As expected, the Giants have exercised club options over left-handed starters Madison Bumgarner and Matt Moore, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports. San Francisco will also retain veteran third baseman Pablo Sandoval — a move that resulted from fairly unique circumstances.
There isn’t much cause to belabor the decisions on Bumgarner and Moore. Both had trying seasons, but were easy calls to retain at their respective salaries of $12MM and $9MM. That’s all the more true since each can be retained for similar rates ($12MM and $10MM) for 2019.
The 28-year-old Bumgarner missed about half the season after suffering a rotator cuff tear, but still posted a typically excellent 3.32 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9. He will look to return to his place among the game’s very best pitchers in 2018. Moore scuffled to a 5.52 ERA, but the 28-year-old has had quite a bit more success in the past and at worst ought to provide innings at a palatable rate of pay.
In the case of Sandoval, the key factor remains the ongoing obligations borne by the Red Sox, who’ll pay the lion’s share of the $18MM owed Sandoval over each of the next two seasons (along with a $5MM buyout on a 2020 option). San Francisco will only be on the hook for the league-minimum salary, which is the least they’d have to commit to anyone occupying a roster spot regardless.
Sandoval returned to San Francisco after two and a half years of dreadful production in Boston. But the move back west did not spur a rebound; to the contrary, Sandoval batted just .225/.263/.375 in his 171 plate appearances. That said, the move hardly signals that the Giants are committed to putting Sandoval back in his former role as the regular third baseman. Instead, the team is likely to pursue upgrades there while considering Sandoval for a bench role.