The Giants are widely expected to be one of the busiest teams in the league this offseason, with the front office reloading after a disappointing 2022 season. President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi met with reporters (including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle) tonight and confirmed the team can play near the top of the market.
Asked about the club’s priorities as a free agent, Zaidi told the media “from a financial point of view, there would be no one who would be beyond our capacity.” He went on to note that they had previously had discussions with representatives of free agent shortstops who expressed their willingness to move to second base in deference to Brandon Crawford (Going through MLB.com’s Jon Morosi). Teams technically aren’t allowed to negotiate contract terms with free agents from other teams until tomorrow night, but they can discuss broader concepts like roster adjustment during the exclusive negotiation period.
Zaidi didn’t specify the players involved, though it’s not hard to infer he’s talking about the best shortstops out there. Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson are going to be priority targets for a number of the game’s top spending teams. It’s worth noting that Zaidi has talked about potentially moving an outside mic to the other side of the bag while keeping Crawford at shortstop, although it is unclear if this is an absolute requirement for any player considered. Scott Boras, who represents both Correa and Bogaerts, told reporters he hasn’t heard of any teams looking to push either player away (link via USA Today’s Bob Nightengale).
While the addition of a top shortstop is plausible for a San Francisco club looking to get younger and more athletic this winter, Zaidi and his group are sure to cast a wide net. The mention of financial means to pursue any available player will lead to further speculation about the best free agent in the market. The Giants are sure to be linked to Judge Aaron throughout the winter, because they are indeed among the best positioned clubs for this kind of expenditure. San Francisco has approximately $72.5 million in secured liabilities on the books, pending an appeal on by Evan Longoria option. Even with a pretty hefty officiating class, the Giants have plenty of room before they approach the $155 million mark on this year’s opening day, and they’re a far cry from franchise records that pushed $200 million. of dollars.
Of course, San Francisco faces a few potential key departures. ace Carlos Rodon pulled out of the second year of his contract and is back on the open market. Zaidi confirmed the club’s obvious decision to tag him with a qualifying offer of $19.65 million (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic), which Rodón is a lock to throw away in pursuit of a deal north of nine figures. That would entitle the Giants to a compensatory draft pick between round B of competitive balance and the third round (about 75th overall) of next year’s draft if the star southpaw leaves.
San Francisco also sees the corner fielder Joc Pederson hit the open market, and while he certainly won’t receive an OQ, Zaidi reiterated that the team would like to keep him (Shea link). The left-handed outfielder posted a .274/.353/.521 line after signing a $6 million guarantee last offseason, and the club discussed a potential extension as early as September. Pederson is sure to beat $6 million this time around and looks like he has a good shot at landing a multi-year contract after his quality platform year.
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