San Francisco Giants (64-98), 5th in NL West
Notable Free Agents: Nick Hundley, Michael Morse
The San Francisco Giants came into 2017 looking to build off their rare even-year NLDS defeat to the eventual World Champion Cubs. However, the club took a huge step backwards, winning just 64 games and finishing tied with the Tigers for the worst record in the MLB.
Despite being out of contention, the Giants lacked many tradable assets at the trade deadline, so they only managed to deal Eduardo Nunez to Boston in the middle of the summer. They also made a noteworthy acquisition brining back Pablo Sandoval after he was DFA’d from Boston.
The Giants were hurt by Madison Bumgarner missing significant time after a dirt bike incident, and they also dealt with under-performances from their starting rotation. They also struggled mightily in the power department, hitting a league worst 128 home runs all season.
As the Giants head into the offseason, GM Bobby Evans will likely look to upgrade the outfield that includes aging players Hunter Pence and Denard Span along with other light-hitting and relatively unproven players. To begin, the Giants could pursue Lorenzo Cain pretty heavily as he will help solidify that outfield without demanding an overly lucrative deal. Granted, he will not be cheap, but signing Cain would be an immediate upgrade and an ideal fit for San Fran.
Additionally, the Giants have become the “early favorite” for the services of Giancarlo Stanton if the new ownership groups decides to ship him away. Stanton, 27, is coming off a MVP-caliber season, so his services would be welcomed with open arms in the Bay Area. With Brandon Belt being the team leader with just 18 homers in 2017, Stanton would provide some much needed pop to the lineup.
Another priority this offseason will be monitoring the Johnny Cueto situation. Cueto, 31, has the option to opt out of the remaining four years on his six-year, $130 million deal. Cueto struggled a bit this season pitching to a 4.52 ERA, his highest since his rookie season.
On the farm, the Giants still have a pretty unimpressive system, so they could look to deal some of the veterans on the roster in an attempt to get younger and begin turning over a roster that has won them three championships this decade. There has been an increasing common youth movement after seeing the results it has yielded the 2016 Cubs and now the 2017 Astros, so the Giants could look to getting younger while remaining competitive in the years to come.
There is work to be done in San Francisco, but the Giants are just one year removed from being an 87-win team. Even years are also much more friendly to this franchise, so expect the Giants to be not only active, but also very creative in upgrading their roster this season.