Looking Ahead: 2023 & 2024

At present, the Giants have some good young prospects in their system, but most seem a full year away yet. Here are thoughts on how the team could readily be competitive in 2023 and very competitive in 2024 and beyond.

There are necessarily some assumptions that have to be made in any such planning, but my purpose here is not to say what the Giants have to do or will do, but to show that there are plausible ways forward that are far from impossible.

One critical set of data is who the team might sign as free agents for 2023. I have made some assumptions that are plausible moves if the team is willing to open the coffers.

A point or two before we jump in. One, I assume, on what I think good bases, that every player needs at the very least half-time play--preferably more, say 2/3 or 3/4--to fully use his abilities, but also that each needs at least a day a week off to not flag as the season wears on. Two, of starting pitchers' use in 2022, left-handed starters threw to 28.9% of those batters that faced the starter; by coincidence, 2/7 is 28.6%, which is to say that teams faced a left-handed starter almost exactly 2 days of every 7. In the layouts below, I have used a 7-day week as the planning basis; naturally, it is impossible, for numerous reasons, to exactly follow these--or any--plans, but they are intended to show what is clearly possible.

I will later comment on free agents, but for now I assume the following 2023 signings (or re-signings):

. Evan Longoria [probably relatively cheap & easy]
. Curt Casali [probably relatively cheap & easy]
. Brandon Belt [assuming he can play full time, even if just as DH]
. LF [Joey Gallo or Andrew Benintendi--Gallo assumed below]
. CF [ideally Brandon Nimmo--pay what it takes]
. Carlos Rodón [pay what it takes!]

(Note that if Belt can be an everyday DH but not an everyday first baseman, he and Davis simply swap the roles shown for each below. If Belt cannot even DH on an everyday basis, they could re-sign Pederson andf make him the LH-only DH-only man, with Casali picking up a vs-LHP DH day. I have asumed Belt can at least DH.)

So what would that give us for 2023? On offense, this (where * = bats L, + = bats R, & # = bats S):

vRHP (5 days of 7)
ca: +Bart 4 | +Casali 1
1b: *Belt 5
2b: +Estrada 3 | +Villar 1 | +Flores 1
ss: *Crawford 4 | +Estrada 1
3b: +Villar 3 | +Longoria 2
lf: *Gallo 4 | +Slater 1
cf: *Nimmo 4 | +Slater 1
rf: *Yastrzemski 5
dh: +Davis 5

vLHP (2 days of 7)
ca: +Casali 2
1b: *Belt 1 | +Villar 1
2b: +Flores 2
ss: +Estrada 2
3b: +Longoria 2
lf: *Gallo 2
cf: *Nimmo 2
rf: +Slater 2
dh: +Davis 1 | +Villar 1

Days played by man:
*Belt 6 [1b]
+Villar 6 [1b=1, 2b=1, 3b=3, dh=1]
+Estrada 6 [2b=3, ss=3]
*Gallo 6 [lf]
*Nimmo 6 [cf]
+Davis 6 [dh]
*Yastrzemski 5 [rf]
+Bart 4 [ca]
+Longoria 4 [3b]
*Crawford 4
+Slater 4 [lf=1, cf=1, rf=2]
+Flores 3 [2b]
+Casali 3 [ca]

In pitching, this:

*Carlos Rodón
+Brandon Webb
+Alex Cobb
*Kyle Harrison {if not ready at once, use *Wood}
+Anthony DeSclafani {or, if necessary, +Junis or +Hjelle}

+Camilo Doval
+John Brebbia
+Tyler Rogers
*Jarlín García
*Scott Alexander
+Jakob Junis [RH long man]
*Alex Wood [LH long man]
...and any of the following as may be appropriate & needed:
+Gregory Santos
+Cole Waites
+R. J. Dabovitch
+Landen Roupp
*Thomas Szapucki
+Mauricio Llovera
*Sam Long
*Andrew Vasquez
&c &c

In my opinion, that would be a very solid team, one especially strong in pitching.

Now, what about 2024? By now we assume that some of the farm hands are ready, to wit:

#Patrick Bailey ca
+Marco Luciano ss
+Casey Schmitt 3b
*Grant McCray lf
+Luis Matos cf
+Vaun Brown rf
*Hunter Bishop of

Note that the only important names there are Luciano and Schmitt: that is because the 2023 outfield and second catcher are fine as is (so replacements need not be rushed). The only losses from 2023 needing replacement are 4 days a week each from Longoria and Crawford, and 3 days a week from Flores. (And, in fact, having just one of those two to start with could be made to work, using Flores and an extra day for Estrada.)

But, assuming all are ready, that would give:

vRHP (5 days of 7)
ca: +Bart 2 | #Bailey 3
1b: *Belt 5
2b: +Villar 3 | Estrada 2
ss: +Luciano 4 | +Estrada 1
3b: +Schmitt 5
lf: *McCray 5
cf: +Matos 4 | *Bishop 1
rf: +Brown 4 | *Bishop 1
dh: +Davis 4 | +Villar 1

vLHP (2 days of 7)
ca: +Bart 2
1b: *Belt 1 | +Villar 1
2b: +Estrada 2
ss: +Luciano 2
3b: +Schmitt 1 | +Villar 1
lf: *McCray 1 | *Bishop 1
cf: +Matos 2one
rf: +Brown 2
dh: +Davis 2

Days played by man:
*Belt 6 [1b]
+Villar 6 [1b=1, 2b=3, 3b=1, dh=1]
+Luciano 6 [ss]
+Schmitt 6 [3b]
+Davis 6 [dh]
*McCray 6 [lf]
+Matos 6 [cf]
+Brown 6 [rf]
+Estrada 5 [2b=4, ss=1]
+Bart 4 [ca]
*Bishop 3 [lf=1, cf=1, rf=1]
#Bailey 3 [ca]

(OF play time can be adjusted as required if Bishop turns out to be better than one of the other three.)

The pitching would be as for 2023, unless some prospects rocket their way onto the roster.

(It may be assumed that any names for 2023 not appearing for 2024 have been disposed of, probably by trades for prospects.)

Looks like a winner to me...

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