Welcome! It’s officially MLB Free Agency, now the worst time of the year. Baseball has always been an aggressively nihilistic beast, with teams “controlling the rights” to their “property” — “the player” — and always, always looking for ways to game the wildly advantageous and profitable revenue split system to their benefit.
The nerds have reprogrammed us to accept the new status quo of no action but inaction for the next few months, and the Giants, now being on the forefront of analytics, industry-wide, figure to be no different. The current organization is also, as you know, one of the worst pro sports franchises in the galaxy, and don’t figure to be any more competitive than an Single-A team for the next 3-5 years, if ever. Remember: a rebuild is not guaranteed to succeed and what’s genius and cutting edge today can very easily become overnight the 2017 Giants. That means we shouldn’t expect any splashy free agent signings or even a series of mid-range or “team-friendly” deals that can help the Giants in 2020.
It’ll be a lot like last year, most likely, where the team focuses on adding at the margins just to get through the 162-game season. The added wrinkle, of course, is that this year, there’s no farewell tour for Bruce Bochy and Madison Bumgarner and, therefore, absolutely no reason to even give the vague appearance of attempting to compete.
We’re set for a battle of wits between the front office and the game itself. We know the front office is going to lose the battle, to the tune of 80-90 games, but the plan is to win the war — at some unknown point in the future. But this year? It’s going to be really boring, and completely worth your valuable time right now preparing to never get your hopes up or have any interest in any of the following free agents who would surely make the Giants even slightly better heading into 2020.
Scott Boras Division
Oh, the Giants will probably be linked to a couple of these guys, but there can be no doubt that the team has become Boras Corp.’s personal stalking horse. They’re wealthy enough to potentially offer sweet deals, but bad enough that a better team could easily get a Boras client for more than the initial offer, if not less than what the Giants put up.
Larry Baer’s craven need for billboards will surely factor into the Giants’ interest, and as we saw in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, Farhan Zaidi is willing to play along to craft a deal, but this crop of clients aren’t in a situation where they actually need the Giants. Sure, they’re looking to get one last big payday, but they’re also just young enough or talented enough to be desired by many other more successful teams that are in situations better than the Giants, short-term.
Oh, did you think there was going to be analyses? No. Just a list of names. You get to walk the showroom, but you know the Giants can’t afford to sit in any of these models.
The Giants Are An Unbearably Awful Franchise, And Figure To Be For Many, Many, Many, Many, Many Years Division
These are players who don’t want to spend their last 2-3 years of useful baseball life and earning potential with a moribund franchise and a learn-as-he-goes manager. These are players who might even be willing to take slightly less money just to avoid the Giants. A reminder that some of them will have qualifying offers attached (that’s the *) to them, and this list assumes that all will be declined so that the player becomes a free agent. That’s not going to be the case, of course, but we’re just making a quick and dirty list here, people.
Adam Eaton (team option)
Sean Doolittle (team option)
They’ll Cost More Than The Giants Would Want To Spend Division
For the most part, you can look at this as players who would seek major league deals and could probably get them. But the Giants probably don’t want to give out too many major league deals, especially to players who aren’t better than league average or over 30. And they certainly don’t want to compete for anyone’s services, not when the team itself won’t be competitive anytime soon.
Genuinely Bad / Close to Retirement Division
Jung Ho Kang
Billy Hamilton*Carlos Gomez