NL West First Look – SF Giants

Yesterday I wrote about the Padres because of the late signing of Manny Machado. The Padres have suffered mightily for many years, but appear to be on the verge of not only being respectable, but also a contender in a year or two, depending on their pitching progress. Today I suffer because I am writing about the hated Giants. The best thing about the Giants is that they are projected for 5th and last place in the NL West.

The Giants are now four years removed from their WS championship, and they still have 6 members of that team on their current roster – MadBum, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Pablo Sandoval.

The Giants’ player losses are not too problematic. Key losses include Hunter Pence, Hunter Strickland, Gorkys Hernandez, Gregor Blanco, and Nick Hundley.

For Farhan Zaidi, it looks like deja vu all over again. By my count (certainly nothing official about it), the Giants have acquired 32 players. Broken down there were 22 players signed to minor league contracts, 5 claimed off waivers, 2 acquired via trade and 3 free agent signings. The two acquired via trade were RHRP, Trevor Gott from the Washington Nationals, and the second was former Dodger Breyvic Valera from the O’s. The three free agent signings were LHSP Drew Pomeranz, LHSP Derek Holland, and SRP former Dodger Pat Venditte.

Two players claimed off waivers that may see some ML time this year are SS Hanser Alberto claimed from the O’s and RHRP Jose Lopez claimed from the Reds.

Most of us have not heard of many of the players signed to minor league contracts, but there are some notable ML players and former Dodger farm hands.

OF –Gerardo Parra,Cameron Maybin,Drew Ferguson, and former Dodger farm hand,Henry Ramos (pictured). As an aside, I chose Henry Ramos as a Portland Sea Dog as that is one of my very favorite locations to see a minor league baseball game.

Catchers – Steven Vogt, Rene Rivera, Cameron Rupp, and another former Dodger farm hand Hamlet Marte.

Infielders – Yangervis Solarte and former Dodger farm hand Donovan Solano.

The Giants seem to be taking a different tact than did the Padres. The Giants apparently believe they can still semi-compete without doing a total tear down. However, outside of MadBum and a couple of relievers, principally Will Smith, Tony Watson, and Sam Dyson, the other players have too large of contracts to be considered tradeable with a good return of prospects.

Multi-year committed contractual dollars:

Buster Posey– 3 years plus option year – $66.5MM

Johnny Cueto– 3 years plus option year – $63MM

Evan Longoria– 4 years plus option year – $61.5MM

Brandon Belt– 3 years – $51.6MM

Brandon Crawford– 3 years – $45.6MM

Jeff Samardzija– 2 years – $39.6MM

Mark Melancon– 2 years – $28MM

Like the Dodgers, the Giants have a lot of pitching depth. However, it is not nearly as good talent wise. With Johnny Cueto still expected to be out for the entire season, projected starting pitchers are:


Jeff Samardzija(RHP

Derek Holland(LHP)

Drew Pomeranz(LHP)

Dereck Rodriguez(RHP)

Others that will be considered for a spot in the rotation are:

Andrew Suarez(LHP)/Ty Blach(LHP)/Tyler Beede(RHP)

There will also be deep relievers, but again not as talented as LAD, but they should be fairly good. This is undoubtedly the strength of the team.

Closer –Mark Melancon(RHP)

LHRP –Will Smith, Tony Watson, Steven Okert

RHRP –Sam Dyson, Trevor Gott, Reyes Moronta, Chris Stratton, and Ray Black

Suarez, Beede, and Blach will not only get consideration as starters but also for relief. A couple of late minor league signings that could warrant consideration as dark horse candidates are RHRP Nick Vincent and LHRP Fernando Abad. I would also assume that Pat Venditte will garner his share of frequent flyer miles from Sacramento. Jose Lopez is another RHP to keep an eye on.

Buster Posey should be the opening day starter unless he is not fully healed from last years hip surgery. Aramis Garcia is the only other catcher on the 40 man, but I would expect Rene Rivera or Steven Vogt to get a chance to break camp with the ML team, especially if Posey is not ready.

The infield is a veteran group and should be set for the season until the first injury hits. After that? Who knows? The offense has been questionable, but the defense is solid.

1B –Brandon Belt

2B –Joe Panik

3B –Evan Longoria

SS –Brandon Crawford

The reserve infielders should bePablo Sandovalfor 3B/1B (2014 WS Roster), and I am going withYangervis SolarteoverAlen Hansonas the middle infield reserve.

The OF is a mess for the Giants. The five OF on the 40 man have a combined 905 PA, led by Austin Slater and his 352 PA.

Mac Williamson (LF)– 339 PA – .222/.295/.386/.681

Austin Slater (RF)– 352 PA – .263/.335/.342/.677

Steven Duggar (CF)– 152 PA – .255/.303/.390/.693

Chris Shaw (LF)– 62 PA – .185/.274/.278/.552

Drew Ferguson– No MLB PA

This seems to be wide open for Gerardo Parra and Cameron Maybin to make the roster out of camp. I would be very surprised if both do not make the 25 man roster.

Gerardo Parra– 10 years – 4,882 PA – .278/.325/.405/.730

Cameron Maybin– 12 years – 3,848 PA – .254/.322/.368/.690

The Giants are still in the hunt for Bryce Harper and if there is a team that really needs a RF with his offensive skills, it is the Giants. Will Farhan pull the trigger?

The farm system is relatively poor with the exception of #1 catcher prospect,Joey Bart. Bart (22) was the Giants 1st round draft pick in the 2018 amateur draft, and is the #23 overall prospect. He will be pushed and pushed hard. The other decent prospect is 19 year old OF,Heliot Ramoswho is the #74 overall prospect. The #1 pitching prospect is 24 year old,Shaun Anderson. Anderson is not a top 100 prospect. Anderson was acquired from the Red Sox in the Eduardo Nunez trade.

It will be interesting to read about the Giants trials and tribulations this year as they decide what direction to take. I would expect Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Tony Watson, and perhaps Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson to be moved at the trade deadline to try and rebuild that farm system. But with their bloated contracts, they are stuck with too many unmoveable players. The Giants have no depth, and they have not corrected last year’s horrendous offense. The Giants over/under win mark is set at 73, and projected to be a fifth place team in the NL West.

This article has 58 Comments

  1. I don’t know for sure AC but I think you missed your calling. Another great job with a first look.
    The Giants do seem to be in a mess but personally I am not very upset. Well, not upset at all. Those long term, expensive contracts do have to be paid and there is a price for the team to pay but not just in dollars. The maneuverability and flexibility that is lost must feel like the GM is in a strangle hold. Not only that the law of diminishing returns seems to set in early on the field.

  2. The giants in last place is nothing but happiness. Nothing more today, 4 inches of snow last night making 18 inches this week and a record 38 inches this month,the snowmobile is ready to go and Dakota and myself are heading out the door.

  3. San Francisco fans can be annoying. The Giants are not. I was a Dodger fan when they were still in Brooklyn and Snider and Mays were crosstown competitors. Both teams had to agree to relocate to California or it easily could have been other teams that eventually moved to LA. The teams will forever be connected. I prefer to appreciate both franchises and their histories.

    There were many years where the only Dodger games televised were road games played in SF and road games played on Sunday. Those SF Giant teams had players like Mays, Cepeda, McCovey, Hart, the Alou brothers, Marichal. We knew them because that was the team on TV with the Dodgers. I didn’t like Bonds but when I watched him hit, it was uniquely interesting.

    I am not a Giant hater. I don’t think about them. I look forward to a time when the Giants are competitive again. That said, go Dodgers.

  4. First n foremost, a shout out to Quas… Happy B-day and keep on keeping on!!!
    This gave me a warm feeling in todays L.A. Times Sports pg.
    “Dodgers had no directive to stay under luxury tax, chairman Mark Walter says”…
    Say what???

    1. This is why I dislike the “fish hacks” who write this stuff.

      The writer framed the question like this:

      So, was there a directive from the top to not exceed the luxury tax threshold again?

      To which Walter said “NO!”

      I would have askedSo, The LA Times obtained a document prepared by Guggenheim Partners which purports that the Dodgers will stay below the luxury tax threshold for the next four years. As Chairman of Guggs, you surely knew about that document, so was that true or is what you are saying now true? Maybe you did not tell Kasten and Friedman that they could go over the LTT, but you did tell potential investors you would not, so is that the truth or a lie?

      Of course, he would never do another interview with me, but you see how writers just don;t ask the hard, right questions.

  5. I’ll take the under on 73. And I’ll take the under on Farhan’s contract. Bad team, bad farm. Nothing going on up there, but the DBags might just give them a fight for last place.

    Unlike Bums, I can appreciate the fact that they moved to California together, and the historic players that donned the pumpkin colors without giving them any love whatsoever. I’ve been to Candlestick and have experienced the dirty stinking hated ones first hand. For that, I only have feelings of hatred and disgust for them. But, I will acknowledge their recent run of success and tip my cap to them.

    They still have a few years of bad contracts to get through and should be pretty bad for a while as a result. This brings me to the question. Would you be willing to suck for an extended period of time to win a few World Series? Think about that when we’re unwilling to overpay on a contract from time to time.

    It was a great start to Spring yesterday. Joc’s seems to be leading the LF competition after day 1, and he looks NOT FAT. What a blast! Like MT, Rios got my attention with that play at 3B. Gavin Lux looks like a ballplayer, what a sweet swing. Marnes made me forget about JTRM for a day. RedTurn2 can fall out of bed and hit. Kike looks like he got stronger / thicker getting his man strength. Not bad for the good guys who were without Belli, Seager, Pollock and Taylor. I wish they had a radar gun on Stetson Allie, he looks like a beast on the hill, and what a great name! Dick Mountain is ageless like Jaime Moyer. Yimi Garcia looks like me might have a career after all. Sborz really got my attention with his easy inning.

  6. Well ownership can say what they want but they are evaluating AF on more than just winning. As the initial contract of AF comes to an end he is going to say look at our performance. We win the division every year and have gone to the World Series two years in a row while turning a profit for you guys. Who could do any better? Hopefully, as expected they will get together on a contract to continue his good work with the appropriate raise. We will win another division and maybe get to the World Series only to flameout still trying to ride Clayton Kershaw. AF is not going to sign a high priced free agent on the open market. He is not about to take the plunge and go over the luxury tax. Kasten ditto for all the same reasons. Those guys are happy to win divisions and have a shot at the World Series while seeking every bargain they can find. We are missing that one guy like mad bum, Pedro, schilling, who we can ride to a championship. That may be buehler or urias. They seem to think it is kershaw I just disagree for obvious reasons. Financially, we still have kazmir and sierra on the books until 2022. Two terrible investments with little value. The trade, the Cuban contracts, and kazmir, McCarthy,, Anderson set us back for years. AF will not truly get out from under those mistakes until 2022 so wisely he will stay under the luxury tax to keep from further dope fiend moves. The next year or two the Dodgers will continue to improve their financial situation and risk contracts with blue light specials and injury prone guys like pollock. I believe he will try to sign bellinger, seager, etc which will be huge but they have got to get that hot, dominant starter like hershiser. Maybe we will have it with buehler or urias or someone we don’t have yet.

    1. Dead money on the books:

      $33 Million in 2019 ($21 million from before Friedman with the A-Gon Salary Dump)
      $11 Million in 2020
      $8.5 Million in 2021

      The Giants would LOVE to have that problem!

    2. Yeah, that’s what they were saying about bullpen arms, but now you have to scratch that off the list. Here’s my prediction. They will spend when it makes sense to and they will exceed the CBT before Kershaw’s contract is up. That’s because Kasten and Friedmen are smarter than all the fans on this site. For every Kazmir, there’s a Taylor, for every McCarthy, there’s a Muncy etc. For every injury prone player like Pollock, there’s a guy like Edmonds who all the sudden isn’t injury prone any more. You did a great job pointing out their bad moves, but gave no credit for their good ones. We won the West for 6 years and went to the WS the last two. There isn’t a team in baseball that have won that consistently in the last 6 years, or sold as many tickets, or signed as lucrative a TV deal. We might have a Championship if it wasn’t for Roberts being an idiot, which has little to do with player personnel. I would love to see a Boss move like trading for Stanton, or Yelich. But, those guys haven’t won a World Series either. I was excited about the possibility of getting a Bryce or a Manny this offseason. As the off-season developed, we learned that those guys value money over winning. Those are the guys that play for the name on the back of their jerseys. I’m fine with waiting for and getting guys who play for the name on the front.

      1. the reason we don’t have a ring or 3 isn’t Doc; it’s the “greatest pitcher of this generation” becoming Brett Anderson every October (well except in 2015 vs the Mets; he was very good in that series)

        1. I’ll concede some. 60/40 Doc to Kershaw. In 2017, Kershaw pitched 6 games in the postseason, all of them at least 4 innings. He gave up 2 runs or less in 4 of them. He sucked last year. Doc pulled Rich Hill too early in both World Series putting unnecessary pressure in his pen which wilted under the workload. I could go on, and on, and on, about all the stupid moves, but that has been talked to death. If you choose to diminish all the bad moves, I’m not going to convince you anyways. But, when the hosts on your own pre-game show (who are former players and a former GM) talk about your bad moves, you have to acknowledge that there’s more than just opinion.

          1. oh i agree about pulling Hill. Both times. Hell, yesterday I was ready to type “wow, Hill 7 great pitches in his inning of work, and Doc pulls him early again!”

  7. According to Spotrac: 2020 homer bailey 5,000,000 hector olivero 4,666,667 retained and kazmir 8,000,000 sierra 6,500,000 deferred equals 24 mil plus. 2021 kazmir 8,000,000 Sierra 8,500,000 deferred equals 16, 500, 000 these figures may not be accurate but this is where I got them.

    1. Two different categories. Olivero, Sierra, Kazmir are actual dollars, but they do not count against the CBT threshold. I think they are comfortable paying deferred money (Kazmir), or bad contracts like Olivero and Sierra, but they do not want to go above the threshold. That is the line they always talk about not crossing.

      1. Agreed, doesn’t count toward the luxury tax but ownership still have to pay. I doubt they are comfortable about paying dead money to players who aren’t contributing. But,I realize this helps to keep them from paying even more with luxury tax penalties. Maybe sierra will contribute or maybe insurance is covering part. If it were my money I wouldn’t want to be stuck with any dead money luxury or not. That’s why I don’t see them going over the tax because that is what got them in a mess to begin with. Because of the moves by AF they are under the threshold and close to ridding themselves of dead money which I am sure is a goal.

        1. Dead money is not necessarily a problem. It is a reflection of a business decision as to when to spend the money. Money deferred to the future is money you don’t spend today though presumably you get that value today.

          They key is to not tie yourself up so bad with future money (liabilities) that you can’t pay for anything else.

          AF has done a good job in gradually decreasing dead money while having flexibility to purchase current value.

          1. Agreed AF has whittled it. The trouble with the deferred is there was little to no value. I just think a lesson has been learned and they don’t intend to dig a financial hole again. Once they get substantially under the luxury and get rid of the dead money they can venture into the free agency market. Until they can sign free agents and be under the luxury tax I don’t believe they will. That’s why they were never in on Harper etc. I could be wrong but time will tell. They signed a free agent that could keep them under the tax.

  8. Heard that Doc said that Kershaw is still set to start on opening day, and that he will not need an MRI. Sounds like good news. Just hope this turns out to be nothing, but only time will tell.

    And this is my first test of the paragraphs.

    1. That’s a troubling statement by Doc, how could they know he will not need an MRI? Why not do an MRI as a precautionary move to see what’s going on? Perhaps they don’t want to find out just yet and are hoping rest will fix it. Isn’t it a bit early for him to need rest? Sounds and smells fishy to me, Hope I’m wrong but it’s the same playbook they used with Seager last year.

      1. No kidding! What’s the downside of getting the MRI? It’s not like the MRI is going set him back. Are they afraid of what they’ll find?

  9. I am one of the few here that doesn’t worry about what can’t be controlled. If Kershaw is hurt, he is hurt. The Dodgers have always done well when he has been out for short periods of time. I’d rather have Kershaw healthy and be the best in baseball but if other pitchers do well, others like Fergusson, Stripling, Urias, Stewart, Gonsolen; that will be fun to watch as well.

    1. But how do they know ‘if he is hurt’ without an MRI? Probably should have done it before they inked the extension. I am glad they have some promising young arms who are mostly not ready just yet.

      1. Looks like it was shoulder pain. A few days of rest and then see what happens with light toss. No hurry for an MRI.

  10. AC

    I wanted to say this yesterday after you broke down the Padres, because your summary of the Padres made it a lot easier to truly see what the Padre’s have, especially for someone that doesn’t keep up as well with the other teams, in our division.

    You ought to change your name to ACAQ, Always Complete and Always Quality work.

    But even you, can’t make the Giants look good, although I never under estimate the Giants either.

    I still can’t believe Belt got a better contract then Bumgarner, although I know Bumgarner signed that contract for security at that time.

    But I probably would have tore Bumgarner’s contract up, and gave him a new one, before I would think about giving Belt that multi year contract.

    But I am no Bumgarner lover that is for sure!

    But if Kershaw could have had at least one post season like Bumgarner, I would be happy with that.

    It will be interesting to see how Zaidi runs that team, in that big park.

    I think the Dodgers should think about offering Corey a contract like the Angels gave to Trout, because after Corey has had these injuries he might want a little security before he becomes a free agent.

    I know Boras is his agent, but Boras worked with the Nationals for Strasburg when he wanted to sign a multi year contract with the Nats.

    1. 59

      Kershaw’s record in the post season in 2017 is deceiving, because not only did Kike give Kershaw an enormous lead in that last game of the National Championship against the Cubs.

      One of those games Kershaw pitched in was game seven, after we were quite a bit behind after the Astros scored those runs off Darvish, in the first couple innings.

      Also Kershaw gave up more HRs then any pitcher ever had, in the post season in 2017.

      1. And that second game in the World Series Kershaw started against the Astros, has to be the biggest heart breaker, of all time.

      2. I don’t think it’s deceiving at all. He was solid in 2017. If it wasn’t for the one really bad game where the umpire changed the strike zone on him (Game 5 WS), it would have been considered a success. The problem was that he wouldn’t adjust in that game, instead choosing to keep banging his head against the wall. If he would have won that game, we would have won the WS. If Doc didn’t pull Hill after 4 innings in game 2, we would have won the WS. If Doc hadn’t overused Morrow, we probably would have won game 5 as well.

        1. 59

          Exactly, we gave Kershaw two good leads, and he couldn’t protect either lead.

          We win that game, there is no game seven, exactly like you said.

          You talked about him not adjusting, but that is on Kershaw.

          I agree about pulling Hill in both World Series too.

          Last year was a total disaster, and we all knew that, after we saw Hill pulled.

          I think Zaidi was a part of that move last year.

  11. Nice write up on the hated ones AC! That outfield looks dismal!
    I admit to hating the Giants. I grew up in the era of only being able to watch the Dodgers vs Giants on television. I respected their players, Mays, McCovey, Davenport, the Alou brothers, Cepeda, Stu Miller, etc. I can still remember Vin Scully’s quip, “Due up for the Giants in the bottom of the inning are Davenport, Mays, McCovey and Cepeda. Doesn’t it always seem like they are coming up every inning?” With that said, I hate the Giants as a team, and as an organization. I hate their fans (as fans, not as human beings) and most of all I hate the City of San Francisco. It has an air of arrogance about it that I just can’t stomach. Of all the things I respect Jackie Robinson for, and there are many, his refusal to be traded to the hated ones, always makes me smile.

    1. Can’t find one thing to disagree. I hate but respect the Giants. The battles in the 50’s and early 60’s were epic. HOF vs HOF. How could you not love it.

      I am no fan of the City of San Francisco itself. I do love the North Bay, especially the wine country. I spend a lot of time there.

      1. Haven’t been to the wine country yet. I’ll have to give that a try sometime. I will confess, that I have spent a few days in Tiburon, and found it enjoyable.

          1. San Francisco county limits are the same as the city limits. SF airport isn’t even in the same county. There’s a lot of things worthy of appreciation up there, just more things of the opposite. I won’t get started on that though.

          2. I remember when Guaymas opened and I also remember when Guaymas started going south. I lived in the area in those days.

  12. I have enjoyed rubbing it in the faces of the Giants’ fans that I work with the past couple of seasons. They actually had 10 guys on the roster making $10 MM per season or more last year – they have 8 this year (McCutcheon and Pence are gone). The only expensive pieces that anyone would want are Bumgarner and – well, maybe Belt.

    So they can’t trade players for prospects since no one wants their players and their farm system ranks either 29th or 30th depending on who’s ratings you prefer.

    They are going to be bad for a while and it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

    Zaidi has been signing every AAAA OF he can find – their OF may be the worst in MLB. The infield has 4 actual major league players and all are good defensively.

    The SP – it hasn’t been very good lately. You know that when Derek Holland is your ace (he was last year) you have a problem. The Shark and MadBum are supposed to be healthy this year so the SP may be better.

    The ‘pen should be solid enough. Smith was actually the closer last year and will probably close again this year. Melancon is healthy again (maybe) and Watson pitched well last year.

    They have no depth anywhere.

    The only reason that they might not finish last is that the Pads may have the worst SP in MLB. The D-backs have enough talent left that they won’t finish behind either SD or SF, I think.

    Wow – the NL West has gone from the best division in baseball in 2017 to maybe the worst in 2 seasons.

    1. DodgerRick

      That is amazing on how fast the National League West has went down.

      And the Cardinals have not made the post season, since their front office was caught cheating either.

  13. This is going to be a fun game to watch, with all of our good young arms scheduled to make an appearance.

    Santana has great movement on his pitches in this inning, wow!

    1. Absolutely, that was a sweet hammer he dropped on Parker too! His sinker is so dirty, it’s very hard to control. A little more seasoning in the minors will do him well. It’s hard to not get overly excited all these arms that are close.

  14. It’s easy to get excited by the performance of different players during the spring. But what impact do you really think it has on the front office as to whether or not an NRI or younger player makes the big club? Obviously, JT doesn’t have to have a good spring to make the club. But does it really impact the player on the fringe of the roster? Do you think the FO also looks at what happens during practices and workouts vis-a-vis the spring games?

    1. Guys like Rios, Beaty and Lux can have the greatest spring ever and not make the team out of spring. They want to leave a good enough impression to be the first one called up in case of an injury ala Taylor. Bellinger and Muncy.

      The roster is most likely set already with the last bullpen slot or two being the last battle for a roster spot.

      Posistion players

      Starting pitchers

      Urias ????

      Not much room for a rookie or nri

  15. We haven’t seen the kind of gracefulness at backstop since Martin’s departure. If he does a fair job at the plate and keeps runners from advancing to 2nd then he’ll be great. It looks to me as he’s home now.

  16. Really digging watching (Holy schnike, DJ Peters just hit a BOMB for his second homer as I’m writing this)the young pups trying to make an impression. Now I can see why Freidman wouldn’t trade Lux, Peters, May, Kbear. Got some damn studs coming up. And where in the heck did all this young pitching come from? Wow, the next few years are gonna be fun to watch as some of these guys come up.

  17. Santana, Gonsolin, May and White (the four really important young guys on display today) all looked mighty fine. That’s always nice to see when we still don’t really know what might be wrong with Kershaw. The future looks bright if you put those guys together with Buehler and Urias. The oldest of those six is only 24 and May is still 21.

  18. Didn’t turn on the game until it was 7-7 in, if I remember correctly, the 7th inning. It’s only a small sample, but I was definitely encouraged to see these young guys stepping up. Looks like we have a bunch of really impressive young arms, especially Dustin May.

    The only thing that discouraged me was seeing DJ Peters swinging wildly for the fences his last time up, following his 2nd HR. Sometimes it never happens, but Peters has got to realize that with his massive power, he doesn’t have to swing for the fences to hit it out. All that young man has to do is make contact, and baseballs will be flying into the stands or out of the park.

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