The Giants are now seven years removed from their glory days when the club won three World Series titles in the span of five years. Over the last three years, the Giants have finished the regular season with records of 29-31, 77-85, and 73-89, with 2016 being the last time the Giants got a taste of October baseball. The Giants were in the hunt to make the playoffs all the way up until the last game of the 2020 season. Even with the expanded playoffs, the club fell short.
Before we talk about the future of the Giants, let’s talk about the present.
We’re seeing teams like the Padres and Blue Jays signing stars and dealing out multi-year deals. This is the opposite of what we see happening in San Francisco. The Giants are handing out one-year deals like candy on Halloween. The club also is not signing superstars, rather taking flyers out on guys like Aaron Sanchez and Alex Wood who have seen their heydays come and go.
The Giants have improved and I believe will be better in 2021 than in 2020. Having Buster Posey come back will greatly improve the club, both on the game’s offensive and defensive sides. Pitching should be improved as well with the addition of Anthony DeSclafani. Even though DeSclafani poster an ERA over 7.00 in 2020, he has a career ERA of 4.29. DeSclafani’s career ERA isn’t breathtaking by any stretch, but in 2019, his ERA was 3.89. If the Giants can get that type of production from the 30-year-old right-hander, they’ll be in much better shape.
Although I expect the Giants to be better in 2021, the club isn’t a real threat to make the postseason this year. The pitching still is far from being considered “good,” and aside from Tommy La Stella’s addition and adding Buster Posey back to the lineup, the Giants lineup will look very similar to what it did in 2020. The 2021 Giants team will more likely than not find themselves around .500 at the end of the season.
How much money do the Giants have tied up?
To understand how the transition from the Giants of the present to the Giants of the future will unfold, first, we need to understand the financial situation. The Giants have roughly 150 million committed to players for the 2021 season. Below is a breakdown of big dollars committed to players I’ve pulled from Baseball-Reference.
- Buster Posey 22.18M
- Johnny Cueto 21.83M
- Evan Longoria 18.67M
- Brandon Crawford 15.2M
- Brandon Belt 17.2M
- Kevin Gausman 18.9M
Crawford, Belt, and Gausman will all be free agents at the end of this year. Posey and Cueto figure to be as well, with Posey having a 3M buyout and Cueto a 5M buyout. The Club will, without a doubt, use their options to prevent paying these two the 22M they would be owed if the Giants kept them on the club. This leaves only Evan Longoria on the books, who will receive 19.67M in 2022 with a 5M buyout in 2023. That 150M committed for the 2021 season will drop to roughly 25M in 2022.
It’s time to talk about the future.
The Giants farm system has dramatically improved since the hiring of Farhan Zaidi in 2018. The farm system is currently ranked 12th having four prospects in the top 100, according to MLB.com. Seth Corry, the Giants top pitching prospect, barely misses cracking the top 100.
The player Giants fans need to get the most excited about is Marco Luciano. Luciano is a 19-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic and is a potential superstar in the near future. Other names to remember are players such as Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Hunter Bishop, and Alexander Canario, to name a few. All of these players should break into the big leagues before the end of the 2023 season.
By the time we reach the 2023 season, all of the names from the World Series Giants will be gone. The Giants will have transformed from a team of past their prime veterans to a young team on the rise with money to spend.
Expect the Giants to start becoming aggressive in free agency in 2022 and 2023. All the money that’s been locked up for so long in big contracts will need to be spent. I see the Giants signing a big-name shortstop for the 2022 season as well as aggressively pursuing top-level pitching via trade and free agency.
With an influx of young position players coming up through the farm system and the money the Giants will undoubtedly be ready to spend on high-level pitchers, the Giants’ future is bright. Giants fans need to hold tight and get through the 2021 season before you will start to see the plan of Zaidi and the Giants front office start to unfold.
The Padres and Dodgers have built juggernauts in the NL West that will be great teams for many years to come. I believe the NL West will be described as a three-headed monster with the Padres, Dodgers, and Giants in three to four years. Although it will continue to be very difficult to win the division, three playoff teams should come out of the NL West.