The 2018 Giants have suffered from a combination of bad luck and bad management. Knowing what we know now, what is your biggest regret about the 2017 offseason?
Roger Munter, Minor League Guru
Giancarlo Stanton saying “no thanks”
The bolt of electricity that didn’t join the roster, which not only set up several other Plan B moves, but also set up “avoiding the CBT” as a prime directive for the season. (Second biggest “regret” from this perspective is another player decision -- Johnny Cueto not opting out of his contract.)
Kenny Kelly, Staff Writer
Trading Christian Arroyo for Evan Longoria
I’ve written before that Longoria is projected to be worth more than Arroyo over his remaining tenure with the Giants. When I wrote that, I should have also included the caveat that sometimes projections are wrong. This is a pure gut prediction, but I think Arroyo is going to figure something out and he’s going to be a two to three win player soon. I think Longoria has a few more seasons like that in him. If his hand hadn’t been broken by the Marlins Death Fog, he’d be right there.
Arroyo is probably going to be as valuable as Longoria, and he’s going to be making close to the minimum over the next two years. Meanwhile, Longoria is going to cost the Giants $15-19 million every year until 2022. That’s going to hurt their chances of picking up players via free agency.
It’s a bit of a moot point, though. The only reason Arroyo is going to be more valuable is because the Rays have much better player development, and just because the Giants would have extra money to spend in free agency doesn’t mean they would use it wisely. Knowing the Giants, they’d probably just spend that money on Adam Jones. You know how much they love their centerfielders over 30.
Bryan Murphy, Chief Dipshit
It’s a move that created the need for another move that could’ve been a different move that better helped the team beyond salary relief.
Sami Higgins, Deputy Editor
I have a hard time having regrets about the offseason, because there was no way to predict just how horribly wrong things would go due to injury. They did what they needed to do and could do in order to address the needs facing them. And if you’ll remember, they did more than most teams in an offseason that froze out most of the free agents. I think they set themselves up to be in a position to compete, and then were hindered before the season even started.
They were set to have a core three of the rotation be a healthy Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija and they have never had that this season. Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen were supposed to help liven up the offense but Longoria spent six weeks on the DL after heating up and McCutchen is hitting the ball but overall having awful luck with the results this year. That’s in addition to injuries to the players they already had. You can’t predict or plan for that.
While it would have been nice to have been able to get Giancarlo Stanton, Stanton doesn’t fix what’s wrong with the Giants this year. And frankly, in a season where they emphasize again and again how they are not interested in going over the salary cap, I don’t see how they could have afforded him.
Actually, I do have one. It would have been nice to see Steven Duggar get the roster spot from the beginning of the season, but again, no way to know how bad Austin Jackson was going to be and they did move on from him fairly quickly so it’s not a huge regret.
Brady Klopfer of The Athletic
Not trading for Gerrit Cole
When the Pirates decided to rebuild, it went quickly. Cole went to the Astros for a relatively modest package, and a few days later, Andrew McCutchen was headed to San Francisco for an equally modest package. I liked the McCutchen trade, but couldn’t help but wonder why the team didn’t try to nab both of Pittsburgh’s exciting available talents. They had to have been on the phone with the Pirates when the Cole trade went down, yet they didn’t want to make a better offer? The Giants could have matched Houston’s package without losing anything too important, and Cole - who still has another year of arbitration and is young enough to back up the Brink’s truck for in extension talks - would fit both their desire to contend now, and their desire to remain contenders for the foreseeable future.
San Francisco had no way of knowing that their starting rotation would become an army of popped balloons, but old players don’t get younger, so buying low on a young, highly-talented pitcher who is now on pace for his third season of 200+ innings in the last four years would have been smart. Plus, brothers-in-law on the same team would be one helluva marketing gimmick.
Carmen Kiew of KNBR
Going for Giancarlo Stanton instead of Christian Yelich
While the whole town and the Giants front office was pining away for Giancarlo Stanton, I wanted to fish something else out from the Marlin’s pond (see what I did there). Christian Yelich.
While Giancarlo is older (he’s 28, Yelich is 26), that’s not even the main reason I would prefer Yelich. First of all, Giancarlo is literally signed for a million years. A MILLION. I mean technically it’s through 2028 but holy crap, isn’t he going to be a withered husk of a man at that point? Also, the game will probably be completely different with Robo-Umps and bullpen carts made of solid gold and day-old hot dogs. You can’t predict the game that far down the line and you certainly can’t predict if he will still be able to hit baseballs to the moon, amirite?
Secondly, holy mother of god, they are paying Giancarlo so much money. I was joking about bullpen carts made of gold but Giancarlo probably actually owns them for the sole purpose of getting from his front door to his mailbox. What do you even do with money like that?! Yelich is a far more cost-efficient player and I would argue you really don’t lose that much outside of power when you compare their baseball production long-term.
Finally, the Giants are a team that moves the line. You can argue they need power and yeah, they probably do, but moreover I like a guy who can drive the ball, be agile on the basepaths and in a park like AT&T, Yelich is a far superior defender.
Also fam, I just wanna be honest. I think they had a wayyyy better shot at Christian Yelich than they ever had at Giancarlo Stanton. Chasing Stanton seemed like a fantasy. Yelich seemed like it might actually be able to happen.
Regrets. They eat me up inside.
Doug Bruzzone, World’s Biggest Star Trek: Voyager fan
No regrets… unless...
This was an absurdly tough offseason for the front office, and that’s an easy thing to forget. If they wanted to go for it, well, guess what, last year was a disaster and just turning that team into a not-disaster took tons of money and prospects. If they wanted to tank, ownership would have fired their asses in half a second flat and replaced them with people who didn’t want to tank and would be very happy to look like they were competing, yes sir, this team can win Mr. Johnson, please keep signing checks with my name on them, please and thank you.
It would be easy to say Austin Jackson is the biggest regret of the offseason, because the signing didn’t work out. But on the other hand, what if the net effect of that was a good thing? Let’s now take a trip to the universe where they didn’t sign Jackson.
Steven Duggar is the Opening Day center fielder. He immediately goes into a slump (just like he did in AAA in our, equally real, universe). After a week of Bochy publicly backing him and team officials anonymously saying even if he’s not hitting his defense makes him worth putting in the lineup, he starts losing playing time. He’s never able to get out of his slump. He gets sent to AAA. There, he immediately starts hitting. A month later, he gets called up. Slump. KNBR callers say he’s a AAAA player. The team still isn’t good, but now we also have to fight a new version of the Belt Wars. Do you want that? DO YOU WANT THAT?
I just don’t trust the effects of altering the past in big ways. Never have, never will, unless someone alters the past so I do. So looking back on it, I think the main thing I’d try to do is, hot on the heels of his extremely impressive spring, I’d try like heck to trade Josh Osich before the regular season started and he reverted back to 2017 Osich. In 11 spring innings, he struck out 16, walked 3, only allowed six hits, and didn’t give up a run. He’s a lefty with fantastic stuff on a cheap contract. Someone must have seen that combination of scouting and stats and said, “Yeah, I want him!” Someone would have been willing to give up a prospect.
In conclusion, I don’t see a significantly better road for the 2018 Giants. But I do see a road where I didn’t have to watch Josh Osich pitch for the Giants this year, which is a significantly better road for me.