A busy offseason is underway for president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who will be tasked with overseeing a manager and general manager search, in addition to retooling the Giants’ roster ahead of the 2020 season.
Here's a rundown of the most frequently asked questions, addressing key dates, deadlines and decisions looming this winter.
Who are the Giants’ free agents?
Are any of them likely to receive qualifying offers, and what is the deadline for that?
Bumgarner and Smith are likely to receive a qualifying offer -- a one-year contract worth $17.8 million, the mean salary of the league’s 125 highest-paid players. The Giants have until five days after the World Series ends to extend such offers. Players who receive a qualifying offer will have 10 days to accept or reject the deal. If a player declines the qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, the Giants will receive Draft pick compensation.
Which players have options?
Who might be a non-tender candidate, and when does the club have to make that decision?
Kevin Pillar is coming off a career offensive season, and he earned the 2019 Willie Mac Award as the Giants’ most inspirational player, but even he isn’t sure if he’ll be back patrolling center field next year.
“I’d like to think I’m back here, but until I get tendered a contract, my future’s kind of up in the air,” Pillar, who led the Giants with 21 home runs and 87 RBIs this year, said last month.
Pillar is under team control for one more season, but his projected arbitration salary for next year is $9.7 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors, a significant raise from the $5.8 million he earned in 2019. The Giants will have to decide whether they are willing to commit that sum to a player who posted the lowest walk rate (2.8 percent) and fourth-lowest on-base percentage (.287) among qualified Major League hitters, though they could also attempt to strike a deal at a lower figure.
With Steven Duggar rehabbing an injured left shoulder, it would likely be prudent for the Giants to hold on to Pillar, who is also one of the few players who showed the ability to hit for power at Oracle Park this season. The Giants have until Dec. 2 to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players.
Who needs to be added to the 40-man roster this winter to avoid the Rule 5 Draft?
Outfielders Sandro Fabian (the Giants’ No. 16 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) and Franklin Labour (No. 20) will be among the most notable prospects to be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter.
Injuries limited the 21-year-old Fabian to 54 games in 2019, but he performed well when healthy, batting .287 with a .766 OPS and five home runs with Class A Advanced San Jose. He has not played above Class A ball, but he posted an .855 OPS with 15 home runs in 72 games between Salem-Keizer and Augusta this year.
Jalen Miller, José Marte, Ryan Howard, Caleb Baragar and Garrett Williams will also be left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft if they are not added to the 40-man roster by Nov. 20.
What kind of help do the Giants need, and will they be active in free agency? Whom might they target?
Starting pitching will be a priority for the Giants, who will have to find a way to replace Bumgarner’s production if he departs via free agency. Both sides will likely be amenable to an extension, but if a deal can’t be reached, the Giants could pivot to other free-agent starters, such as Hyun-Jin Ryu, Gerrit Cole or Dallas Keuchel.
“Major League starting pitching is going to be a need for us this offseason,” Zaidi said in October. “I wish that made us unique in baseball, but it doesn't. There's always plenty of demand for those guys that can provide you quality innings with a high level of confidence. I think that's something we're going to look at.”