We head to the Bay Area next as we check out what the Giants have been up to. It was a rough season for the team as they missed out on the playoffs in 2020. Not much has changed in San Francisco as their roster is still chock full of aging veterans past their prime.
Key Additions: Tommy La Stella, Curt Casali, Anthony DeSclafani
Key Subtractions: None
The Giants lost three of their key pieces in 2020. Bruce Bochy decided to retire, Madison Bumgarner moved to Arizona, and Buster Posey opted out of the season. Posey will be back, of course, but losing three main pillars of the past decade hurt the team badly. San Francisco nearly made the playoffs despite having a losing record. I’m sure they were fine with the snub seeing how they would’ve played the eventual champion Dodgers in the opening round. There weren’t many positives to take away from 2020 for the Giants and it looks like there isn’t much hope heading into the new season.
San Francisco is stuck in purgatory, paying for the championships they amassed early in the previous decade. Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and Evan Longoria are all signed to hefty deals for the next couple of years and it seems impossible for the team to move off of any of them. None of them are the players they once were and it puts the Giants in a position where they’re just stuck. They will be competitive because they’re professionals, but I don’t expect there to be much noise coming from McCovey Cove this year.
There are a few reasons for optimism if you’re a Giants fan, though. Mike Yastrzemski backed up a solid 2019 campaign with a great 2020 season. Even though he’s 30, he isn’t set to hit free agency until 2026. Yaz could be a valuable trade chip if they choose to move off of him in the next year or two. Mauricio Dubon played well, acquitting himself as a useful utility player. Reyes Moronta had another stellar season out of the bullpen as well. There weren’t many bright spots, but these are a few of the players this team can hang their hat on.
The real reason for optimism is the farm system the team has at their disposal. The Giants called up their top prospect, Joey Bart, to help in Buster’s absence. Bart didn’t look great in his debut, but he has the skills to be one of the better catchers in short order. The team also has one of my personal favorites, Marco Luciano. Luciano is a physical shortstop with immense power for someone his age; he has a collection of tools that remind me a lot of Xander Bogaerts. A couple of guys that could make their first appearance in San Francisco in 2021 are Heliot Ramos and Sean Hjelle. Ramos is a solid all-around outfielder that looks like an everyday player for years to come. Hjelle /‘jelē/ is a tall, lanky pitcher with a solid three pitch mix; he has a bit of Rick Porcello in him. Other than that, there’s plenty more to be excited about when looking at the future of the team.
The additions made to the Giants’ roster don’t add up to too much. Casali and DeSclafani both come from Cincinnati and will act as replacement level players. Casali is a backup catcher who will act as a placeholder until Bart is ready. Anthony is a decent 4 or 5 starter when healthy. For the Reds, Disco as he is known, pitched only two season where he threw 150 or more innings. In those two years, he had an ERA+ of 123. He’s solid when healthy, but his health has been the problem too often. San Francisco’s other newcomer, Tommy La Stella, continues to be a solid performer. La Stella has hit for a .274/.349/.405 slash line in his career and can play all over the field. He isn’t going to wow anyone; he’s just a solid piece that will more than likely move once the trade deadline comes around.
All in all, the Giants are in the middle of the pack with a chance to slip towards the bottom. They don’t have anywhere to go given contractual obligations. It’s just another year for San Francisco where they say “Maybe next year”.