While nothing about baseball’s future can be set in stone, the scuttlebutt coming out of San Francisco suggests pretty strongly that Kris Bryant will not be returning in black and orange. Concerns about his defensive efficiency and contract demands have the Giants looking elsewhere. If the price for Bryant drops, however, he still very much fits a need. Bryant and the retired Buster Posey brought the right-handed thump to balance a left-leaning lineup in 2021. Evan Longoria contributed as well, but the veteran third baseman is far from a sure thing, health-wise.
The hallmark of this Giants’ regime is discipline, so despite their need for a right-handed bat, they aren’t likely to overpay to bring Bryant back, writes Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports. The Giants appear most comfortable looking for match-up-based value adds, a department where they have succeeded recently with players like Darin Ruf, LaMonte Wade Jr, and Wilmer Flores.
There is one higher-profile free agent they could pursue. The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly wrote back in mid-December that the Giants are interested in Japanese import Seiya Suzuki, who should command a contract in a range wherein the Giants feel comfortable. There are many suitors chasing Suzuki, however.
Donovan Solano has been another one of those part-time players for the Giants, but Pavlovic notes that he’s probably “gone for good.” Solano had a productive three seasons with the Giants, even winning a silver slugger award in 2020.
His departure should make room to give Thairo Estrada a real opportunity. After slashing .273/.333/.479 across 132 plate appearances in 2021, there’s certainly reason to think that the 25-year-old Estrada can be a younger, cheaper version of the 34-year-old Solano.
Depth is key in the modern landscape, however. Since Estrada is out of options, the Giants need to be relatively certain about whether or not he can be the guy they need to fill out their bench. The Giants need a right-handed complement to Tommy La Stella at second and someone who can spell Evan Longoria at third. If Estrada is that guy, then the Giants can focus their post-lockout roster-building on adding potential rotation arms to fill out their depth on that end.