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Inbox: Which free agents may Giants pursue?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers questions from fans
@mi_guardado
October 18, 2020

With the offseason officially underway, it feels like a good time for another edition of Giants Inbox. Let’s dive into questions surrounding the outlook for 2021, closer candidates and rising prospects:

With the offseason officially underway, it feels like a good time for another edition of Giants Inbox. Let’s dive into questions surrounding the outlook for 2021, closer candidates and rising prospects:

Do you think we'll go after any big names in free agency?
-- @ThomasLaing18

I don’t think the Giants will be shopping at the top end of the free-agent class this winter, as we really haven’t seen president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi make the type of lucrative commitments that are typically needed to attract big names. Only one player has received a multiyear contract from the Giants since Zaidi took over the front office: Wilmer Flores, who signed a two-year, $6 million deal in February.

9 likely suitors for Trevor Bauer

Starting pitching will be a priority and Trevor Bauer will be available, but I think the Giants would probably prefer to try to work out more modest deals with Kevin Gausman and/or Drew Smyly, both of whom have expressed interest in returning to San Francisco.

What can we realistically expect from the Giants next year?
-- Vincent Y., Petaluma, Calif.

Zaidi has said the goal will be to make the playoffs next year, but the Giants will once again face tough competition in the National League West given the perennial excellence of the Dodgers and the talented core assembled by the Padres. A path to October will be more realistic if the expanded playoff format is retained in some form, but the Giants will definitely have holes to fill this winter -- particularly in the rotation and the bullpen -- if they want to remain competitive over 162 games in 2021.

Who do you think will be the closer in 2021?
-- Martin G., San Jose, Calif.

I wouldn’t expect the Giants to splurge on an established closer in free agency, so I think the most likely candidate would be an internal option like Reyes Moronta, who appeared poised to inherit the ninth-inning role before undergoing shoulder surgery last September. Moronta missed the entire 2020 season while rehabbing, but if he shows that he’s healthy during Spring Training and can recapture his pre-surgery form, I think he has the weapons to lock down the ninth for the Giants next year.

Could you see Bruce Bochy returning to manage another club?
-- Thomas C., San Francisco

He seems open to it. In an interview with KNBR last week, Bochy admitted that he’d be willing to “listen to anything” after taking a year off from managing.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it, especially watching the postseason,” Bochy said. “It’s exciting times. I can see it happening, to be honest, but it’s not something right now that I’m pushing. When you’ve been in the game as long as I have and managed as long as I did, you’re going to miss it, especially watching these postseason games. We’ll see what happens.”

Bochy said he hadn’t spoken with the White Sox about their managerial opening, but Chicago general manager Rick Hahn told reporters he preferred to hire someone who has “experience with a championship organization in recent years.” Bochy would certainly fit that criteria.

Which prospects can we expect to see next year?
-- Zoe W., Daly City, Calif.

Outfielder Heliot Ramos, who is ranked the club’s No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, received praise for the development he showed at the Giants’ alternate training site this summer, so he could be in line to make his Major League debut in 2021. Given San Francisco’s pitching needs, I think there’s a good shot that right-handers Sean Hjelle (No. 10) and Camilo Doval (No. 25) will have a chance to contribute as well. The Giants at one point added Doval to their taxi squad this year, so I think the hard-throwing reliever could have an opportunity to compete for a spot in the bullpen during Spring Training.

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