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Bulk of heavy offseason lifting remains for SF

December 13, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- Farhan Zaidi's first Winter Meetings as Giants president of baseball operations concluded with no major splashes, but he departed the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Thursday feeling optimistic that the talks he had with teams and agents could spur more activity next week."I'm not sure we're going

LAS VEGAS -- Farhan Zaidi's first Winter Meetings as Giants president of baseball operations concluded with no major splashes, but he departed the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Thursday feeling optimistic that the talks he had with teams and agents could spur more activity next week.
"I'm not sure we're going to see anything really finalized in the next 24 hours," Zaidi said on Wednesday. "But I could certainly see some of the conversations we're having leading to some moves next week before the holidays."
The Giants arrived with only 34 players on their 40-man roster, though they filled three of those vacancies by claiming outfielder Mike Gerber from the Tigers and making a pair of selections during the Rule 5 Draft. But the bulk of the heavy lifting remains for the Giants, who will continue to focus their efforts on addressing deficiencies in their outfield and rotation this offseason.
BIGGEST REMAINING NEEDS
1. Outfield depth: Gerber and Rule 5 Draft pick Drew Ferguson joined Steven Duggar, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater and Chris Shaw in the Giants' outfield mix, but the group is still short on Major League experience and will require more reinforcements. Earlier this week, Zaidi said he hopes to add at least two outfielders and will look for players who can help add punch to the club's anemic offense. The Giants are not expected to make a run at superstar Bryce Harper, but they could target other established free-agent outfielders, such as Michael Brantley or utility man Marwin Gonzalez.

2. Rotation help: Aside from Madison Bumgarner, there's a lot of uncertainty revolving around the Giants' projected rotation for 2019. Johnny Cueto is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Jeff Samardzija is attempting to rebound from shoulder issues and the Giants plan to carefully manage Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez's workloads following their successful rookie campaigns. The league-wide demand for pitching could make it difficult to land an impactful acquisition, though the Giants are among several teams that have expressed interest in Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi.

3. Backup catcher: There's a chance that Nick Hundley could re-sign with the Giants, but Zaidi has said he prefers to acquire a backup backstop who can offer more defensive versatility. In Los Angeles, Zaidi had James Farmer and Austin Barnes, both of whom played infield positions in addition to catching. The Giants could carry three catchers to start the season, as Buster Posey will be coming off right hip surgery, and it's unclear if 25-year-old Aramis Garcia will be ready to assume full backup duties.

RULE 5 DRAFT
The Giants selected left-handed reliever Travis Bergen from the Blue Jays and Ferguson from the Astros in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. In the Minor League phase, the Giants selected third baseman Peter Maris from the Rays and left-hander Sam Moll from the Blue Jays. They lost relievers Ian Gardeck and Dusten Knight as well as outfielder Jeffrey Baez. More >
GM'S BOTTOM LINE
"It's a long offseason, and for us, it's plenty of time to get things looking like what we want to have going into the season. As we've talked about, some of the best moves we made in L.A. were not headline moves at the time. So that's not going to be our objective. It's going to be more really thinking through what we do and making moves that are going to help us both short term and long term." -- Zaidi

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.