM qualifying offer from the Giants. Rather than turn that down and head into the open market in search of a multi-year deal, Pederson became one of just two players to accept the QO this past offseason — Martin Perez was the other — thereby officially punching his ticket to return to Oracle Park for a second season.
Though he spent the bulk of his time in the outfield in 2022, Pederson seems likely to log more reps as the Giants’ designated hitter this coming season. It’s a steep price to pay for one year, but the Giants are a deep-pocketed club that isn’t particularly close to the luxury tax threshold at the moment, so they can afford to bet on Pederson approximating his outstanding 2022 production.
Pederson’s eventual shift into more of a DH role coincides with the Giants’ goals of improving defensively. They entered the 2022-23 offseason with the stated goal of getting younger and more athletic. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi plainly indicated as much last September, and just a few weeks later he added that “everything” was on the table in the offseason, including aggressive pursuits at the top end of the free-agent market.
That indeed proved to be the case, as the first portion of the Giants’ winter was dominated by their pursuit of Aaron Judge. The Linden, Calif. native was the Giants’ clear top target, and Zaidi & Co. made a spirited run at him. For the majority of the offseason, the Giants appeared the only real threat to pry Judge away from the Bronx. San Francisco offered the reigning AL MVP a reported nine-year, $360MM deal that matched the eventual terms he agreed to in his return to the Yankees. The division-rival Padres made a late push for Judge, but once the Yankees were willing to push their offer to nine years, Judge’s mind was made up. The newly crowned American League home run king spurned the nine-year offer that would’ve sent him back to his Bay Area roots and instead returned to the Bronx.
The Giants knew entering the offseason that luring Judge away from the Yankees was going to be a long shot, and true to Zaidi’s “everything is on the table” form, they pivoted to one of the top names on the market: Carlos Correa. Again embroiled in a bidding war with the incumbent team, the Giants eventually blew the Twins’ 10-year offer out of the water, putting forth a stunning 13-year, $350MM offer that would have given Correa the second-largest free-agent deal in MLB history, trailing only the contract Judge had just signed.
With that offer topping the Twins’ reported offer by three years and roughly $60MM, Correa accepted and the Giants appeared to have the superstar acquisition they coveted all but finalized. A press conference to introduce Correa was set for Dec. 20, as was a radio appearance on KNBR. Correa was going to be the Giants’ starting shortstop — until he wasn’t.
On the morning of that scheduled press conference, the Giants announced that Correa’s introduction would be postponed. No reason was given. His subsequent media appearances in the Bay Area were also postponed. It eventually came to light that the Giants and a third-party medical expert had voiced concerns about how Correa’s right ankle/leg would hold up over the course of a more than decade-long deal. Correa has never missed time in the Majors with an ankle/leg injury but fractured his tibia as a 19-year-old in the minor leagues and had a plate implanted into his leg to stabilize the injury.
While the Giants continued gathering information and soliciting opinions, Correa remained unsigned, and the Mets swooped in just a day later with a 12-year, $315MM offer that he accepted. Similar concerns arose from the Mets — unsurprising, given that they reportedly consulted the same third party — and that deal was also scuttled. Correa eventually returned to the Twins on a much shorter but much higher-AAV contract: six years and $200MM, with a quartet of vesting options that could take the contract to $270MM and bring his potential 11-year stint with Minnesota to a total value of $305.1MM.
That a second team expressed the same concerns and that Correa wound up taking a guarantee of less than half the length of the Giants’ original offer surely validated the front office’s trepidation in the eyes of some onlookers, but the simple fact remained: the Giants entered the offseason intent on getting younger, more athletic, and ideally acquiring a superstar around which to build their franchise — and that possibility no longer presented itself.
By the time the team’s deal with Correa had fallen through, Judge and all the other star shortstops (Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson) had new contracts in place. Outgoing ace Carlos Rodon was also gone, having joined Judge on a six-year deal with the Yankees. The market’s other two aces, Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom, were among the earliest marquee free agents to find new homes.
Of course, the Giants hadn’t merely been sitting on their hands prior to their failed Judge and Correa overtures. The team inked Mitch Haniger to a three-year contract in early December and just days later brokered identical two-year pacts with righty Ross Stripling and lefty Sean Manaea.
Haniger’s deal added some needed punch to the middle of the Giants’ lineup but also came with a good deal of health risk. Stripling and Manaea deepened the starting staff, giving an organization known for maximizing pitcher performance a pair of veteran arms. San Francisco has routinely avoided long-term commitments to pitchers, making a Rodon reunion look unlikely from the jump. Both Stripling and Manaea have had big league success but came with some question marks; Stripling hasn’t worked a full season as a starter, while Manaea had a poor finish to the season thanks largely to a pair of catastrophically bad outings at Dodger Stadium. The price the Giants paid for both players is sensible, and both will have a chance to return to the market next offseason if they perform well.
With both Stripling and Manaea aboard, the Giants’ rotation was at least six-deep. That pair joined Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani, with swingman Jakob Junis and top prospect Kyle Harrison both serving as depth options. Harrison, one of baseball’s premier pitching prospects, should debut at some point in 2023. It’s a deep and talented group, and given the team’s spacious home park and nearly unparalleled track record of recent success with maximizing pitcher performance, there’s a good chance the Giants can again boast one of the league’s better rotations.
Upgrades were also made in the bullpen, where the Giants looked past Taylor Rogers’ poor finish to the 2022 season and bet heavily on his still-excellent strikeout and walk rates. The former Twins closer and 2021 All-Star might well have been a candidate for a four-year contract had he enjoyed a season more in line with his 2018-21 form (2.91 ERA, 2.66 SIERA, 31.2% strikeout rate, 4.9% walk rate), but the Giants still paid up in the form of a $33MM guarantee over three years. It’s a big bet that Rogers’ inflated ERA was more attributable to poor luck on balls in play, a spike in home-run rate that’ll prove fluky, and a diminished strand rate.
The signing of Rogers pairs him with his twin brother Tyler, making for a fun story at the back of the ’pen, but it also gives the Giants another high-upside arm to pair with flamethrowing closer Camilo Doval. That group will eventually be joined by righty Luke Jackson, who inked a two-year pact but will miss the early portion of the season wrapping up his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Jackson was a vital member of the Braves’ 2021 World Series team, but his signing marks another relatively risky addition in the bullpen alongside the newly signed Rogers brother.
Perhaps the Giants’ highest-profile signing came in the form of former Mets All-Star Michael Conforto, who inked a two-year deal after missing the entire 2022 season due to shoulder surgery stemming from an offseason injury. As with many of their other signings, the investment in Conforto is laden with both risk and upside. Beyond the fact that he didn’t play a single inning at any level in 2022, Conforto’s 2021 season was decidedly pedestrian. After slashing a combined .265/.369/.495 (133 wRC+) from 2017-20, Conforto batted just .232/.344/.384 (106 wRC+) in 125 games during his platform season for free agency.
The bet on Conforto isn’t simply one that his shoulder is now healthy — it’s one that his 2021 season can be looked past. The Giants are paying Conforto $18MM annually, and in the event that he is indeed healthy and productive, he’ll be able to opt out of his contract next offseason. That right kicks in once Conforto reaches 350 plate appearances. In essence, the Giants are making a $36MM bet that Conforto can again be a star player; if they’re right, they’ll likley only have to pay out half that sum but could lose Conforto after one year without the option of making a qualifying offer. (Players can only receive one in their career.) If they’re wrong, it’ll go down as a costly misstep that’ll impact the books through the 2024 season.
There’s been a lot of talk about “risk” to this point, but that’s largely unavoidable given the nature of San Francisco’s offseason. The Giants loaded up on short-term risk, signing several players coming off injury-shortened or even injury-ruined seasons (Conforto, Jackson, Haniger) and others coming off poor showings that don’t align with their prior standards (Rogers, Manaea).
Given that the Giants’ pursuit of Correa was called off for perceived injury risk on a long-term deal, it’s somewhat peculiar that the rest of the team’s offseason wound up punctuated by substantial health risks. Of course, there’s a difference between taking an injury risk for two or at most three years versus a 13-year term — and the extra trepidation on the lengthier commitment is plenty justifiable. But for the short-term, the Giants are even more at the mercy of good fortune in the health department than they’d have been had they found a way to make the Correa deal work out.
The rest of the offseason generally consisted of tinkering on the edges of the 40-man roster. Newly acquired relievers Kade McClure and Erik Miller aren’t on the 40-man roster but could conceivably be brought up at some point this year. Rule 5 catcher/outfielder Blake Sabol made the Opening Day roster, and infielder Brett Wisely gives the Giants some 40-man depth in Triple-A. That group cost the Giants a pair of fringe relievers (Gregory Santos, Yunior Marte), a Class-A pitcher (Jake Wong) and an outfield prospect who only had a brief stop in the organization after being acquired from the Brewers at the ’22 deadline (Tristan Peters).
The 2023 Giants will look wildly different than the 2022 Giants, but it’s still an open question as to whether this group is actually better. If they strike gold on most of their injury gambles, that seems likely to be the case. Odds of that happening are long, to say the least. Haniger is already starting the season on the injured list, and that surely won’t be the only injury of note from their newly acquired swath of veterans.
The Giants still have major question marks behind the plate, where Joey Bart has yet to seize the role. He’ll be backed up by defensive specialist Roberto Perez and perhaps the previously mentioned Sabol. In the infield, they’ll hope David Villar can step up at the hot corner while LaMonte Wade Jr. — no stranger to the injured list himself — can stay healthy and hold down first base. J.D. Davis and Wilmer Flores provide some nice depth at both corners, but there’s an enormous amount of uncertainty at multiple spots on the diamond.
The good news is that much of that risk, again, is short-term in nature. The 2024 payroll could, in fact, be almost pristine. Each of Brandon Crawford, Wood and Pederson will be a free agent. Cobb’s contract has a $10MM club option. Conforto, Manaea and Stripling all have opt-outs. It may not be likely that all three will perform well enough to take those out clauses, but it’s probable that at least one will. The Giants have $102MM in guaranteed money on the 2024 roster, which is about $90MM shy of their current level. The trio of Conforto ($18MM), Stripling ($12.5MM) and Manaea ($12.5MM) could subtract as much as $43MM from that sum.
That leaves ample flexibility, be it for a Logan Webb extension or for aggressive pursuits in next year’s crop of free agents. That group will be headlined by Shohei Ohtani but will also feature names like Julio Urias, Aaron Nola and NPB ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Extensions for Manny Machado and Rafael Devers undeniably sapped some star power from the group, but the Giants are set up for a mulligan and will be well equipped to add salary via free agency or trade.
For now, the focus is on keeping this group healthy and hoping the 2023 season looks more like 2021 than ’22. With the ultra-aggressive Padres and ever-dangerous Dodgers looming atop the division and an up-and-coming D-backs club gaining traction, the Giants aren’t division favorites and aren’t generally considered strong playoff contenders. They should have a deep pitching staff, however, and this group is plenty familiar with defying expectations. They’ll look to do so again in ’23, and if it doesn’t pan out, they have the financial firepower to make sweeping changes again next winter.
How would you grade the Giants’ offseason?
Cole decimated them today.
I saw the Giants play today. I have a hard time remembering if I’ve ever seen a more boring sort of lifeless opponent at the Stadium on opening day.
This team isn’t just mediocre. They’re clearly going to irrelevant in their division. And their fans….dumb dumbs that defend every move Zaidi makes . Giants fans actually think this team can be a wild card contender. Haha . They have problems in that division . Arizona is a better team and SD and LA are light years ahead of them
I aspire to be just like you, yankees27chanps.
Such a well put together, intelligent, insightful, high quality human being. The Yankees are so lucky to have you. Your fellow fans must read your work and just swell with Yankee pride. Just as the Padre fans did when you cowardly pretended to be one of them. Bravo to you.
#27chumpy Hey now, not all of us Giants fans are so dense, that we can’t see through Farhan’s shtick
Because anyone with any baseball knowledge knows that you can derive so much about a team from one game.
an off-season review so late the regular season already started is strangely fitting for this Giants team
Save the Rockies for May.
Needs an opt out option that overpays our early attempts to read the article and allows us to immediately go elsewhere if we turn out to have any real value as readers.
When 36 year old Brandon Crawford is the face of the franchise after an off-season where you declared that no free agent was out of play financially, you failed your assignment.
Sure did. They won’t quit though. Solid, strong men at the Giants.
Brandon Crawford is not an everyday player anymore. Watching him play today he looked lethargic….Old , Slow and FAT
He’s always been one of the slowest players in the game. That’s not new. With a bum knee it’s know wonder why they wanted Correa. I’m a huge Crawford fan since I watched him back in A-ball with Posey and Bum.
Say that to his face..
Are you suggesting that if the Giants had a different exec he would have been successful signing Judge, where FZ failed? And because FZ failed he should be fired? And do you really think the Giants would have been better off, in the long run, had they signed Correa, despite the medicals?
Still, I’m happy that they didn’t give Correa or Bogaerts some ridiculous contract. They need a better base before the massive overpays starts.
Then you have to develop players like the Astros and Braves. Astros were awful until the built their farm and developmental system. Look at the teams ahead of the Giants. Phils, Mets, Dodgers, padres all paying a premium for star players. Braves and Cardinals build from the farm and the cards two best players came thru trades.
bag o ballz
“Then you have to develop players like the Astros and Braves. ” that is why they hired a new GM from the Astros who was in charge of player development
#ted You’re spot on, 100%
For someone who saw FZ’s attempt to sign a new franchise face as disrespecting BCraw… you sure are being disrespectful to BCraw by agreeing that him as the face of the franchise is a failure, even though he is “arguably the best SS in franchise history”, in your words.
I was agreeing only that the offseason was a failed assignment. Once again you represent miserably. The part I talk about them disrespecting him refers to Giants management being so eager to hand his position over to a new player to the franchise, when Correa was clearly willing and happy to play 3B… A position the Giants actually kinda needed, after losing Longo. I do like Villar however. I was yelling for them to bring him up, for about 2 months before they did.
Steve, it’s like you knew Farhan would make a last minute addition to the team so you waited to release this review.
The best thing they did this offseason was to walk away from the 13 year guarantee for Correa. The Minnesota contract is much safer.
The Giants are going to be SO bad ….
#baseballteam Right now the Giants have the worst record in MLB. And the fewest runs scored. I’m having feelings like 2017.
bag o ballz
let’s be honest here – the giants are only one game out and tied with the padres for 2nd place in the division
#bag o ballz That was true yesterday, but not anymore. Now the Madres have the worst record in MLB and are looking up at the winless Giants, from last place.
That’s it Seasons Over.
C for helping bid Judge up and backing out of one of the worst contracts ever handed out. They got the all risk team. If everyone stays healthy and plays to their past performances they will be q winning team. If not what guys do they fail to get a prospect return for at deadline?
A for 2024 when they sign Arson Ohtani.
2023 deadline – Giants trade for Shintaro Fujinami and Shohei Tamioka from the A’s, proclaim it a solid return to get them into playoff contention.
Neither pitches well, Diamondbacks grab the wild card.
Solid 79 win team
I think when Judge hit the game winning HR, in his first AB of the year, it set the tone and said it all.
Right now I’m feeling SO glad I didn’t invest in season tickets this year, like I almost got fooled into, when the front office promised to sign a superstar in the offseason.
Wilmer the Thrillmer
Next offseason the Giants will go all out for Ohtani only to see him sign with the Dodgers. That’s fine but please have a back-up plan Farhan.
The Mariners took some big chances by trading for Eugenio Suarez, Luis Castillo, Teoscar Hernandez, Kolten Wong etc.. and it’s paying off big time.
It’s time to use some of this prospect capital to bring in some players. Until Casey Schmitt arrives the Giants don’t have a proven third baseman, first baseman, back up middle infielder and without Slater and Haniger are weak in the outfield. They don’t have a real starting catcher.
They have 8 starting pitchers including Junis and Hjelle and maybe the best closer in baseball.
I like most of the moves Farhan made this offseason but there are still some major issues like what if Lamont Wade was a one hit wonder? What if Yaz continues to decline? (he’s my favorite Giant, I hope not) What happens if Estrada gets hurt?
Anyway just venting. I think they win 87-91 regardless.
IDavis and Flores can play 1b and will against Lefties. Villar should be out there pretty much everyday.
This is a 70 win team at best. Can’t even have a winning baseball team to try and forget about all the looting and destruction.
bag o ballz
wth are you talking about looting and destruction? what kind of idiotic BS do you listen to that makes you so damn stupid
#bag o ballz – His idiotic, emotion based comment stemmed from his opinion being formed by the media. It’s a sad phenomenon, that’s become far too common these days.
Surprised the article doesn’t mention Arson Judge.
Hey! Zaidi just connected on that last second Hail Mary we’ve been waiting for! He just signed Gary Sanchez to a minors deal. The season is officially saved!
And Bryce Johnson is suddenly up again. And, for some reason, Bart couldn’t handle opening day this year, after hitting a HR on opening day last year?
I don’t think the Giants should pick up Farhan Zaidi’s option or extend him