Greek Giant

Hahahahahahaha! That sound you hear is my laughing my ass off in Italy. Yesterday I wrote that Michael Conforto will likely choose to stay with the Giants and earn his $18 million because he knew he was not getting anything close to that on the open market after a year where he was barely replacement level (.7 WAR) for the Giants. There were all kinds of rumors and nonsense about Conforto getting a multi-year deal since he is a Scott Boras client… Yeah right. Conforto is not getting any younger at age 30 and has an injury history that gives teams nothing but red flags. I expect he will be traded before the season begins because, quite frankly, the Giants do not need another aging, not very athletic outfielder who cannot hit homers like he used to. Conforto was a guy that at one time, early in his career with the Mets, looked like he would be a superstar. It never happened.

With Sean Manaea choosing to walk, Ross Stripling opting in, and the Giants choosing to retain Alex Cobb, as I thought they would, the San Francisco Ballclub now has $40 million to their payroll for 2024 that at one time may not have been so obvious.

The Giants now have more than $100 million committed to nine players: Conforto, Stripling, Cobb, Haniger, Taylor Rogers and Logan Webb. The team may end up spending more than $30 million on arbitration eligible studs (See yesterday’s post) like J. D. Davis, Thairo, Wade Jr. Yaz, and Slater. Though I do not see Slater on the 2024 roster for the whole season. Tyler Rogers is also arb-eligible and he deserves a raise.

I’m happy about the Alex Cobb decision. It’s a good move, despite Cobb’s upcoming hip surgery.

What Does This Mean for the Giants This Offseason?

With both Conforto and Haniger on the books going into 2024 for the Giants I expect one or both players to be dealt. Both are expendable, to put it kindly. Both are getting paid a ton of money. Based on their production last season and all the games each player missed due to injury, it is difficult to envision the Giants retaining the two veterans. Why? Because neither has proven to be of much value so far and the Giants have comparable options with potentially much higher ceilings and much lower salaries in youth like Matos, Meckler, Johnson. I am tired of the over-the-hill over paid veterans. The time has come to sign stars or let the kids play, one or the other. No more Hanigers! No more Confortos! Let Slater walk. He’s too injury-prone for a platoon player. Yaz would be worth keeping as a fourth outfielder primarily for his defense.

With regards to Manaea, who will not be a Giant under Bob Melvin in 2024, the Giants will need more starting pitching to replace him. I expect deals to involve Conforto, Haniger, Joey Bart, a few throw-away Minor Leaguers. There will be. many questions too, regarding how much better the Giants can make their roster. It will likely take major overpays for players like Nola, Snell, and Gurriel Jr. to play for the Giants, for many reasons. Forget about Shohei Ohtani. The Giants are waaay too far away from contending to spend so big on an Ohtani-type contract. It will not be worth it and I would not do it. My guess is the Giants will improve the roster through some combination of free agent signings and non-risky trades.

Future Financial Flexibility

For the 2025 and beyond the Giants have a wide-open payroll as only Logan Webb and Mitch Haniger are under contract for that year. That’s kind of remarkable but it is how the current Giant regime built this team: with financial flexibility, short-term contracts (except for Logan) and future roster flexibility. In other words, the Giants, for the better part of the last five years, were being run like a small-market team, or a team that was in re-building mode, notwithstanding the attempts to sign big names like Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa. That financial flexibility means the Giants can swing big now and next year when it comes to free agent signings.

Logan Webb Named Cy Young Award Finalist

Logan Webb along with Zac Gallen and Blake Snell were all named National League Cy Young Award finalists by Major League Baseball. MLB is doing a new thing by announcing finalists and creating a bit of suspense with a dash of drama until they announce all the awards next week on MLB Network. Congratulations to Logan Webb!