Last night's game was rough. After holding a 5-2 lead in the top of the ninth, the Giants bullpen returned to second half form and gave up four runs to the Cubs, allowing them to bring in flamethrower Aroldis Chapman to seal the Giants fate. It's a tough pill to swallow, but not totally unexpected given the team's struggles in the second half. The better team won, and the Cubs are fighting history of their own in trying to win their first World Series title since 1908. We've had it good the past few years with the Giants run of success, and the team should contend again next year.
Before we get started on looking at possible free agent targets this winter, looking at which minor leaguers could have an impact and a little look back into the history of the franchise, we wanted to look at which players could have played their final game in the orange and black.
According to Sportrac, the Giants have a number of key contributors over the years that could be on their way out. Here is a look at those players and their 2016 salaries.
|Jake Peavy||P||35||$15 M|
|Angel Pagan||OF||35||$11.25 M|
|Sergio Romo||RP||33||$9 M|
|Santiago Casilla||RP||36||$6.5 M|
|Javier Lopez||RP||39||$5 M|
|Gregor Blanco||OF||32||$3.9 M|
In addition to these six, Joe Nathan, Ruben Tejada, Gordon Beckham, Miguel Olivo, Ricky Romero and Kyle Blanks will all be hitting free agency. Between the main players, $50.65 M will be coming off the books as we head into the offseason which will certainly give the team some financial flexibility for 2017. With Andrew Miller, a top reliever when he hit free agency, making $9 M per year, and three top relievers hitting the market this year, it will likely take a little more than Miller's annual salary to land a Chapman-type closer. It's wholly possible that the team brings back Lopez and either Romo or Casilla for next year (though Casilla's non-usage in the playoffs may be an indicator here), but not all three, leaving at least one bullpen vacancy. The Giants could always role with Derek Law in the ninth, but he is an unproven commodity, and with Johnny Cueto assured only one more season in San Francisco before he has the ability to opt out, that could have a big effect on how aggressive the Giants will be this winter.
It's probable that the team lets Pagan walk given his age and injury history, but Blanco has proven time and again to be a useful fourth outfielder that can be had on the cheap. He's not a player that you'll feel comfortable with for long stretches at a time, but he does bring some confidence in short spurts. How this all plays out will likely depend at least somewhat on the organization's future plans for Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker and Gorkys Hernandez and whether or not they will be ready to contribute next year. As I have written before, I like the idea of Williamson as an everyday outfielder. He provides some pop and plays solid defense in either corner outfield spot, but the major concern is his injury history. One way or another he should be on the Giants 2017 opening day roster.
There will be some free agent options in the outfield, with the main target, if he opts out, being Yoenis Cespedes. There is another option that will be less sought after, but could help fix the team's outfield defense, which was a big problem for the club in 2016. That option is Colby Rasmus. That's all I'll say for now, as I plan to write a bit more about the pros and cons of signing Rasmus in the near future, but he would be a defensive upgrade over Pagan, and has the potential to be a huge bat in the middle of the order.
So that is where we stand at the moment. Six players set to hit free agency, and at least half of them have likely played their last game for the Giants.
Who do you think the Giants should re-sign? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @SFGiantsonScout!