San Francisco Giants: What’s Going on in the Offseason?


Much like Bruce Bochy in the picture above, a lot of San Francisco Giants’ fans are left scratching their heads this offseason. The Giants have missed out on big name after big name, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Pablo Sandoval broke thousands of hearts by signing with the Boston Red Sox, despite being offered the same contract by both the Giants and Boston, making it seem like the Giants never had a chance to re-sign him. Jon Lester spurned San Francisco after a lengthy bidding war to become the savior of the Chicago Cubs.

Michael Morse signed with the Miami Marlins, where he can play first base and have his lack of speed on defense hidden. The Giants were never truly in on Morse, as they would rather have a defensive stalwart in left field, but losing Morse has hurt, not only the lineup, but the fanbase. The Beast had become a true fan favorite in just one season, and whoever plays left field will have to be as lovable as the big man, leaving big shoes to fill.

The Giants also fell short in their pursuits of Chase Headley and Cuban phenom Yasmany Tomas. However, they had lifted off the throttle on both players before Headley chose the New York Yankees and Tomas picked the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team was concerned about Headley’s previous back problems, as well as his inconsistent hitting, and didn’t feel he warranted the 4-year, $52 million contract he signed. Tomas is an unproven commodity, and there was concern over how he could handle major league pitching.

Oct 25, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo reacts after retiring the Kansas City Royals in the 8th inning during game four of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants got their offseason started on Wednesday, later than most teams, by signing setup man Sergio Romo to a 2-year, $15 million deal. While this may not seem like a big deal, the signing fills one of the holes on the Giants’ roster. The Giants were in need of a right-handed eighth-inning reliever, as question marks surround Hunter Strickland and Jean Machi.

This seems to be the beginning for the Giants, as they have their thumbs in a number of books around the league. Most prominently, the orange and black are taking a long, hard look at right-handed ace James Shields. The 33-year old right-hander led the Kansas City Royals to the World Series, but ultimately fell short to San Francisco. Shields is reportedly seeking a five-year contract worth between $85 and $100 million, which compared to Lester’s deal, would be a bargain.

The Giants cast a wide net after Lester signed with Chicago, a net including the big fish on the market, Max Scherzer. However, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that he was told they have no plans to pursue Scherzer. He also stated the Giants don’t want to participate in a “long-winded process,” as they would rather add a starter very soon. Scott Boras, Scherzer’s agent, is known as the king of long-winded processes, so it seems the Giants would rather not do business with him. That makes Shields the logical option.

The Giants have also been linked to Jake Peavy, another familiar face. Peavy was a key cog to the stretch-run last year after being acquired at the deadline, and played a large hand in helping the Giants win their third World Series title in the last half-decade. Peavy is reportedly looking for a two-year deal, and could still be a possibility, even if the Giants do lasso Shields.

Oct 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera (3) reacts after hitting a double in the third inning against the San Francisco Giants in game two of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Another free agent the Giants have checked in on is infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera has mostly played shortstop and second base in his career. Well, those positions are tied up with Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik. Panik is a team-player, however, and has said he would be willing to move to third base in the event of Cabrera’s signing. Cabrera has already stated he’d rather not play third.

The possibility of a trade with the Atlanta Braves still exists. While the Giants don’t exactly have the pieces to sweeten the pot for Atlanta, the Braves are intent on trading Justin Upton, Evan Gattis or Chris Johnson. Mark Bowman of reports that the Braves are still talking to at least five teams, although those teams were not named. The San Diego Padres were seen as a potential suitor, but the Wil Myers-trade seems to take them out of the running. If the process drags out, and things get truly desperate for the Braves, the Giants may be able to swoop in and steal Gattis or Upton for cheap.

Jung-ho Kang is another intriguing player, and the Giants are among the teams to “check in” on him, according to Jon Heyman. The 27-year old Korean superstar caught a lot of attention from major league teams after his huge 2014 in the Korean Baseball Organization. He hit .354/.457/.733 with 39 home runs and 117 RBI’s. Although he played shortstop in the KBO, question surround his defense and arm strength, and he is seen as more of a major league second or third-baseman. If the Giants sign Kang, that could create another scenario where Panik moves to third.

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Other question surrounding Kang include his offense. The KBO is known as a hitter-friendly league, so it’s unclear how Kang will handle major league-level pitching. However, with numbers that huge, Kang should be able to transition to become at least a serviceable major league-hitter. He will also be quite expensive, as his posting fee will most likely be between $5 and $15 million, and that’s just to win exclusive negotiation rights. Bids for Kang must be submitted by Friday, at 5pm EST/2pm PST. He is expected to garner a three-year contract, worth about $24 million, based on talks at the Winter Meeting. The contract itself will be a bargain, if his offensive numbers translate.

The Giants have also signed four players to minor-league deals, three of them coming on Friday, December 5th, in the form of Justin Maxwell, Cory Gearrin, and Nik Turley. The teams then added Merced, California-native Curtis Partch on Tuesday. Those players add depth, and Maxwell could surprise some people in the left field battle.

This offseason, the Giants are doing what they always do; playing it quiet. The last big free agent signing for San Francisco was Barry Zito in 2007. His 7-year, $126 million contract was, at the time, the richest ever for a pitcher. Zito didn’t pitch as well as he was paid, but he did lead the Giants to a World Series Championship in 2012, when the world-famous “Rally Zito” was born. The Giants were burned in that deal for the most part, and they may be weary of having that happen again.

The front office has been shrewd thus far, and careful not to overspend on players like Headley and Tomas. They do have the money to spend, so expect them to spend it soon.