In the frenzy of the media lockout, and the Giants claiming and then losing players in a heady rush, it’s a good time to take a step back before the start of spring training and understand who the Giants have actually added to their major-league roster. From Zaidi’s comments earlier, it sounds like there are unlikely to be any more major moves before the start of the season.
Farhan Zaidi said Giants still could add if there’s the right fit, but “we feel pretty set on the position player side.”— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 17, 2022
So... who are the new Giants? I’m going to break down every major league free-agent contract the Giants tendered this offseason (Carlos Martinez, for example, is not included here because it is a minor-league contract). Despite having ~$100m in payroll flexibility, the Giants didn’t find any players they thought were worth committing over $50m to. The longest contract the Giants handed out was to Anthony DeSclafani, who signed for 3 years; the most expensive contract went to Carlos Rodón, who signed for 2 years/$44 million.
Anthony DeSclafani, RH SP (3 years, $36 million)
2021 Stats: 13-7, 3.17 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 3.0 fWAR in 167.1 IP
DeSclafani, also known as “Disco,” was a stalwart of the Giants rotation last year. Resigning him was an offseason priority that should anchor the rotation. Disco features a four-pitch mix: a fastball he can four-seam and sink, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. Both the fastball and the slider were well above average in 2021. Disco will likely be the third starter behind Webb, the projected Opening Day starter, and Carlos Rodón.
Alex Cobb, RH SP (2 years, $20 million)
2021 Stats: 8-3, 3.76 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 2.5 fWAR in 93.1 IP
Alex Cobb spent the 2021 season with the Los Angeles Angels, although he made just 18 starts after dealing with wrist inflammation and blisters. When he was pitching, he was highly effective, featuring a fastball, slider, changeup, curveball mix, with his changeup by far his most valuable pitch. If he can stay healthy, he’ll likely be a 4/5 starter in this rotation.
Alex Wood, LH SP/RP (2 years, $25 million)
2021 Stats: 10-4, 3.83 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 2.5 fWAR in 138.1 IP
Alex Wood spent the season with the Giants, rewarding their faith by posting his best season since 2017. Although he spent some time out of commission with COVID-19, he still made 26 starts. Wood features a three-pitch mix, with a sinking fastball, slider, and a changeup. He is very effective at limiting walks and tended to give the Giants excellent opportunities to win in his starts. Along with Cobb, Wood rounds out the back of a solid 6-man rotation.
Jake Junis, RHP SP/RP (1 year, $1.7 million)
2021 Stats: 2-4, 5.26 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 0.5 fWAR in 39.1 IP
Jakob “Jake” Junis is a right-handed pitcher that began his career as a starter but tended to come out of the bullpen for the Kansas City Royals in recent years. Junis serves as insurance for the oft-injured starters the Giants will be leaning on, as well as the potential for a swingman role out of the bullpen. Junis’ numbers have not been impressive, but the Giants have had a recent talent for getting the best out of their pitchers. Junis features a five-pitch mix, with a fastball he can four-seam, cut, and sink, as well as a changeup and a slider. Only his slider was worth positive value in 2021, but watch to see the Giants exploit that for as much as possible.
Carlos Rodón, LH SP (2 years, $44 million)
2021 Stats: 13-5, 2.37 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 4.9 fWAR in 132.2 IP
Carlos Rodón was by far the biggest signing (to date) of the Giants offseason. A pitcher that struggled to find his groove with the Chicago White Sox, he posted the best year of his career in 2021, finishing 5th in AL Cy Young voting. Rodón has struggled with injuries throughout his career, pitching more than 160 innings just once. But when he’s healthy, he can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. He features a four-pitch mix, with a fastball, changeup, slider, and curveball, though the latter is rarely used. His fastball/slider combo is elite and was valued as such during the 2021 season. If Rodón is healthy, look for him to be the #2 behind Logan Webb.
Matthew Boyd (1 year, $5.2 million)
2021 Stats: 3-8, 3.89 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 1.4 fWAR in 78.2 IP
Matt Boyd has spent his entire career with the Tigers and has put up multiple seasons of durable league-average performance. However, he suffered a flexor tendon injury in 2021, limiting him to just 78.2 innings, and the surgery he underwent to repair it will keep him out of commission until at least the summer. Still, if Boyd can perform as he did with the Tigers, the Giants will have a fresh arm down the stretch for just $5 million. When he’s healthy, Boyd features a five-pitch mix, with a fastball he can four-seam or sink, and a changeup, slider, and curve. Both his fastball and changeup were a tick above average in 2021, so look to see the Giants utilize that once Boyd returns.
Joc Pederson, LH OF/1B (1 year, $6 million)
2021 Stats: .238/.310/.422, 18 HR, 61 RBI, 0.6 fWAR in 481 PAs
After designating Alex Dickerson for assignment, the Giants likely felt that they needed a power-hitting LH bat who could play some OF. Pederson had multiple years of being an elite hitter, even serving as the Dodgers’ starting CF for a while, but has struggled to find his swing at the plate, especially against lefties. Still, Pederson offers 30-40 HR potential, a thump that the Giants haven’t had in a long time. He’s also gotten the reputation for being clutch, as the Braves’ run to the World Series this past season was highly dependent on Joctober, Pederson’s ability to get big hits in crucial moments.
The conclusion of this Giants offseason is that there isn’t much they feel that they need to change. They tendered a QO to Brandon Belt, which he accepted, and extended Crawford during the season. The Giants likely feel confident in their mix of bats, most of whom had career years in 2021. Although fans might have hoped for the Giants to sign an impact bat, it looks unlikely; whether that was because the Giants missed out on players, like Suzuki, or didn’t find them worth paying for, like Bryant, is up for debate.
The Giants spent most of the offseason quietly getting better. They have one of the deepest rotations in baseball, with all five spots manned by guys who could be #3s in most rotations in baseball. Webb and Rodón, if both healthy, could be an excellent pair of co-aces. Their bullpen is mostly untouched from last year. This new iteration of the Giants will be built on platoon matchups, mixing and matching bats, and a little bit of magic fairy dust. Hey, it worked last year!