FAQ: What to watch for in Giants' offseason

November 7th, 2021

Plenty of offseason business is on tap for the Giants now that the calendar has officially flipped to November. Here's a rundown of frequently asked questions, key dates, deadlines and decisions looming this winter:

Which players are free agents?
Brandon Belt
, Kris Bryant, Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, Tyler Chatwood, Anthony DeSclafani, Scott Kazmir, Donovan Solano, Tony Watson and Alex Wood.

Did any of them receive qualifying offers?
First baseman Brandon Belt was the only Giants player to receive a qualifying offer.

If Belt accepts, he’d be penciled in to return on a one-year, $18.4 million deal for 2022, though the deal wouldn’t preclude both sides from potentially working out a long-term deal. If Belt were to decline the qualifying offer and sign elsewhere, the Giants would receive Draft pick compensation.

Kevin Gausman accepted a qualifying offer from the Giants last year, which made him ineligible to receive one again this winter. Kris Bryant, a midseason trade acquisition, also couldn't be tagged with a qualifying offer.

Which players had options?
Cueto's $22 million option for 2022 was declined by the Giants, so he will be paid a $5 million buyout and become a free agent.

San Francisco exercised '22 club options for infielder Wilmer Flores ($3.5 million) and relievers José Álvarez ($1.5 million) and Jay Jackson, who joined the team on a Minor League deal last winter.

Who might be a non-tender candidate, and when does the club have to make those decisions?
The following eight players will be eligible for arbitration, with their projected 2022 salaries courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors: John Brebbia ($1 million), Curt Casali ($2 million), Alex Dickerson ($3 million), Jarlín García ($1.8 million), Dominic Leone ($1.5 million), Darin Ruf ($2.6 million), Austin Slater ($2 million) and Mike Yastrzemski ($3.1 million).

Dickerson underwhelmed offensively this season, so he could be a non-tender candidate along with Brebbia, who struggled after returning from Tommy John surgery in June. Casali gave the Giants an experienced backup catcher behind Posey this season, but there’s a chance he too could be non-tendered if San Francisco opts to promote top prospect Joey Bart in 2022.

The Giants will have until Dec. 1 to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, though it’s worth noting that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire on that date.

Who needs to be added to the 40-man roster this winter to avoid the Rule 5 Draft?
Eight players on MLB Pipeline’s list of Top 30 Giants prospects will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren’t added to the 40-man roster: OF Heliot Ramos (No. 4), LHP Seth Corry (No. 11), RHP Sean Hjelle (No. 13), INF Luis Toribio (No. 14), C Ricardo Genovés (No. 18), RHP Prelander Berroa (No. 23), RHP Blake Rivera (No. 28) and RHP Tristan Beck (No. 29).

Adding Ramos and Hjelle to the 40-man roster should be easy calls, though the rest are trickier to project. Genovés reached Triple-A Sacramento in 2021, but he’s currently behind Posey, Casali and Bart on the organization’s catching depth chart. Corry, Toribio, Berroa, Rivera and Beck, meanwhile, haven’t played above A-ball.

Eligible prospects will need to be added to the Giants’ 40-man roster by Nov. 19 to be shielded from the Rule 5 Draft, which is scheduled to take place on Dec. 8 in Orlando, Fla. Other notable Giants farmhands who fall under that category include Matt Frisbee, David Villar, Ismael Munguia and Diego Rincones.

Does San Francisco have a crunch for 40-man roster spots? If so, how might that be resolved?
The Giants will clear nine spots once their free-agent class hits the open market, though they’ll need to add four players who are on the 60-day injured list -- Dedniel Núñez, Luis González, Sam Delaplane and Tyler Beede -- back onto the 40-man roster.

San Francisco is hoping to retain many of its free agents and will need to add a handful of prospects to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, so it will likely need to do some trimming. That could leave players who saw limited big league action in 2021, such as Jaylin Davis, Caleb Baragar and Beede, in tenuous spots heading into the winter.

What kind of help do the Giants need, and will they be active in free agency? Who might they target?
In addition to re-signing Belt, the top priority for the Giants will be rebuilding their starting rotation, so they are expected to have interest in pursuing reunions with Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and/or Alex Wood. Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman are also among the starters slated to hit free agency.

Farhan Zaidi has a history of reuniting with former Dodgers, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Giants linked to utility man Chris Taylor or outfielder Joc Pederson. Taylor, in particular, offers the type of defensive versatility the Giants love, and he could be a more affordable alternative to Bryant, who will likely command a nine-figure deal.